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  • Page 1 of Interview with James Moceri

    The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project Information Series JAMES MOCERI Interviewed by: G. Lewis Schmidt Initial interview date: May 22, 1990 Copyright 1998 ADST Q: This is Lew Schmidt, interviewing Jim Moceri at his home in Auburn, Washington, on May 22, 1990. Jim, I'm going to ask you to start out by giving a little background on yourself, ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 2 of Interview with James Moceri

    During the course of graduate work at Columbia, I worked for the Federal Writers Project as a writer, and produced a series of pamphlets on subjects as varied as "Soil Conservation" for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the lives and works of New Jersey painters of the 19th century, Washington in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. Transferring later to the New Jersey ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 3 of Interview with James Moceri

    From 1947 to 1949, I was employed as an assistant professor at a newly established college in northern Idaho at Farragud, the former Navy boot camp. There I handled the course offerings in ancient and modern history and in political science as well. Learning that a Fulbright program for Italy would be inaugurated in 1949, I applied for a grant to do full time ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 4 of Interview with James Moceri

    Q: Just to get this in perspective, what was the date that you took up your Fulbright studies in Italy? MOCERI: As I said, I arrived in Italy in November of 1949. My Fulbright grant was renewed for a second year at Croce's request, so I remained in Naples at the Institute until June of 1950. During that period, people at USIS, particularly the ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 5 of Interview with James Moceri

    Two elements in the experiences of my Neapolitan years are worth recalling because they later counted heavily among the factors that persuaded me to join the USIS sphere of activities in the Foreign Service. My closest Neapolitan friends, whom I had met at the Institute, were under constant, almost daily attack by the local Communist party leaders and intellectuals in the press, in communist ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 6 of Interview with James Moceri

    Well, I refused. Two weeks later I got a call from someone apparently in the European division of the State Department. I was informed that the division was delighted to be able to offer me a position in Italy. After all, they had worked out this arrangement and were glad to offer me a position as director of the USIS operation in Bari, Italy. ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 7 of Interview with James Moceri

    Assignment To Bari Changed By Ambassador Dunn To Florence Q: Who was? MOCERI: Ambassador James Dunn. In the course of the meeting, Ambassador Dunn informed Lloyd Free, the director, and Heath Bowman that he wanted me sent to Florence. There was no further talk of opening the post in Bari. They'd have to look for someone else. The reason for sending me to Florence ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 8 of Interview with James Moceri

    In the meantime, apparently, Rome decided that this would be a great time for Marjorie Ferguson to get some much-needed home leave. Q: You could replace her. MOCERI: [Laughter] So I was there as her substitute and put in charge of the program. I knew nothing about the program at this point, really. So I spent time familiarizing myself with the staff and the ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 9 of Interview with James Moceri

    I went about my work of learning something of the activities of USIS. I, of course, saw the material sent out by Rome: press releases, material for the press. I became acquainted with a number of Italian newspaper people in Florence, and plunged into the time-consuming routine of developing contacts with editors, publishers, newspapers, magazines, university people, particularly in the areas of politics and ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 10 of Interview with James Moceri

    MOCERI: Well, it's hard to know what may have happened. I assume that at the time Rome decided the matter could be handled very quietly by someone else. It took no great power of divination to sense that the "someone else" proved to be a sometime American journalist living in Florence at the time, whom I knew reasonably well. The point is that Furio ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 11 of Interview with James Moceri

    MOCERI: Yes, a leader of an important faction of the left-wing faction of the Christian Democratic Party. For reasons which I never quite understood, he had very poor relations with Mrs. Luce, who had become our ambassador to Italy. When he was elected president of Italy, the relations worsened. I think it was common knowledge that the kindest word, epithet, Mrs. Luce had for ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 12 of Interview with James Moceri

    Q: Question is, did it ever get to the State Department? MOCERI: That I don't know. I have no idea. All I know is, that when Gronchi did come to the United States, Mrs. Luce had recommended that he be given, simply, the courtesy of a brief, get-acquainted meeting with President Eisenhower. And that he then be dismissed by the White House and left ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 13 of Interview with James Moceri

