No. 229 NAI DFA 26/78

Letter from William J. B. Macaulay to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Secret) (MP. 32/34)

Rome, 4 August 1934

With1 reference to your minute of 25th July (26/78)2 I have to inform you that the Holy See prefers not to express an opinion on the question of the admission of Russia to the League of Nations as the Holy See itself is not a member. However when I suggested that Russia as a member of the League would perhaps be more susceptible to pressure in favour of relaxation in its attitude towards religion in general and the Church in particular I was countered with the remark that on the contrary Russia would merely find at Geneva another point from which to disseminate her propaganda and this she would do incessantly. There is no doubt in my mind from the conversations I have had that the Holy See fears Russia's admission and would be prepared to oppose it if that were possible. The Holy See will in no way do anything to obstruct Russia's admission in view of the attitude of France and Britain on this matter.

American recognition of Russia was strongly opposed by many elements in the United States which used Fr Edward Walsh SJ unsparingly as a propagandist against Russia. The terms of American recognition included as you know certain guarantees permitting the open profession of religion. What these will prove to be worth remains to be seen and not much is expected of them in the United States. However the Jesuits there are already making preparations for entry in the Russian missionary field since their nationality and the terms of their religion give some hope that they will be tolerated. The priests will have to wear ordinary lay clothes.

I understand that a priest who somehow or other became attached to the staff of the French Ambassador at Moscow is now living at the American Embassy, presumably he is a personal friend of the Ambassador, Bullitt.3 This priest is said to be the pastor of the only Catholic Church in Moscow which was permitted to remain open through the insistence of the wife of one of the Commissars (Voroshilov I think). This lady was once either a dancer or an actress and is a Catholic. I cannot get confirmation of this story at the American Embassy but I overheard it at the French Embassy one night and have no reason to doubt it.

The American Ambassador in Russia was allowed to pick his own staff and I hear that many of them found living conditions in Moscow so unpleasant that they have returned to America quite disillusioned.

[signed] W.J.B. Macaulay

1 Marginal note: 'Seen by Secy and Minister, S.G.M.', 'Mr. Boland, 11/8/34'.

2 Not printed.

3 William Christian Bullitt (1891-1967), United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1933-36), United States Ambassador to France (1936-40).

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