THE EUROPEAN COMMUNIST PARTIES

Created: 6/6/1977

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

67 THE EUROPEAN COMMUNIST PARTIE3

Executive Precis

is thus far little moreabel. At raost ic has potential for growthong period which mightohesive (but prob.ibly not monolithic)force in Western Europe.

the present, the heart of the matter is the key West EuropeanFrench, and Spanish. Despite some corojoon positions, they are very different parties and face even more different political prospects and problems.

Spanish Communists are likely to winnailof the votes in the parliamentary elections onune. Althougholitical oiganlzation and strength with Ijbor) is more than tbe election outcome is likely to suggest, the Spanish Communists are much fartherole ln government than their comrades in Italy and France.

Italian Communists (PCI) preceded the others ina revolutionary path to power and the Soviet system as models for Italy. The PCIecord of ralativoand pragmatic compromise in dealing with otherforces. The Italian Communists are already, in effect, part of the governing establishment, and their staying power is great.

.'i'JTE: ij rforardii'irepared b'j an inZaragens'j jroupof repr*senzazivce of CIA, State/IBrt, and VIA, chaired by the national nteHige-nce Officer for Western Europe.

In thoir claims to moderation and advocacy of pluralism, the French Communist* (PCF) aro much more suspect* Even if they could provide convincing proof of thoir independence from Moscow, the policies they tspouse (with respect to the EC, for example) remain uncongenial, at best, to Western aims. The PCF may behare of governaent powerormal sense (cabinetut inase its influence would probably be substantially less than the inriuence the TCI would exercise if it entered the Nore important, tho French Communists are not likely to be able to stay in government noreear or two, even if the Loft Alliance does win the next election,of deep differences between the Socialist andpartners.

There is an important distinction betweenhare of government power in coalition andtaking power in the country." The latter is not in the cards for cither country any time scon.

If and when Communists acquire cabinet posts in France or Italy, they will probably bo so preoccupied with pressing contentious domestic problems and intracoalition friction that abrupt foreign policy changes seem unlikely, at least in the short term. In addition, international economic realities will impose some constraints on far-reachingin foreign and domestic policies.

Nonetheless, EC member countries are fearful over what PCF and/or PCIinto government would -ftLan for Western Europe's economic hoalth, EC institutions, and EC-USover the longer run.

/

-Tho Jioruptive offecta on NATO of Communist entry into tho I'rench or Italian governments give rise to serious concern throughout Europe. At the very least, these parties would bo obstructive, Italian entry would especially raise security problems, particularly in the Nuclear Planning Group. Beyond thie there would be questions concerning cohesion of theand the risk of an American-German suballiance developing.

-The Soviets, of course, would welcome increasing divisive-nes3 in NATO and tho EC. Ac tha same cime, they must be concerned over what it would mean for Soviet control in Eastern Europe if tho Wart European brand of Commu'.lsia should prove effective. The evidence suggests that the Soviet leaders are looking on with mixed feelings--tha more so in view of their awareness that they have little influence over the course of events in Host Europeann.

-Europeans of all political stripes arc koenly aware that the US has made aome modification in its former attitude of flat opposition to any Communist roleATO govern-nent. All across thu spectrum, there is considerableabout precisely what present US policy ia and precisely how tho US will react if Communists do enter the Pronch or Italian governments. The diloooa is that if the US stays silent, it adds currency to the notion that it is ready to accept Conmunistfc in NATO governments; yetpd even some private) declarations to the opposite etfect trigger charyos of interference.

SEC

this is an intelligence assessment andolicy study, possible courses ol action and declaratory approaches to deal with the dilemma are outside its proper scope. We have aet forth, however, how the major European governraents and the main European Communist parties see the US posture, and what our allies hope (or fear) US policy will be.

Page

EXECUTIVE PRECIS

NOTE ON PROBLEM AND SCOPE

X. OVERVIEW AND PRINCIPAL JUDGMENTS

XI. ITALY AND THE PCI

III. FRANCE AND THE PCP

j,V. THE SPANISH COMMUNISTS

V. THE SOVIET PERSPECTIVE

VI. IMPLICATIONS FOR

VII. EUROPEAN VIEWS OP THE PROBLEM AND

OF US POLICr 22

he Italian Conanuniat

APPENDIXhe French Communiit Party

NOTE ON PROBLEM AND SCOPE

The long-term prospects for the West European Communistone or more will enter government and what tho effects would be if thoysubject to many jncertainties. Tho likely ultimate results are not obvious and certainly not foreordained. In this memorandum we seek to define andthe forces at work within the Communist parties themselves, among the present governing or establishment parties, to weigh these factors in context of the national societies in which the parties must work, and to explore some implications for outside interests, including those of tho US and USSR. The principal focus is on the problems in Italy and France, which are very dissimilar but which are the two most important cases.

