Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on the Status of Myron Taylor as the President's Representative to the Pope.

March 14, 1940

My dear Dr. Buttrick:

I HAVE RECEIVED your letter of February 27, 1940, concerning the status of Mr. Myron Taylor's mission to the Pope. I am sure that on further thought you will agree that no public statement is required, or indeed could be made, on the basis of a mere press report, which so far as I know has not emanated from a responsible source.

The status of Mr. Taylor's mission is exactly as Mr. Messersmith described it to you in his letter of January 25. Mr. Taylor is in Rome as my special representative. This appointment does not constitute the inauguration of formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The President may determine the rank for social purposes of any special representative he may send; in this case the rank corresponding to Ambassador was obviously appropriate. The reason for and circumstances surrounding his designation were made clear in my Christmas letter to the Pope; and in the letter which I gave to Mr. Taylor for presentation to the Pope, which conforms to the Christmas message.

Mr. Taylor was sent to Rome to assist parallel endeavors for peace and the alleviation of suffering; and I am sure that all men of good-will must sympathize with this purpose.

There of course was not the slightest intention to raise any question relating to the union of the functions of Church and State, and it is difficult for me to believe that anyone could take seriously a contrary view, or that the action taken could interrupt in any way the necessary and healthy growth of interfaith comity.

Very sincerely yours,

The Reverend

George A. Buttrick, D.D.,

President, Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America,

New York, New York.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on the Status of Myron Taylor as the President's Representative to the Pope. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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