Representatives of Organizations of American Citizens of Italian Origin to the Secretary of State
Sir: The undersigned, representing organizations composed of citizens of the United States of Italian birth, as well as native born citizens, wish to protest most vigorously to you, as an official of our Government, against the outrageous manner in which two officials of the Italian Government led a mob on July 4th against American citizens who had been engaged in celebrating the memory of the great Italian Liberator, Giuseppe Garibaldi. These two Italian officials are Vice-Consuls of the Kingdom of Italy accredited to the Consul General’s office in New York City, their names are Augusto Castellano and Giuseppe Carodossi.
It has been the custom for years of citizens of the United States of Italian birth, and native born citizens, whose forefathers were of Italian birth, to make a pilgrimage to Rosebank, Staten Island, where the Italian Liberator Garibaldi had lived after he had been exiled for his activities in the struggle for the independence of Italy.
It is doubtless well known to you that there are two groups in the United States who take opposing views toward the present Italian Dictatorship. It is also known to you that citizens of Italy, representing in various capacities the Italian Government here, have been charged with deliberately fomenting factional struggles in this country among those of Italian extraction. So open were these activities and so wide was their exposure in the press that it is well known that warning[s] have been issued to these Italian officials by [Page 454] our Government that they must take no part in such embroilments while enjoying the hospitality of this country. It is also just as well known that up until recently this notice to these officials has resulted in at least their not openly engaging on the side of the Fascist movement here in the United States.
On the Fourth of July, however, officials of the Italian Government again entered upon the scene with the result that one of their own followers, Salvatore Arena, was murdered by a bullet intended for one of the anti-fascist group, who had participated in a Garibaldi memorial meeting.
The two groups had been to Staten Island, the Fascist group of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America together with the Lichtor Federation, the official Fascist organization, and the anti-Fascist Societies. They were returning to New York City on a train, occupying separate cars. Led by the two Italian Vice-Consuls Augusto Castellano and Giuseppe Carodossi and Domenico Trombetta, the editor of an official Fascist weekly paper, who is also the President of the Fascist Lichtor Federation, the Fascist groups suddenly invaded the car in which were the anti-Fascist Societies riding together with other regular passengers. The anti-Fascists were attacked with sticks and canes and a savage riot took place, resulting in the shooting of Arena. A few days ago the grand jury of Richmond County, where Staten Island is situated, indicted Trombetta for murder in the first degree, charging him with killing Arena. It is claimed that the murdered man, Arena, who received the bullet aimed at an anti-Fascist, was formerly a bandit, and that he was being sought by the police of Montreal, Canada, for crime committed there.
While Domenico Trombetta is held charged with the murder of Arena, the two Vice-consuls, Augusto Castellano and Giuseppe Carodossi, who also led the Fascists against the anti-fascists, are still enjoying diplomatic immunity from our Government. It is this fact that causes us to address you, with the request that immediate steps be taken by you to investigate the actions of these two officials of the Italian government, and we feel sure that if this investigation shows that the facts as we have stated them are correct, immediate action will doubtless be taken by our Government for the recall of these two Italian officials.
We would be glad to submit to the Department of State the evidence we have of the outrageous violations both of our laws and of every regulation which prevails in the relations between the Governments of countries committed by these two officials of the Italian Government on the fourth of July.[Page 455]
Italian immigration here is nearly a hundred years old. At no time, as now, [have?] we communities made up of Americans of Italian extraction [been?] so disturbed by factional strife, owing to the present practice of officials of the Italian Government of engaging in political activities in this country.
It is in the interest of maintaining peaceful conditions among the many hundreds of thousands of our citizens of Italian extraction that we address you and request this investigation.
The Italian Ex-Service Men
Friends of the Freedom of Italy
The League for the Rights of Men