865.00/12–1147: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Dunn) to the Secretary of State


4000. In connection with Communist tactics involving disturbances and strikes on flimsiest pretext, the party is returning more and more to the militant slogans and forms familiar two and more years ago. This tendency is apparent in (1) crescendo of vituperation and charges of provocation against “Fascists” and “Fascist movements”, with the concomitant attempt to discredit the Government for condoning their existence; (2) reorganization of partisan formations, in all echelons; (3) announcement that party will be benevolent patron of “democratic communes”; and (4) agitation for establishment by law of workers councils having equal share with management in industrial operations. Promotion of “Constituent Assembly of the land” is a new tactic in current strategy, but is only a refinement of the old slogan “Agrarian reform” into something specific which can serve as rallying point for the rural voter.

Item (1) has been covered in previous telegrams so as to require no further elaboration here. Regarding (2) partisan rallies and parades information [in formation?] have taken place at Genoa and, in connection with the “first congress of resistance” at Rome (mytel 3964, December 91). The rallying cry is just what it was in 1945—resistance (to Fascism) and independence. (In this connection, I received a furious telegram from the Carrara section of the ANPI in protest at Acting Secretary’s allusion to Soviet responsibility for Communist activities here; the message assured me that “partisans fought against enemies of liberty and independence and are determined maintain integrity liberty struggle of liberation.”) Also we have had a plausible report that it is planned shortly to reconstitute in Milan the CLNAI military command under Longo,2 who was commander in spring of 1945.

The Democratic communes (Item 3) are, of course, the old CLNAI and its subsidiaries, which were formed alongside the Mussolini Republic administration and literally administered northern Italy at and for sometime after liberation. Apart from the Milan “citizens committee”, however, we have not as yet firm indication of where or how this part of the strategy will operate.

Finally, the “Consigli di Gestione” issue, which rallied the industrial workers in 1944 and 1945, has been dusted off and re-invigorated with [Page 748] meetings, concrete proposals, and appropriate fanfare. (See for example mytel 3642, November 12[13]3). Like the citizens committee, the Milan Consigli tested their organization by virtually seizing control of many industries during the general strike there.

While developing this framework for fomenting disorder and attacking the authority of the state, both frontally and clandestinely, Communists do not appear to have entirely lost sight of purely political aspects of their program which in itself contributes considerably to the potency intimidation factor during pre-election period. For example Communists’ propaganda is as usual concerned with charging their opponents—the Rightists and the government—with just those motives and plans which they themselves have. Communists take every opportunity given them by rightist accusations of violent intentions and by police actions to charge “provocation”; and they are at pains to refute any imputation that they themselves are provocative or aggression [aggressive]. Most recent instance of this is found in Scoccimarro’s4 Turin speech (mytel 3978, December 95 and 3983, December 106) whether or not he actually referred to recourse to arise [arms?] in 48. Unita made no reference to speech day after its delivery, and day after that Scoccimarro went to elaborate lengths both to deny he used the words and to assert that by them he meant worker-management councils in factories.

Sent Department 4000 and Paris 479.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Luigi Longo, vice secretary of the Italian Communist Party; Deputy in the Constituent Assembly.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Mauro Scoccimarro, Communist Deputy in the Italian Constituent Assembly; former Minister of Finance, 1945–1947.
  5. Telegram 3978, December 10, from Rome, is not printed.
  6. The reference to telegram 3983 is incorrect.