No. 588 NAI DFA 19/1B

Confidential Report from Charles Bewley to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Secret) (Copy)

Rome, 2 November 1931

As a convenient and authoritative way of enlightening the Vatican over the present condition of affairs in Ireland, I thought it well to make a translation into Italian of the more important passages in the President's speech in the Dáil on introducing the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill, 1931. I enclose copy for reference if desired.1 I presented it to Cardinal Pacelli on visiting him on Saturday last: he looked through it in my presence, and promised to read it later in detail. I do not, of course, know at all how far he may have been sent detailed reports from the Nunciature, but thought it best to make sure in any event that he is properly informed. I also supplemented the aide-mémoire with a verbal summary of the measure introduced by the Government and a reference to the Bishop's pronouncement, besides mentioning some of the more anti-clerical manifestations of the extremist organizations. I am confident that the Cardinal and Monsignor Ottaviani (with whom I afterwards had some conversation) appreciate the situation; and that if, for instance, any unofficial advocate of the opposition, whether lay or clerical, were to attempt to gain the sympathy of the Holy See, he would not obtain a very favourable reception.

I did not wish to overload one conversation with the Cardinal by introducing too many subjects, so have left over the rumours which have appeared in the Nation as to the appointment of Cardinal Bourne as Legate to the Eucharistic Congress. Of course, there is not the slightest likelihood of his being appointed Legate, but the occasion seems favourable for pressing the claims of Cardinal Cerretti as one to whom no party could possibly take exception. On the occasion of my next audience with Cardinal Pacelli, I will introduce the subject.

The Cardinal began talking about the condition of affairs in Germany, when I mentioned that I had lately been there. Although he was naturally very guarded, I got the quite definite impression that there is a possibility of the condemnation of the National-Socialist movement by the German bishops being revoked or modified, and that, in the opinion of the Vatican, there is at any rate a possibility of some compromise between the Centre and the National-Socialists. There have, of course, been rumours to this effect in Germany, and it is, needless to say, most uncertain whether anything will come of it; but, at any rate, I had the impression that, if a coalition of the Right were projected, the Vatican would not stand in the way.

The Cardinal also informed me that, contrary to what I had previously been informed, and to the statement which appeared in certain papers, Italian and German, the condemnation by the Bishops of National-Socialism was not based on the written 'Grundsätze' or principles of the movement, but on certain speeches and writings of prominent members. This would obviously make it easier for the Bishops or the Holy See to alter its attitude to the movement as a whole.

[copy letter unsigned]

1 Not printed.

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