Viewing cable 01VATICAN5095
Title: TFUS01: VATICAN POSITION ON RETALIATION AGAINST

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
01VATICAN50952001-09-28 13:42:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 005095 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENNUTI), S FOR CRAIG KELLY 
 
FROM EMBASSY VATICAN/MESSAGE NO. 164/01 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/26/11 
TAGS: PREF PREL VT


SUBJECT: TFUS01: VATICAN POSITION ON RETALIATION AGAINST 
TERRORISTS 
 
REF: (99) ROME 2196 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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(U) CLASSIFIED BY DCM MERANTE FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 



1.Q(U) REFTEL OUTLINES THE VATICAN'S JUST WAR DOCTRINE AND 
ITS APPLICATION TO RECENT CONFLICTS. 
 



¶2.   (U) SEVERAL OPINIONS ON ITS APPLICATION TO THE 
SEPTEMBER 11 TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES HAVE EMERGED FROM SENIOR VATICAN CIRCLES IN THE LAST FEW DAYS. PAPAL SPOKESMAN JOAQUIN NAVARRO-VALLS MADE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES WHEN HE SEEMED TO DECLARE ""AGGRESSIVE"" MEANS AS JUSTIFIABLE SELF-DEFENSE. NAVARRO-VALLS LATER ISSUED A 
CLARIFICATION SAYING HE WAS MERELY STATING STANDARD VATICAN DOCTRINE. WHILE POPE JOHN PAUL II CONTINUES TO CALL FOR DIALOGUE AND PROMOTES PEACEFUL METHODS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION, SOME OF HIS SENIOR ADVISORS HAVE TAKEN A FIRMER POSITION. ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE CHIEF CARDINAL WALTER KASPER SAID SEPTEMBER 25 THAT ""IT WAS NECESSARY TO BLOCK THE TERRORISTS SO THEY CANNOT CONTINUE WITH THEIR CRIMES."" KASPER ADDED THAT INTERVENTION WAS ""NECESSARY, OTHERWISE WE 
ALL BECOME HOSTAGES.""  NUMBER THREE IN THE VATICAN 
GOVERNMENT HIERARCHY, ARCHBISHOP LEONARDO SANDRI, DESCRIBED TERRORISM AS A THREAT TO ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST TO THE UNITED STATES. 
 


¶3. (C) THE BOUNDARIES OF THE VATICAN'S JUST WAR THEORY ARE SOMEWHAT BLURRED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE WAR ON TERRORISM. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR A MILITARY RESPONSE VARY FROM THEOLOGIAN TO THEOLOGIAN EVEN WITHIN THE VATICAN GOVERNMENT. NO ONE IN THE VATICAN IS LIKELY TO PUBLICLY CONDONE MILITARY ACTION. THE EMPHASIS, ESPECIALLY FOR THE POPE, WILL ALWAYS BE ON PEACEFUL MEANS NO MATTER HOW 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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DESPERATE THE SITUATION. HOWEVER, GIVEN THE GRAVITY OF THE ATTACKS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, SOME LIMITED AND PRECISE FORM OF MILITARY RESPONSE THAT ALSO SAFEGUARDS THE INNOCENT WILL BE ""UNDERSTOOD"" BY THE VATICAN EVEN IF NOT OPENLY SANCTIONED. 



¶4. (C) HOWEVER, UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR POSSIBLE U.S. 
MILITARY ACTION IS NOT UNANIMOUS IN THE VATICAN AND WOULD NOT BE.  EMBASSY HAS LEARNED THAT DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER (WHO IS NOTED FOR HIS PRO AMERICAN POSITIONS) HAS SAID PRIVATELY THAT NAVARRO-VALLES WENT ""TOO FAR"" IN HIS STATEMENTS.  YET, FOREIGN MINISTER TAURAN IN PRIVATE CONVERSATION WITH AMBASSADOR RECENTLY HAS IMPLIED A RESIGNATION THAT HE BELIEVES THE U.S. WILL BE TAKING MILITARY ACTION SOON.  ALTHOUGH MOST MEMBERS OF THE VATICAN FOREIGN MINISTRY WOULD BE PERSONALLY SUPPORTIVE OF AGGRESSIVE RETALIATION, OFFICIAL VATICAN POSITIONS WILL BE BASED ON VATICAN GEO-POLITICAL CONCERNS.  IN THIS SPECIFIC CONFLICT, IRAQ IS FOREMOST IN THEIR CALCULATIONS.  ANY RETALIATION WHICH MIGHT INCLUDE IRAQ WOULD LESSEN THE 
VATICAN'S POSITIVE NEUTRALITY.  THE VATICAN IS FIRMLY 
CONVINCED THAT ANY REGIME WHICH REPLACES THE CURRENT ONE WILL NOT BE AS SUPPORTIVE OF THE LARGE IRAQI CATHOLIC POPULATION.  IN ADDITION, EVEN IF POSSIBLE MILITARY ACTION IS DIRECTED ONLY AGAINST AFGHANISTAN, THE VATICAN IS GREATLY CONCERNED WITH A BACKLASH AGAINST CATHOLICS (AND OTHER CHRISTIANS) LIVING IN EGYPT, SYRIA, IRAQ, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, AND LEBANON. 
 


¶5. (C) COMMENT: THE VATICAN'S POSITION ON THE USE OF FORCE IN RETALIATION WILL BE CRITICAL IN BUILDING WORLDWIDE PUBLIC 
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SUPPORT.  POST REQUESTS THAT THE DEPARTMENT REMAIN SENSITIVE TO THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING THE VATICAN INFORMED IN ORDER TO AVOID ANY SURPRISES AND THUS HARMFUL STATEMENTS ON THE PART OF VATICAN OFFICIALS.  A PHONE CALL BY SECRETARY POWELL TO VATICAN FOREIGN MINISTER TAURAN BEFORE THE UNDERTAKING OF ANY MILITARY ACTION WOULD HELP IN FIRMING UP VATICAN 
SUPPORT. 
 
NICHOLSON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 
 

 2001VATICA05095 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL 

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