America and the Vatican

September 29, 2010 — Print this Page

New Book Sheds Light on Benjamin Franklin and Catholic Church.

Robert F. Illing, the acting charge d’affairs for the first permanent American mission to the Vatican, brings previously unpublished information to the reading public in his forthcoming book America and the Vatican: Trading Information after World War II.
Palisades, NY Spet. 19, 2010

The author set up and ran the day-to-day operations of the first permanent U.S diplomatic mission to the Vatican, following World War II. He writes in detail of Vatican personalities such as Pope John Paul, various members of the Roman Curia and the ties developed with members of the U.S Government.

He brings to the reader, a rare view of the operations of the Vatican in the diplomatic world, and includes fascinating sidelights uncovered in the Vatican Archives such as the role Benjamin Franklin played in the selection of the first Catholic bishop in the United States, the communications with Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee regarding recognition of the Confederacy.

Former British Ambassador to the Holy See, Mark Pellew said of the author, “ Robert Illing is uniquely well placed to record the Holy See’s behind-the-scenes role as both listening post and diplomatic player in the major events of the time, particularly the final stages of the Vietnam War and early moves towards liberalisation in communist Eastern Europe.”

The author uses his placement to bring the readers into the behind-the-scenes role showing them the fascinating and colorful political world of the Vatican, a unique entity with the dual nature of political state functioning apart from its role as center of the Roman Catholic Church. A separate state with diplomatic offices in most countries in the world, the Vatican has a unique position as a listening post unlike any other country in the world. The author brings the reader into that fascinating world of diplomatic relations and illustrates the Vatican’s intriguing use of influence to get aid through difficult channels to American prisoners- of- war during the Vietnam conflict.

Robert Illing, a native San Franciscan, did graduate studies at San Francisco State University and the University of Madrid after an AB at the University of California. He served as a naval officer in the Pacific and served 25 years in the Foreign Service in Mexico, Yugoslavia, the Holy See, Portugal and the Department of State. He resides in San Francisco and northern Portugal.

America and the Vatican: Trading Information After World War II, 9781933909691, History Publishing Company LLC, pub date January 15, 2011, will be in bookstores nationally.

Review copies will be available to pre-publication reviewers in October and accredited embers of the media in January.


Contact: Don Bracken,, toll free tel. 888-398-8161

Printed from the History Publishing Company website, visit .

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