US policy cannot determine the outcome, buts clearly an important factor both in electoral prospects and subsequent behavioi of the European Communists. It is not tho role of intelligence to propose US policy on thesebut it is within the proper scope to assess how major European elements see US policy at present and what directions they hope lor fear) it might take in the future.

9

1. OVERVIEW AND PRINCIPAL JUDGMENTS

A. Euro-Communism is little moreabel denoting certain shared tendencies within the Italian, French, and Spanish Communist Parties, all of which are now playingpolitical roles in their respective nations and may soon play more. The other Communist parties of Western Europe are marginal for purposes of this analysis.

D. The three major Communist parties are very different, and they each face even more different political prospects and problems. They have come to hold inew important doctrinal positions, however, which set them opart from the Soviet and East European models and which have been receiving more emphasis in each party as they have maneuvered to appeal to more voters. For example, they assert the primacy of their countries' national interests, as they perceive them, when these clash with Soviet state interests, they declare that they do not regard the Soviet system as an applicable model for their countries, and they have stated (but not proved) their commitment to pluralistic democracy. These tendencies run deepest in the Italian party.

C. There is evidence of considerable strain and debate over future strategy and tactics within each party's loader-ship group, between tho leaders and segments of the rank and file, and between tho three different national parties. despite their differences with the OSSRemselves, the European Communists aro still Communists, and not socialists or social democrats. They still hold toclassical Communist practices which distinguish them from other partios of the European lefti

conduct party affairs by the Leninist model of "democraticequiring acceptance at all party levels of policies laid down at the top.

romatn broadly internationalist in outlook, with considerable residual loyalty to thos the first Communist 3tate. This loyalty and several decades of opposition to tho US and NATO Europe,hem instinctively hostile to the US which they see as the embodiment of capitalism and imperialism.

French and Italian parties havo very different views on economic policy, but they and the Spanish party profess an ultimate visionurope freed from US and Soviet domination,arxist society which avoids both the Soviet model and the trap they believe the other European leftist parties have fallenelping to administerwithout appreciably changing it.

-They are- vague on precisely how they would do this, partly because they probably don't know themselves and partly because (like other political parties) they are reluctant to give detailed answers before they have to,hey lose support on cither loft or right.

D. Similarities among the three parties are interesting, but the heart of the matter is the separate, very different problems in Italy, France, and Spain.

Italy

PCI is much che largest and most advanced

European Communist party, having the longest record of working with other parties, of avoiding dogmatism and confrontation with the church, ofavorable image for administrative competence in cities and regions where it has run localand, at least recently, ofelatively moderate line in fiscal and labormoderate than other Italian parties on the left. The PCI has been helped by the fatigue of the Christian Democrats afterears in power. It is, in effect,art of the Italian governing establishment.

PCI's political leverage derives from thecritical dependence on it for benevolentin parliament and from the government's need for its cooperation in porsuading Italian labor to accept austerity measures.

PCI entry into the Italian government is by no means assured, and it is oven possible that in new

- vill

elections the party would fall short of theercent peak lt reached Odds are, however, that It will not lose much ground in any new elections, and in any case it will remain one of Italy's twoparties for the foreseeable future.

the PCI has coma nearer power in the last few years, it has shown increasing recognition that the division of Europe into blocs will not soon disappear. Communist leader Berlinguer has even stated that he feels more comfortable with Italy in NATO than otherwise. This tendency does not make the PCI pro-NATO in any effective sense, merely less militant and moro cautious.*

PCI is particularly concernedost-Tito Yugoslavia slip back into the Soviet orbit. Italian Communists maintain close ties with theoviet move against Yugoslav independence would present the PCIainful dilermna if NATO were to respond in support of Yugoslavia. The PCI would be subject to conflicting pressures, but some members at least would probablyirm NATO response.

some years the PCI has supported Italianin the EC as essential to Italy's interests. The party want3 to see OS economic influence (and that of multinationals generally) reduced, but it has also shown itself aware of economic constraints on what it can do in this respect.

France

PCFood chance of entering the government through the next parliamentary elections (probably in. But it hasigh price in joining with the French Socialistsn alliance which has unabled the Socialists to become the dominant voice on the left in France.

tho Left Allianceovernment, thatwould probably fall apart in the first year or

she Air Force believe this paragraphore

banian attitude of tha PCIA TO than ie the caae. It fails i'y indicate that tha ?Cl consistently reminds ite foUoKtrJ that the present SATOo unacceptable and auoi be restructured to elininata US dominance.

