Manuscripts/Mixed Material 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 rich in its holdings as possible. So much of what had been published in America during the Fascist era and the war years was virtually unknown in Italy, exception being made for a handful of specialists. Moreover, given Florentine pride in the city's great literary traditions, I made every effort to ensure that our library had the most substantial holdings in American literature and literary magazines in all of Italy. I personally interviewed—and recommended as candidates to the Fulbright Commission in Rome—all Italian applicants for Fulbright grants residing in my territorial area of responsibility. For me it became a source of considerable satisfaction and even pride that virtually all my recommendations were accepted by the Fulbright Commission. In later decades most of these grantees achieved standings of some note in the political or intellectual life of Italian society. The same could be said, in even more unqualified terms, for my recommendations of candidates for our State Department-financed leader program.
As an illustration of this last point let me cite the case of Ettore Bernabei, who was when I first met him the editor of the Florentine daily Il Mattino d'Italia, the local mouthpiece of the ruling Christian Democratic Party. After we had developed a reasonably good working relationship, I made it possible for him to go to the United States on one of our leader grants. By the mid-sixties he had been elevated to the position of director-general of Italy's RAI/TV, the State's radio/television broadcasting monopoly.
Transfer Of Branch PAO, Florence, Ultimately Makes Moceri BPAO
Q: This is a little past the time when I should have asked the question but, did you, in effect, subsequently, become the Branch PAO? Or did the lady [Marjorie Ferguson] return and assume her position? And when you were undertaking these activities and these offers, were you then head of the program in Florence or not?
MOCERI: Yes, I was the head. When Marjorie Ferguson returned from her home leave, a decision had been made by Lloyd Free and Heath Bowman to move her up to Milano, which really was a much more important center because Milano was the economic capital of Italy. I'd been de facto head of the USIS office in Florence. And on Marjorie's return from home leave, I became the de jure head.
October 1953: Budget Cuts Cause Closing Of USIS Bologna, And Transfer Of BPAO There To Be Head Of USIS Florence, Situation Uncomfortable