    MOCERI: I think you're quite correct. That was the conclusion to which I came. It led to my conviction that the only way those of us in USIA—because by that time we were a separate organization—could establish our own credibility and achieve any kind of status, was to be as good as if not better political officers than any other people in the State ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 14 of Interview with James Moceri

    Success Of Moceri's Fulbright Exchange Nominees During all these years there were of course all the other, more conventional USIS activities in which I was heavily involved. A few examples, by way of illustration. In a city with a great tradition of private libraries and semi-private libraries belonging to generally restricted scholarly societies (sometimes centuries-old), I wanted the open-shelved USIS library to be as ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 15 of Interview with James Moceri

    Then, a year later, because of budget cuts in Washington, they decided to consolidate offices. And there was a decision to abolish the Bologna office as a separate branch post, retaining however the office, staff and library as part of the USIS Florence operation. Frederick Jochum, who was the PAO in Bologna, was transferred to Florence as the new director. Being junior to Fritz ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 16 of Interview with James Moceri

    Unlike France, in Italy influence and prestige and power are all related to given circles. And the circles are always overlapping. Therefore, if you have entree in one circle, that entree enables you to move into any number of other circles. Each circle always radiates outward for almost always each member of the circle has ties with other circles. In France each circle is ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 17 of Interview with James Moceri

    MOCERI: Yes. And Fritz had been partly responsible, I think, for the upgrading of my status. He'd come in suspecting that I would probably be disloyal to him. He made several trips to Rome to find out what I might have been reporting through other channels. I suppose you might say "back channels," [Laughter] although I didn't even know that term at the time. ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 18 of Interview with James Moceri

    The reporting to Washington had been that they would win a majority, though it must be said that as the date of the elections approached the prediction of the margin of victory kept changing so that the margin kept shrinking. At the meeting, every branch PAO reported, for his area, that yes, things were going well and the center coalition would, indeed, win and ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 19 of Interview with James Moceri

    I was talking earlier about people I sent to the States. I sent another journalist, a young man named Lepri, to the United States on a Leader grant. Ten years later he was made the head of ANSA, the Italian news agency. Well, this happened, you know, with many of the people I recommended for either Fulbright grants or Leader grants; people who in ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 20 of Interview with James Moceri

    MOCERI: Oh yes, I did. Of course, I did. The staff went through all those formalities, but when it came time to do their own work they never bothered to inform anybody else. So that occupied a lot of time. I was the lowest-ranking branch PAO in Italy, and outranked by all department heads in Rome headquarters. This meant that I could establish my ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 21 of Interview with James Moceri

    How could anyone have ignored all the implications of such a record? It had to mean that an awful lot of people in Italy had turned to the USIS sources. It meant a continuing and, in many cases, sustained relationship. Yet USIS Rome never heard a word from Washington about the catalogue or any use made of it. I was left to wonder whether ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 22 of Interview with James Moceri

    Q: I sometimes think Henry was not always aware that he gave different people overlapping assignments. MOCERI: But my point was here, with all the Agency talk about effectiveness was one of the most important evidences of effectiveness. One could have gone to Congress with the material and made an excellent case, because this was a list not only of topics that showed the ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 23 of Interview with James Moceri

    Another incident involving my relationship with Mrs. Luce may serve as a minor historical or biographical footnote, because I don't think anybody else knows about it. In the same summer of 1955, Mrs. Luce had expressed to me a desire to have a reputable Italian writer do a thoughtful history of her ambassadorship in Italy. I said I thought I could arrange this. Later, ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 24 of Interview with James Moceri

    He came one day to my office (and subsequently we met in his office) to discuss the possibility of American participation, because he felt that, without American participation, that is, the participation of the leader in atomic energy and possessors of nuclear bombing capability, his conference plan would have no world resonance. I thought, "Well, this is an excellent opportunity for the Eisenhower Administration ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22
  • Page 25 of Interview with James Moceri

    Q: Well, it did not make any difference, but it would have been interesting to find out. If he had reported your disagreement with the consensus of the rest of the people about it, it might have had some effect. I'm just wondering if he ever had the courage to bring it up. MOCERI: I don't know. All I can say, Lew, is that ...

    • Contributor: Schmidt, G. Lewis - Moceri, James
    • Original Format: Manuscripts/Mixed Material
    • Date: 1990-05-22