345. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1
- Andreotti’s Resignation as Italian Prime Minister
On June 12, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti submitted his resignation to President Leone. Leone has requested Andreotti and his Cabinet to remain in office in caretaker status and on June 14 will initiate the ritual round of presidential consultations aimed at designation of a new cabinet.
In view of its narrow majority, the survival of Andreotti’s government for nearly a year was in many ways a tribute to his political skill and agility. Andreotti was also helped by the absence of a clear consensus in the Christian Democratic Party (DC) about alternatives to his government, and whether and how the DC should move back toward collaboration with the Socialists in a revival of center-left government which ruled Italy from 1962 to 1972.
The Christian Democrats reached a consensus in their five-day congress which ended on June 10 to move cautiously toward a new alliance with the Socialists. Their reasons for doing so reflected the increasing difficulties in parliament caused by the narrow majority of Andreotti’s center government. The Congress’ decision also reflected maneuvering on the part of former Prime Minister Fanfani who in order to reassert his leadership found it necessary to line up with his old rival Aldo Moro. Moro’s price was restoration of the center-left.
It now seems likely that Fanfani will resume leadership of the DC (which he held 1954–1958) and there is considerable speculation that former Prime Minister Rumor will emerge as Andreotti’s successor as Prime Minister.
Summary: Kissinger discussed Andreotti’s resignation as Prime Minister.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 756, Presidential Correspondence, (Italy) Prime Minister Andreotti, Colombo Successor (1972) (Feb 72–Jul 73) (1 of 1). Limited Official Use. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Nixon wrote at the top of the memorandum, “K, Personal Ltr to him from RN [Richard Nixon].” Sonnenfeldt sent Kissinger a draft letter from Nixon to Andreotti under cover of a July 10 memorandum; Kissinger wrote at the bottom of the memorandum, “This is a mistake. Unnecessary + would be misunderstood. Hold.” (Ibid.) Andreotti was succeeded as Prime Minister by Rumor on July 4. In telegram 8289 from Rome, August 16, the Embassy discussed the new government’s prospects. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973)↩