VATICAN CITY, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The Vatican's newspaper says the United States and Britain knew about Adolf Hitler's plans to exterminate the Jews, but did nothing to stop him.
L'Osservatore Romano, quoting from the diary of then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr., said the British and American governments ignored, downplayed or suppressed intelligence reports about the extermination plans, The Times of London reported Monday
In contrast, Pope Pius XII tried to save as many Jews as he could through clandestine means, the L'Osservatore article said. The dispatch is Vatican's latest effort to restore the reputation of Pope Pius, whose unwillingness to denounce the Nazis publicly resulted in accusations of anti-Semitism and earned him the moniker "Hitler's Pope."
The article quoted Morgenthau as saying that as early as August 1942, the U.S. government "knew that the Nazis were planning to exterminate all the Jews of Europe," The Times said. In his diary, Morgenthau wrote of a telegram, dated Aug. 24, 1942, and passed on to the U.S. State Department, that relayed a report of Hitler's plan to kill between 3.5 million and 4 million Jews.
The article also cited a British Foreign Office message that warned of "the difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews should they be rescued from enemy occupied territory," advising against allocating money for the project.