Ex-Foreign Service Officer Connects America and Vatican with Files from Famed, Mysterious Archives

February 27, 2011 — Print this Page

(OPENPRESS) February 26, 2011 — What happens when you are invited into the famous and mysterious Vatican Archives to see the files that so often spike the imagination of fiction authors? Robert Illing, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer sent by the State Department in 1970 with Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge to open a permanent mission in the Vatican, was invited into the Secret Archives. When he asked for permission to reproduce some files that caught his interest, he got that permission and used the files 40 years later in his new book “America and the Vatican: Trading Information after World War II.”

Illing, a native San Franciscan and the owner of a vineyard in Portugal, was a career Foreign Service Officer for 25 years. He served in Mexico, Portugal, Yugoslavia, and the Vatican. His experience at the latter provided an abundance of material virtually unknown to the American public. In his newly released book he presents many points culled from that experience and the Archives such as:

• The part Benjamin Franklin played in helping the Holy See set up an independent structure for the American Church’
• The influence Franklin had in the selection of the first Catholic bishop
• The role of the Vatican in the American Revolution and Civil War
• The nature of the Vatican’s investment portfolios
• The Vatican’s foreign relations and how it functions
• The war on drugs waged by the Vatican

“America and the Vatican: Trading Information after World War II” was published by History Publishing Company of Palisades, NY. “When an author provides significant new material about a prominent person of history, a valuable contribution to the study of history is made,” said Publisher Don Bracken. ”When that person of history is one so well studied as Benjamin Franklin, it is remarkable as well.”

“America and the Vatican” 9781933909691 devotes a full chapter to the Franklin experience. The author found the file in the archive section Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. The book contains 246 pages, contains signed documents and photographs and is now available in bookstores nationally.

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