Franklin D. Roosevelt

Message to Pope Pius XII on the Invasion of Italy

July 10, 1943

By the time this message reaches Your Holiness a landing in force by American and British troops will have taken place on Italian soil. Our soldiers have come to rid Italy of Fascism and all its unhappy symbols, and to drive out the Nazi oppressors who are infesting her soil.

There is no need for me to reaffirm that respect for religious beliefs and for the free exercise of religious worship is fundamental to our ideas. Churches and religious institutions will, to the extent that it is within our power, be spared the devastations of war during the struggle ahead. Throughout the period of operations the neutral status of Vatican City as well as of the Papal domains throughout Italy will be respected.

I look forward, as does Your Holiness, to that bright day when the peace of God returns to the world. We are convinced that this will occur only when the forces of evil which now hold vast areas of Europe and Asia enslaved have been utterly destroyed. On that day we will joyfully turn our energies from the grim duties of war to the fruitful tasks of reconstruction. In common with all other Nations and forces imbued with the spirit of good will toward men, and with the help of Almighty God, we will turn our hearts and our minds to the exacting task of building a just and enduring peace on earth.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to Pope Pius XII on the Invasion of Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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