No. 519 NAI DFA Vatican Embassy B12/32

Letter from Charles Bewley to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Vatican City, 21 February 1931

In the course of my audience with Cardinal Pacelli this morning, he mentioned the situation in Russia, and (inter alia) showed me cuttings from German papers indicating that the Socialists in Germany, as in England, were refusing to join in protests against the Soviets and were falling back on the plea that there was no proof. I took the opportunity of mentioning to him that I had seen a rumour in the Irish Daily Independent to the effect that the Government might introduce a resolution condemning the persecutions; that it was not in any sense official, and I had had no communication of any kind on the subject; and asked him, assuming that the newspaper rumour corresponded with the intention of the Government, whether such a resolution would be in accordance with the desires of the Holy Father. I also explained that my question must be regarded as entirely without authority. He said that he thought such a resolution would be entirely desirable, as a contribution to the general campaign, but that he would put the question of such desirability of such resolution in general to the Holy Father.

I trust the Minister will not think I have exceeded my duties by introducing this subject. However, apart from my personal opinion of the duty of every Christian state to join in the protest against the organized persecution of Christianity by the Russian Government, I am satisfied that politically the Irish Free State can best consolidate its position in the eyes of the Holy See and at the same time mark its independence of English influence by playing a prominent part in purely Catholic international affairs. The Cardinal was obviously much pleased even by the suggestion, though he will perfectly understand if for any reason it is not possible to introduce such a resolution.

I need scarcely say that I am not in a position to judge how it would be received by the various political parties in Ireland, though I venture to think that any party which opposed it would, after the strong condemnation by the Holy Father, run a grave risk of alienating the Catholic electors of Ireland.

I send under separate cover copies of the Holy Father's letter to Cardinal Pompili.1

[copy letter unsigned]

1 Basilio Pompili (1858-1931), created Cardinal Priest (1913).

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