PROBABLE SOVIET REACTIONS TO A US AID PROGRAM FOR ITALY (ORE 21/1)

Created: 8/5/1947

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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probable soviet reactionss aid program for italy

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PROBABLE SOVIET REACTIONSS AID PROGRAM FOR ITAI.Y

The current Soviet objective with respect to Italy-is- to gaincontrol of that country by political processes through the Increasing influence and power of the Italian Communist Party. To this end the Italian Communists exploit astutely the discontent of the working class and lower middle class resulting" from unemployment, food shortages, the high cost of living, and other consequences of economic dislocation. They attribute the Government's failure to overcome these conditions to its lack of sympathy and understanding, through lack of working class representation, and to itsineptitude.

The Communists would perceive at once that the proposed aid program, designed to or emote genuine economic recovery and to strengthenies between Italy and the West, would, if successful, deprive them of their political stock ln trade and tend to stabilize the political ascendancy of the moderate parties. In consequence, the USSR and the Italian Communists mustit as imperative to defeat the program, their problem being how to do eo without themselves incurring responsibility for disappointing the high hopes which the program would arouse in all classes of Italian society. ampaign of strikes, disorders, and similar direct action in obvious opposition to the program, while within Communist capabilities, would be self-defeating in that it would provoke such general resentment as to destroy any prospect of anCommunist accession to power by political means. The subtlety required to obstruct and discredit the aid program without seeming to oppose it is also within the capabilities of the Communist leadership in Italy, which has proved its astuteness in escaping from equally difficult dilemmas. It ic therefore probable that the Communists would seek to cope with the aid program by devious rather than overt means, turning it to their own ultimate advantage.

Italian Communist strategy ln implementation of the foregoing concept would be designed to create and exploit disappointment and disillusionmentthe aid program, however beneficial its actual results. It would be oased on the following considerations in particular:

a. The amelioration of conditions in Italy is quite acceptable to the Uiwounists (who intend to take over the management of Italianhat the moderate parties and the United States can be deprived of any credit for it and, indeed, be made objects of resentment in the process.

he depth of existing despair is such that the prospect of aid can De niMeto raise extravagant hopes leading ultimately to unreasonable, butdisappointment when the program fails to produce manna from heaven.

_ i

c. Administration of the program must inevitably produce some ItalotLOn exPloUablc in ^rms of patriotic resentmerTof vSee 1ST perialism" in general and "carpetbaggers" in particular.

economic collapse of the United States8

would cause the collapse of the aid program and the ultimate disillusionment.

peciflc courses of counteraction which might be expected"of the Italian Communists are:

on a

5; Jic acceptance of the aid program, not as an act of benevolence the part of the United States, but aa no more (Indeed, leas) than Italy has right to expect In all the circumstances.

f thls acceptance by reservations regarding the protection of Italian independence and sovereignty calculated to inciteas to the motives of the United States and to render the Italian people hypersensitive to necessary US supervision of the program-thia is to be fol-iJ?fr-UP.- i ProP^SMda regarding US imperialism in Italy, Comminist vilification of US supervisory personnel and exploitation of every incident of friction,eneral effort to substitute resentmant of US -interference" for gratitude for US assistance.

n ;aCkf upon the noderate Government for accepting suchand for ineptitude and discrimination in the administration of the program.

d_. Covert sabotage and labor manipulation designed to obstruct the program and to Impair its effectiveness without incurring responsibility.

f" to promote the idea that the US contribution to Italian

eJationhe need*he country and to the benefits which might have been derived from closer association with the

"nanlfestly, the USSR could not compete with

could be supported by opportunistic

grants of Soviet aid in critical situations, such incidents to be exploited as

8hipmentS t0 France deaPite sealer, but commonplace, US ehip-

BytTsuceBt Primarily propagandistic, but including the maximum degree of covert obstruction, the Italian Communists would strive to turn thT US aid program to their own ultimate advantage. If, however, it were to bee era apparent to the Kremlin that this policy of finesse was not worklng-that pKe Conmimst efforts, the aid program was strengthening substantLl^the

MnnUa2 rer^GS andthe Western orienta-

tion of Italian policy-then Soviet-Communist tactics would be reversed. hese circumstances the prospectsommunist accession to power by politl-J'^ would have disappeared, so that action prejudicial to that endwouM

IT, ,E ^ y resourceSSR and the Italian Communist Party would then be committed in an open, all-out effort to defeat the economic of

well as Lhe political purposes of the program by strikes, sabotage,disorders, and possibly by insurrection. Such tactics would produce such an anti-Communist, anti-Soviet reaction in Italy as to consolidate Italianto the West. The economic consequences would be such, however, as to disrupt the process of Italian rehabilitation and to render Italy an economic liability as an ally. Moreover, in the confusion created some opportunity might ariseommunist accession to power by force. . -

6. In short, so long as, in the opinion of the Kremlin, thereair prospect of Communist accession to power in Italy by political means, the USSR and the Italian Communists will seek to deal with the aid program byin hope of turning it to their own advantage, if, however, that prospect is eliminated, the USSR and the Italian Communists will do all in their power to disrupt the economic rehabilitation and political stabilization of Italy.

Original document.

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