Pope Pius XII had been better known to the people of the United States than any other pontiff. He had visited the country before his election, had manifested a personal interest in the country, and had probably shaken the hands of more Americans than any previous pontiff. The image of Pope Pius XII in the American press was of an ascetical, scholarly, and noble man who had manifested an interest in almost every phase of human existence. The image of his successor, the former Cardinal Angelo Joseph Roncalli, a short squat man of peasant origins, was quite different. As nuncio in postwar Paris he had become known to some Americans as a friendly diplomat, but he did not speak English and had never been to the United States. He was seventy-six years old and according to some had been elected by compromise between the liberals and conservatives. He quickly became famous for his smiling humility and approachableness, his readiness to go anywhere, and his manifest intention to be a very active pope. Americans soon learned of this friendliness, above all of his openness to non-Catholics and of his special desire to bring the Greek Orthodox Catholics back to union with Rome.