Manuscripts/Mixed Material 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. As he acknowledged later, he satisfied himself that I'd been completely loyal and that I kept our differences entirely within our personal relationship. In Washington, I know he was responsible for putting in a very strong word for me. It was only at the end of 1954 that I was given my first promotion.
Reversion To Discussion Of Legge Truffa (”Fraudulent Law”) Incident Of 1953 Re The Italian National Election
There are, I guess, other things I should mention. One of my early encounters, at first unpleasant, with Lloyd Free was in relationship to the Italian political elections of 1953 and the famous Legge Truffa, the...
Q: Could you spell that, too?
MOCERI: Legge, L-E-G-G-E, and Truffa, T-R-U-F-F-A; literally, the “fraudulent law.” This was a law governing the elections for 1953, to the effect that a party or coalition of parties which received 50% plus 1 vote—in other words, a numerical majority of at least one vote—would receive 66% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies.
Americans seem not to have understood that this was the same law by which Mussolini had seized control of the Italian Parliament. It had been pressed, of course, by the Christian Democratic Party. They wanted to assure themselves of the majority. We saw this as a way of guaranteeing the passage of anything we wanted our friends in the Italian Government to do.
My own soundings, not only in Tuscany, but through my various friends in other cities of Italy, led me to the conclusion that unless Mario Scelba, who was Minister of Interior of the Christian Democratic Government, could manipulate more than 10% of the vote, the center coalition formed by the DC's and Liberals, Republicans and Social Democrats would not win the necessary majority.
There was a meeting of the branch public affairs officers in Rome in the early spring of '53. Lloyd Free presided. Naturally, the concern, the concern of all the people in the American Embassy in Rome, was the issue of the upcoming elections. Would the center get its majority? And there was great confidence that it would.