- ix -

SHCJHTr

two. Principal issues cf contention would be chiefly domestic, with the PCF pushing foradical restructuring of Frenchalling out between the PCF and the Socialists could loadolitical realignment in which the Socialists uould join with some centrist elementsew center-left alignment or it covld leadew center-right arrangement, in short, if the PCF does enter the French government, it is much less likely than the PCI in Italy to stay in over the long term.

PCF's adoption of the relatively benign aspects of European Communism is far more recent and considerably less credible than in the case of the Spanish and tho Italian parties, whether the trend will accelerate as the PCF gets closer to power, or be reversed bywithin the Left Alliance, is conjectural.

-The PCF takes ore negative attitude than either the PCI or the Spanish party toward NATO and the European Community. This is consistent with che mainstream of French sentiment as compared with Italian, and the parallels between PCP thinking on French foreign policy and the Caullist tradition reflect deliberate strategy on the PCF's part. We doubt that the PCF would push for outright French departure from the alliance, but it would certainly press to reduce the cooperation which ciscard has fostered.

Spanish Communisc Party has more in concon with the Italian than with the French Communists.

seeks/recognition from and political alliance with groups on the conter-left, including its principal rival for the working classSpanish Socialist Workers Party.

foreign policy appears more moduzato than that of the Spanish Socialists in that it iu less active in pushing for the romoval of US bases. It is against Spain's joining NATO, but has indicated it would abide by the decision of the Spanish people on both the NATOS bases issues.

is thoroughly hostile to the idea of subordinating its interests to soviet objectives. Party leaders remember that the Soviets organized an abortivein an attempt to unseat General Secretary Carrillo in.

15

Cooperation between the major European Communisthanging and uneven pattern.

Italian Communists consider their French brethren barely regenerate Stalinists. They are as suspicious of the PCF's recent "conversion" as are many non-Communists

the economic* PCI wants toick economy. It thinks the public sector is, under present conditions, already large enough. The Frenchby contrast, want to break the power ofowners and managers of all large and middle-sized enterprises in France.

--Italian and French Communist attitudes also diverge on the question of Europe. PCX leaders believe that Italyhe European Community, and hope to alter

- it from withinore socialist orientation. The pcfthe ECheck on future left-wing policies and an infringement on French sovereignty. This would make it difficult for the parties to adopt consistentlyprograms within the European Parliament.

Spanish party's position on these questions is more akin to the Italian than the French, but also less precise, reflecting Spain's tentative political situation and relative isolation in Europe.

f. Notwithstanding policy differences, suspicions, and tensions among the Italian, French, and Spanish Communists, they hive enough in common so that Euro-Communism has begun to take on some embryonic programmatic and structural form. In recentumber of steps,eries of intor-party meetings (without theave been taken topolicies and tactics and to share facilities andon issues of conuaon interest. The Italians, French* and Spanish are joined in this by certain other West European Communist parties, with the prospect that over the longer run the Euro-Communist label will take on much more real flesh than it has today.

- xi -

sec

governments and mainstream partxes ofon the European Communist problem with concern,varying mixtures of hope that the Communists willpower in Italy or Trance, or that, if they do, theof Euro-Communism will be confirmed andpolitical practices* Some Social Democratic leadersEurope are hopeful with respect to the PCI,of their low opinion of the Italiangovernments and centrist parties repudiate the idea

cf open external interference to affect the political course in France, Italy, or Spain; however, they generally approve the West German approach of conditioning economic assistance to Italy on improved performance by the Christian Democratic government. Various Northern political parties, particularly West German, give moral and financial support toforces in Italy and Spain, while in some cases maintaining dialogues with the PCI as well.

member countries, and particularly Westworried about what PCF and/or PCI entry intomean for Western Europe's economic health and forover the longer run. The immediate concernthe economic instability that many fear would ensueor Italy if Communistshare of power. also fear that Communist-influencedresort to protectionist and other measures thatEC agreements.

more baric is the West European concern over

*he obvious philosophical differences between Communist economic theories and the ideological underpinnings of the EC. In addi^ tion, Communist participation in EC governments could also be expected toperhaps evenworkable US-EC dialogue. Many West European leaders, encouraged by the us administration's willingness to pursue that dialogue, fear that Communist involvement would serve to abort this favorable trend and in the end incline the US more toward bilateral dealings with individual EC countries.

J. Tho question of the PCI or PCF entering NATOand the likely effects of this on the Alliance are matters of serious concern throughout Europe. At the very least, government participation would raise troublesome matters of security, such as in the Nuclear Planningore somber interpretation is that it would call intothe unity and cohesion of the alliance, and might result in fragmenting it, reducing itorth European arrangement with the US which would in effectS-German partnership.

