Drop by drop, the disclosure platform Wikileaks makes U.S. secret reports available to the public. Since this week, a first dispatch of the embassy at the Vatican is now also on the net. Its contents are admittedly less enlightening than confusing.
Since informed on 20. January 2010, a U.S. diplomat his headquarters about the pope and his attitude to the environment, especially about the opinion at the Holy See on the Copenhagen climate conference. Title of cable classified as "confidential": "'Green' Pope Supports U.S. Line on Copenhagen". Also in the introductory catch-all as well as in the concluding commentary, there is talk of support that the Vatican or its staff wanted to provide to the U.S. in this area – admittedly discreetly.
Two interlocutors are called
There are two interlocutors mentioned with clear names: a lay representative of the Secretariat of State and a monsignor from the Council "Iustitia et pax", who would have explained the Vatican environmental line to the US diplomat. Somewhat schwammig remains admittedly, to which now this "agreement" of the holy chair refers. The interlocutor had expressed the Vatican's general desire for the Copenhagen process to continue. And he had agreed to meet the deadline of 31.1.2010 to "discreetly encourage other countries to join for the agreement if the opportunity arises".
This, however, is unlikely to have meant a blanket endorsement of the attitude and actions of the U.S. in Copenhagen. For the official statements from the Vatican on the subject of the environment sounded somewhat different in the days and weeks surrounding the climate summit.
Measures to protect creation
Benedict XVI said that he expected the conference to produce effective measures for the protection of creation and for development in solidarity, based on human dignity and oriented toward the common good. just before the start. He appealed to participants to put aside national interests and short-term gains in favor of long-term strategies for the entire community of nations.
The high-level Vatican delegation in Copenhagen urged "rapid and effective solutions" in the fight against climate change. The prelates also complained that the climate summit lacked the political will to reach far-reaching agreements.
Pope was dissatisfied with outcome of climate summit
And that the Pope was by no means satisfied with the course and outcome of the climate summit, he made clear at the New Year's reception for the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Vatican. He commented on 11. January – nine days before the dispatch went out – his "great concern" about the "political and economic resistance to the fight against environmental pollution" that had also come to light in Copenhagen. With climate change, the fate of entire countries is at stake, especially small island states, the Pope warned the international community.
Where the Roman U.S. diplomat derived his optimistic assessment of Washington's line remains unclear against this background; his version is at least truncated. He possibly concluded on a common understanding that after the modest result of Copenhagen, efforts would have to be intensified in the future.
However, the dispatch of 20. January – it alone has so far been public on this subject – only a single element. Perhaps there was also a whole range of differentiated assessments, which were cabled from Rome to Washington via the "green pope". If not, it would not reflect well on the functioning and efficiency of the U.S. embassy staff in Rome.