Manuscripts/Mixed Material 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 to the various other agencies of government, to satisfy his ego.
The fact of the matter was that Gronchi spent six hours with Eisenhower. I was later told that this was the direct result of the CIA input, based on the various memoranda that I had sent about our conversations, my conversations with Gronchi.
There is another aspect to this story which has some interest, I think, for the whole question of the USIA role. Gronchi, through his press officer, my friend, asked that I be assigned to him, to accompany him to the United States. My friend felt this was great because I could explain all kinds of things about the United States to Gronchi, who had never been to this country before. He thought I could serve, in fact, as a consultant to him on American life, and so on.
The request was made verbally to the political section of the embassy.
Q: By whom? By Gronchi?
MOCERI: Gronchi, through his press officer. The response was, “We would like to have this in writing over the President's signature,” something President Gronchi, and I would assume any other President, would never do. They would not put that kind of a request in writing. That was the end of that. [Laughter] I, of course, was rather upset about it.
I began to understand something about bureaucratic infighting within the American Government—an understanding that became the basis for my later firm belief that the various entities of the U.S. Government spent more time fighting each other than working on their common problems.
Q: Well, in those days, it was quite common for anybody on the political—the State Department regular political side—to look down upon anyone in USIA. And they refused to admit that anyone in that organization could have a political concept worth considering. So I assume that they felt this would be a slap in the face to them, and, consequently, they were never going to permit it.