SECR

K. Precisely what the effects would be would, of course, depend heavily on which government was involved, what government positions the Communists held ond on what terms, and what NATO issues are being considered- Of course neither party stands to gain by defining its stance in detail before the fact, since any precise declarations would court adverse reactions on either the right or left at home and either from the Soviets or the West abroad.

"In general. Communist declarations about accepting NATO are probably genuine in the sense that neither the PCI nor the PCF would press for precipltious withdrawal.

--Beyond this, it is clear only that either party, once in the government, would prove generallyregarding NATO matters. And the parties would be particularly opposed to their governments cooperatiny with any US political or military efforts outside the NATOhe Middle East or Africa. Their efforts in these respects would be facilitated to thethey can ride prevailing nationalist sentiments,

L. In the Soviet view, the apparently improvingof the European Communist parties gives rise to mixed feelings, while the Soviets initially welcomed the trend, at least5 they have shown themselves extrei&ely concerned that it carries threats to their interests, and this ambivalence becomes more pronounced the closer to power the European Communists appear to get.

H. The Soviets obviously want the support European Communists give them on major foreign policy issues, and wouldeakening of NATO and divisions between the US and European governments. Offsetting these hopes, however, are fears on several grounds:

impact on the cohesion of the Communist movement. The Western parties' assertions of independence arc one more blow to Moscow's leadershipovement already fragmented by Chinese and Yugoslav heresies. Moscow fears that the pricehare of power for Communist p'arties in the West will be increasing defiance of the

USSR.

impact on the Soviet position tn Boat Europe. Already concerned about stability in this area eault of serious economic problems, Moscow shows alarm lest ideological infection from West European Communists spread to Easternear intensified by the Westerners' support for human rights and diasldents in the East.

iapact on general Soviot foreign policy objectives towards the West. Moscow probably fears that neither the PCI nor the PCF cwuld enter government underthat held out much hope of lasting success. The risk therefore would be not only that their credibility would be damaged but the consequent turmoil wouldonservative backlash, domestically and in tho West generally, which would jeopardize detente and theMoscow hopes to gain from it.

N. We do not conclude from this that Moscow would oppose the entry into government of tho French or Italian parties. On the contrary, it would be publicly pleased and privately hopeumber of opportunities would open upesult. But these hopes would be heavily qualified by apprehensions, and the net reault would be to induce caution and wait-and-see into Soviet policy calculations. (There are differences of view on tho question of how the Sovieta weigh these pluses and minuses. These are elaborated in

0. US attitudes toward Communist parties in Europe are an object of acute interest to Europeans of all political stripes. They are well aware that the present administration haa modified the US stance on this question,ore pragmatic and flexible attitude than in the past, though without abandoning opposition to Communists in NATO governments. Most of the European center-left elements see the change as realistic. They believe that the previous US policy was no longerin hindering Communist electoral prospects, and was in fact likely to increase tho difficulties if the communists shouldole in the Italian or French governmenta. On the other hand, some of the conservative in Franco and Italy--are concerned that the shift from atiff US declaratory opposition to Communists in European governmenta, will nelp the latter to power. Weat European attitudes toward US policy are discussed in Section VII.

1. Most Italian politicians now agree that sharpelectoral gains in the last two years have pushed the country's politics out of one era and into another, in which the rules are not yet clearly defined. Aware that their day-to-day decisions are helping to shape these rules, political leaders of all stripes are maneuvering with extreme caution. For the ruling Christian Democrats, the central feature of the current period is their dependence on Communistinsituation forcing them to makethat are moving the coirjnunists closer to what the Italians call the "governing area."

are only two ways in which the Christiancan hope to halt this process and escape their dependence on the Communisis. They can keep trying to persuade theto rejoin the government since theirs is now the only party that can join Christian Democrats toon-Communist majority. Or, they can call another election in the hope that the Communist vote will decline substantially and that support for the center-left parties will grow.

There is little reason to believe chat eitherwould work. The Socialists, whose experience has made them wary of alliance with either of the aajor parties, are deeply divided over which way to go, and the party's leaders estimate they will need another couple of years to sort out their options. But the depth of the divisions among Socialists strongly suggests that even if the party rejoins theit will neverorce for stability, mucharrier against the Communists.

