297. Editorial Note

On February 21, Presidential Special Assistant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., met with Pietro Nenni in Rome. According to Nenni (Anni di Centro Sinistra, pages 213–214), Schlesinger stated U.S. approval of Italy’s political evolution, comparing it to the knocking down of gates that had prevented participation by Italy’s masses in the governing process. Nenni in turn underlined the limited nature of the new governing arrangement, indicating it was the first step in a process, and stressing the tenuous nature of the experiment in an opening to the left. Nenni also explained the PSI’s neutralist position on foreign policy and its incompatibility with Atlantic policies. Schlesinger, according to Nenni, stated his agreement. Nenni than added that his party’s stand was not incompatible with a Western policy of reduction of tensions and expressed the PSI’s hope that the West was seeking to pursue such an approach in its relations with the Soviet Union. Nenni also recorded that in seeking to explain U.S. policy, Schlesinger stated that he understood the PSI’s point that it could be loyal to NATO while critical of certain Alliance policies.

Schlesinger reported on this meeting in A Thousand Days, pages 803–804, and in a memorandum to President Kennedy. No copy of the memorandum or other record of the meeting has been found.