301. Telegram From the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State 1

2090. I have just received from Pope Paul through an authoritative Vatican representative the following message for the President: [Page 641]

Begin Text: His Holiness is deeply worried over developments in Southeast Asia. He appreciates the gravity and delicacy of the situation and is gravely concerned lest it lead to general war. End Text.

I asked the emissary to assure His Holiness that the message would be forwarded immediately and that he tell His Holiness of my personal conviction that despite the seriousness of the situation it would not lead to general war.

We have been providing Vatican Secretariat of State with all appropriate information regarding developments in Vietnam on current basis.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of State Correspondence, Vatican, Vol. 1. Secret; Priority; Exdis.