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EDITORIAL
from issue no. 02 - 2007

The Thirtieth Anniversary


When in the mid ’Seventies the Italian situation reached the peak of danger the premises were created for non-belligerence at least between us Christian Democrats and the Communists, who since 1947 had voted regularly against the governments having been expelled from them. Hence it was necessary to find a compromise


Giulio Andreotti


Enrico Berlinguer, Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, shaking hands with Aldo Moro, President of the Christian Democrats, 20 May 1977

Enrico Berlinguer, Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, shaking hands with Aldo Moro, President of the Christian Democrats, 20 May 1977

When in the mid ’Seventies the Italian situation reached the peak of danger (Red Brigades and international debt over the top) the premises were created for non-belligerence at least between us Christian Democrats and the Communists, who since 1947 had voted regularly against the governments having been expelled from them. Hence it was necessary to find a compromise. Aldo Moro and Enrico Berlinguer worked it out but, since I had been chosen as Prime Minister, I personally had a strenuous meeting with Berlinguer at the home of Tonino Tatò. The rumour circulated later that the CIA had bugged the meeting, and if so I’d be grateful for the recording which would confirm what was agreed.
The Communists undertook to vote a document recognizing the Atlantic Pact and the European Community as fundamental elements of Italian foreign policy.
The abstention of the parliamentary Communists, which was decisive, was renamed as «non no-confidence» (an expression coined by the economic advisor to the Cabinet, Professor Luigi Cappugi).
There was a psychological obstacle in getting the exact meaning (purpose and limits) of the Italian shift understood abroad. In particular the impact on the United States of America, always fearful of us “sliding”, was important. Twenty years earlier, especially at the time of Ambassador Claire Boothe Luce, doubts on the matter had been very strong there, as also attested by the diaries of Alberto Tarchiani, our highly respected ambassador in Washington.
Giulio Andreotti, head of the government known as 
“non no-confidence” (29 July 1976-11 March 1978), speaking in the Chamber of Deputies

Giulio Andreotti, head of the government known as “non no-confidence” (29 July 1976-11 March 1978), speaking in the Chamber of Deputies

Unfortunately the shift of 1976 stirred two types of reactions. One on the Right, so to speak; attenuated by a well organized tour of American lectures by Giorgio Napolitano.
On the other side the negative reaction of the extra -parliamentary Left who held that the Communist leaders were betraying their principles by distancing themselves from the Motherland, gave rise or in any case gave nourishment to the Red Brigades.
Moro paid for the Italian shift in person. In the meantime it had been formalized in Parliament.
But even among the Christian Democrats the constructive non-belligerence with the Communists was challenged more than marginally. Encouragement for some leaders of the Social Movement, which split, creating National Democracy, was attributed to Fanfani. It’s hard to believe that they can really have hoped that the Christian Democrats would back some of their candidates (like Nencioni in Milan). It is a fact that afterward I learned of the highly confidential bargain. But when the operation took place and the debate in Parliament came I provoked a government crisis by getting two Christian Democrat senators, Todini and Della Porta, to leave the chamber, thereby losing the vote of confidence. President Pertini dissolved parliament, leading to an extraordinary, politically very confused election campaign.
However the decisive step had been taken by the Communists and they couldn’t go back on what concerned the pillars of Italian foreign policy.
There is some point in underlining a shaping factor which was referred back to. Italy had always maintained very clear formal relations with the Soviet government. I myself had had the opportunity to work effectively in important contacts with the highly influential Gromyko. And for that matter, in my first term as Prime Minister in 1972 (in alliance with Malagodi’s Liberals) I had made an official visit to Moscow, welcomed despite the negative appeals made by Italian Communist headquarters that only led to me not being received at the highest level. I learned later that at least this formal limitation had to be granted to the Italian comrades.


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