In regard to the audience granted by the Pope on May 17 to Duke Aimone of Spoleto, who had previously requested it, it is significant that the Vatican avoided everything that might have even the appearance of a lessening of absolute neutrality and impartiality which it maintains in the face of the changes and vicissitudes of the present war.
The Duke, it was pointed out, was leceived simply as a Prince of the House of Savoy, and before any at regarding his position in the new Kingdom of Croatia took place.
Dr. Ante Pavelitch, who has been proclaimed Premier of Croatia, was likewise granted the audience which he had requested, but was received by the Pope simply as a Catholic and private personage, without any of the ceremonial and formality usually observed for the audiences of heads of States or heads of diplomatic missions.
Neither the Duke of Spoleto nor M. Pavelitch was received by the Cardinal Secretary of State, nor did he repay the visit which they had made to the Sovereign Pontiff, precisely because their visits were considered entirely private Lastly, the persons composing the mission which accompanted M. Pavelitch, having asked to see the Holy Father and being about to leave Rome, were admitted to the presence of His Holiness later in the evening, merely for the kissing of his ring, in the ordinary form of public audiences.
An earlier message from Rome from Mgr, Enrico Pucci, N.C.W.C. correspondent there, read:—" His Holiness Pope Pius XII today received in private audience the Duke of Spoleto, nephew of King Victor Emmanuel. Earlier the Holy Father had granted a private audience to Premier Pavelitch, of Croatia. In each instance the audience had
been requested by the recipient." Subsequently announcement was made in Rome that the Duke had been named King of Croatia. The new ruler spent forty-five minutes in conversation witn the Pope. The Premier's audience lasted twenty minutes.
English newspapers commenting on the same event, recalled with equal justice the bloody antecedents of M. Pave!itch.
Italian newspapers recalled the profound Catholic faith of the Croatian people.