294. Editorial Note

The question of the United States attitude toward an opening to the left publicly surfaced on January 13, 1962, when the Turin newspaper Gazzetta del Popolo published a report stating that President Kennedy had discussed the issue during a January 9 White House meeting with Giuseppi Codacci-Pisanelli, president of the Interparliamentary Union and a Minister without portfolio in the Fanfani government. According to the memorandum of conversation of this meeting:

“The President opened by referring to the Italian political situation and asking what was going to be done about Nenni. Mr. Pisanelli said this was the great question in Italy at the moment but that those who hoped by making a deal with Nenni to isolate the Communists were doomed in his opinion to disappointment, witness, he said, the recent statement to this effect by Riccardo Lombardi of Nenni’s party. The most difficult aspect of this problem was accordingly foreign policy.” (Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149)

In telegram 2041, January 17, the Department of State informed the Embassy in Rome: “If questioned by Italian correspondents White House will reply as follows: Begin text. Reports that President Kennedy in his discussion of January 9 with President of Inter-Parliamentary Union Giuseppe Codacci-Pisanelli expressed an opinion on the question of the so-called Opening to the Left in Italy are without foundation. The question of the political debate now underway in Italy was briefly touched upon, but the President expressed no opinion whatsoever on either side of the various points of view under consideration. End text.”

It added that the Embassy could make a “similar clarification” if questioned by the local press. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.6511/1–1962)