373. Telegram 10955 From the Embassy in Italy to the Department of State1
10955. For Asst. Secretary Hartman from Ambassador. Subject: Italian Fallout from Puerto Rico.
1. As you are aware, the Christian Democrats have moved quickly to make a deal with the Communists whereby the latter were given [Typeset Page 1135] Presidency of the Chamber in the Parliament. We are told that Moro was mainly responsible for putting this deal through, and that it will include the chairmanships of a number of parliamentary committees.
2. We were given to understand by reliable Italian sources that Moro and others going to Puerto Rico expected clearly stated political conditions for any financial assistance the Italians might receive. In addition, we believe the Italians expected some kind of political “guidance” particularly with regard to relations with the PCI. We are told that political questions were not considered in the formal meetings except that Trudeau apparently raised the subject, but no other participant followed-up and the matter dropped. We are told that as a result, Moro may have interpreted the lack of discussion of political conditions as a signal that the USG has relented or is indifferent. Ingrao’s quick and non-acrimonious installation as President of the Chamber certainly suggests a sharp change in attitude by the DC leadership which just two weeks ago ended an anti-Communist electoral campaign.
3. Of course we do not know what might have happened in any bilaterals with the Italians. With crucial negotiations for the formation of a government about to begin, I am worried about the changed atmosphere in the DC leadership. I have already expressed my serious concern to some in the DC leadership about this apparent change in attitude toward the PCI. I hope that you can send me urgently some kind of report of what transpired with the Italians on political matters at the Puerto Rico summit so that I can register our concern even more forcefully.
Summary: Volpe discussed the Italian fall-out from the Puerto Rico economic summit.
Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 9, Italy—State Department Telegrams to SECSTATE—NODIS (4). Secret; Nodis. In telegram 170069 to Rome, July 9, the Department affirmed its disassociation from the idea of “‘programmatic’ cooperation of the Communists in order to solve Italy’s problems,” as well as U.S. “opposition to Communist participation in the government,” which extended “to any steps that point toward PCI’s ultimate acquisition to power even if, for the moment, they stop well short of it. Nothing said to the Italians at Puerto Rico could have given a contrary impression.” (Ibid., Box 8, Italy—State Department Cables From SECSTATE—NODIS (3)) Documentation on the June 27–28 Puerto Rico economic summit is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976.↩