Manuscripts/Mixed Material 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 Diaz did not leave the party, as I fully anticipated he intended to do in 1955. He left only after the Hungarian revolution and the Soviet suppression of that revolution. Although his defection was an important loss for the Communist Party, it did not have the enormous political impact that it would have had in 1955, a year earlier. In the wake of the Hungarian Revolution, a considerable number of intellectuals left the party, and Diaz was only one among the more prominent. There were others, like Antonio Giolitti, the grandson of the famous premier of the once-democratic, pre-Fascist Italy.
Q: At this point, do you have any idea how the journalist went about establishing this contact? Was he able to provide the material regarding the legal system of the Soviet Union, as had been asked?
MOCERI: I knew that the journalist had received this charge. I decided, because I felt that there should be a clear distinction between my activities and CIA activities—I was very sensitive on this subject—I decided not to inform myself. So I do not know what he did, or whether, in fact, he ever established contact. I never saw Furio Diaz again. I never asked my intermediary, Dr. Merli in Livorno. And even though I saw Merli frequently after that, I felt it was just better to let the matter die. Because, in their minds, they must have been greatly puzzled by the strange way in which Americans did things. From their perspective, given what they knew of my intellectual interests, I was surely an “interloceteur valable” for Furio Diaz.
Another aspect of my association with Dr. Merli in Livorno was that he was very close to the then-president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Giovanni Gronchi.
Q: You're speaking of the journalist or...
MOCERI: I'm speaking of Dr. Merli, the magazine editor. Giovanni Gronchi was, as I said, then president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and later became president of Italy. My friend Merli had obviously briefed him very carefully on me. Whenever Gronchi came to Florence, he made arrangements for me to meet him and spend an hour riding with him in his car around Florence. He would talk to me about his view of America and the Americans in Rome, the European situation and whatever else he felt Americans should hear from him.
Q: He was a Christian Democrat?