THE WAR IN KOSOVA
Letters of the U.S. Cardinals to Presidents Clinton and Milosovec
Through the courtesy of the Communications Office of Cardinal Maida of Detroit we are able to bring you the correspondence of the Cardinals of the United States to the President of the United States and the President of Yugoslavia concerning the War in Kosovo.

March 31, 1999

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20502

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our profound concern for the deteriorating situation in the Balkan region. The regrettable refusal of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accept the compromise proposed at Rambouillet and later in Paris has brought about the NATO military intervention. The unfolding human tragedy demands immediate attention.

Last Sunday, His Holiness, Pope John Paul, II, spoke these words at the end of the Mass for Palm Sunday: "There is always time for peace. It is never too late to meet again and negotiate." We make the words of His Holiness our own as we ask you to use your influence to bring about a cease-fire. We have called upon President Slobodan Milosevic to order the immediate cessation of Serbian military and police operations against the population of Kosovo.

We associate ourselves with the suggestions expressed to the member-states of NATO and the U.N. Security Council by the Holy See. There must be no time lost in an effort to return to the negotiating table. The efforts of these negotiations must seek to guarantee the populations of Kosovo a degree of autonomy which respects their legitimate aspirations, according to history and law.

We urge the convocation of a Peace Conference which would involve the neighboring States also. The United Nations and its specialized agencies should be a part of the peace process. Peace will invariably demand the creation of an effective international peace keeping force.

In the meantime, all nations and non-governmental organizations should be able to send necessary emergency assistance with respect for the international conventions which protect the rights of civil populations in time of war.

The Catholic Church is in the midst of Holy Week. This Friday we recall the suffering and death of Jesus. Sunday is Easter, the commemoration of Our Lord and Savior’s Resurrection. Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on April 11. May this most holy of times in the Christian world be filled with thoughts and deeds of peace, not war. To that end, we pledge our prayers and support.

This letter is being made public in the hope that it might contribute to the building of a consensus in the cause of peace.

Asking God to bless you in your duties as President, we remain

Sincerely yours,

His Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law
His Eminence, John Cardinal O’Connor
His Eminence, James Cardinal Hickey
His Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahony
His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
His Eminence, William Cardinal Keeler
His Eminence, Adam Cardinal Maida
His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.


April 1, 1999 

President Slobodan Milosevic
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Belgrade, Yugoslavia


Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge an immediate cessation of Serbian military and police operations against the population of Kosovo, and your government’s cooperation in accord with international conventions, with those agencies wishing to provide emergency assistance to the population of Kosovo.

At the same time, we have written to President Clinton asking for a cessation of NATO bombing. We request the actions in solidarity with the Holy See’s suggestions conveyed to your government on March 31, 1999.

Echoing the words of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, on Palm Sunday, "There is always time for peace. It is never too late to meet again and negotiate." Within the context of a Peace Conference involving the neighboring states and with the involvement of the United Nations, we are confident that it is not too late to arrive at a negotiated solution which will guarantee the populations of Kosovo a degree of autonomy which respects their legitimate aspirations, according to history and law.

The Catholic Church is in the midst of Holy Week. This Friday we recall the suffering and death of Jesus. Sunday is Easter, the commemoration of Our Lord and Savior’s Resurrection. Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on April 11. May this most holy of times in the Christian world be filled with thoughts and deeds of peace, not war.

To this end we pledge our prayerful support. We will make public this letter in an effort to influence public opinion.

Sincerely yours,

His Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law
His Eminence, John Cardinal O’Connor
His Eminence, James Cardinal Hickey
His Eminence, Roger Cardinal Mahony
His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
His Eminence, William Cardinal Keeler
His Eminence, Adam Cardinal Maida
His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.


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