372. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1


  • CIA Interim Assessment of Italian Elections

CIA Director Bush has sent you (at Tab A) an interim assessment of the results of the Italian national elections held June 20–21. The principal points of the report are summarized for your information as follows:

—The Italian elections solved nothing. The Communist Party (PCI) and the Christian Democrats (DC) both claim a kind of victory, but the margin between the two parties is the narrowest since 1948.

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—The Socialists, who suffered substantial losses at the polls, nevertheless remain pivotal, since no governmental combination can be formed without them, and they are insistent that the PCI be associated in the responsibilities of governing.

—For the near term, the options in forming a new government are severely limited. A probable interim solution is the formation of a DC minority government to run the country on an interim basis for several months while the major parties consult and maneuver.

—In the election aftermath, the DC party remains weak and divided. The PCI is undecided as to the nature and scope of the role it should play in any solution to the present governmental crisis—formal participation in the government or tacit cooperation with the governing coalition. The result is that Italy remains ill-prepared to deal effectively with its chronic problems.

—Meanwhile, EC Commission President Ortoli and German Chancellor Schmidt have separately indicated that the EC should be in the forefront of economic aid but should be supported by the United States in what the Europeans are calling an “EC Marshall Plan for Italy.”

  1. Summary: Scowcroft forwarded and summarized a CIA interim assessment of the June 20 to 21 Italian election.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 8, Italy (6). Secret. Sent for information. Tab A, attached but not published, is a June 24 memorandum from Bush to Ford forwarding the CIA assessment. Bush noted that while the elections had “avoided the ‘worst case’ outcome, they had ‘solved nothing.’ The immediate outlook is for some weeks or even months of intricate maneuvering as the parties sort out their relationships and a temporary government presides, a poor position for any attack on Italy’s economic problems—which will not wait.” Both the memorandum from Bush to Ford and the memorandum from Scowcroft to Ford were sent to Scowcroft under cover of a June 25 memorandum from Clift. Scowcroft wrote on this memorandum, “President has seen.”