'

ew election is also unlikely to get the Christian Democrats off the hook. The PCI's working class base and its younger supporters, though upset by the party's growingwith the establishment, would probably stick with the PCI in the absenceredible alternative, while the party's new middle class supporters would probably view the PCI'swith the Andreotti government as further evidence that

it isoderato reformist party. The PCI vote is thus not likely to drop appreciablyew election, which would more probablyurther gravitation of thetoward the two major parties. And in anyew election will not free either party of the needhe other's cooperation in dealing with Italy's pressing social and economic problems.

'5. The odds, therefore, stroagly favor closer cooperation between the Christian Democrats and Communists rather than renewed confrontation. harp deterioration of public order or the economy, either of which could provide the impetusroadly-based "emergency" government, direct Communist participation in the cabinet seems unlikely before the nextwill almost certainly be called before the present legislative terra expires Even without cabinet status, however, the Communists willajor role in the formulation of an increasing number of government policies.

he PCI Should Enter the Government...

6. The PCI has not become just another social democratic party so far as domestic policy is concerned nor do its moderate foreign policyoward NATO, mean that the party has switched alliances. On the other hand, the party's policy choices arc not merely tactical, nor is it acting in anysonse as an agent or "Trojan horse" of Soviet policy. The truth is much more complex,ar larger dose of ambivalence and uncertainty than these explanations would suggest.

A Delicate Balance

3. while the PCI is more disciplined than other Italian parties, it is clearly no monolith. There has been ample evidence over the years of sharp internal debate on both domestic strategy and foreign policy. And the differences within the PCI leadership are compounded by the heterogeneity of the PCI electorate. The PCI is no longerarty of theworking class. Inocioeconomic profile of the PCI's electoral base shows that it is strikingly parallel to the christian Democrats'. In any coali-ion, the party would have to attempt to preserve party unity, while balancing

- 2

the interests of its Marxist and other constituencies. Another dilemma for the PCI stems from its refusal to drop the Leninist practice of "democratichisollow ring to PCI advocacy of pluralism. Party leaders who discuss this issue put more emphasis on synthesizing rather than encouraging various points of view and continue to speak of "hegemony based on consensus."

In order to achieve its objective ot government membership, the PCI must also show that it is becoming more like tie other Italian parties. Conversely, the party's usefulness as an alliance partner would be greatly diminished if it lost its ability to impose discipline on its rank and file because the party is expected, above all else, to "deliver" working class support for economicno other Italian party can do. Should the PCI fail In this respect, much of tho rationale for including it in thewould evaporate. esult, the PCI is trying to tighten control over its labor leaders who have tended lately to b* more responsive to worker rather than party pressure.

The party would be constrained for the foreseeable future from implementing radical social and economic programs. Massive nationalizations of private enterprise can be ruled out. There would, however, be an emphasis on centralized planning of tha economy. The Communists, for example, intend to use the billion-dollar industrial reconversion program

now being discussed in parliamentever to impose planning guidelines on the firms receiving funds.

Ambivalence Toward Moscow

10. Although the PCI maintains ties with the Soviets, and tries not to antagonize them, it does have genuine differences with Moscow. Those center mainly on the Italians' long advocacy of autonomy for all Communist parties, on their differingabout the relevance of the Soviot model of Socialist society, and on their criticism of the human rights situation in Communist states. These differences with Moscow, moreover, are likely to persist, because vital interests are at stake on both sides. CI retreat on these issues could damage the party irreparably in the eyes of Italian voters and possibly cause an internal party split. And the Soviets can hardly afford to acknowledge the legitimacy of tho PCI's positions on autonomy

and dissent, given what that would imply for Soviet society and for Eastern Europe.

PCI's overall foreign policy, however,slanted toward Moscow's, particularly outside ofPCI seems seriously opposedegemonic role forUS or USSR in Europe, but its positions almostMoscow's elsewhere, ond particularly in the tance is not very costly in domestic terms

for the PCX, however, since such issues do not matter much in Italy.

essence, PCI support for various Third Worldreflects the party's own convictions, not dictation

from Moscow. Meanwhile,tance helps the PCI maintain its credentialsrevolutionary- and "internationalist" party among left-wing Italians inclined to mistrust itscompromising political style.

Soviet financial support for the PCIuch smaller part of the PCI's total annual revenues than it wasears ago. Party revenues are now derived largely from various businesses operated by the party and from public funds given to Italian political parties. oviet threat to cut financial support would almost certainly not force the PCI to change olicy it judged vital to its interests in Italy. PCI leaders do worry, however, about the Sovietstrying to stir up dissent among mora militant party members who do not fully accept the PCI leadership's moderate line.

The USSR stillignificant part of the PCI's ideological and historical heritage and the PCI would be extremely reluctant to break ties with Moscow. Still, the party's present attitude toward Moscowarked evolution

away from its posture during che first half of the postwar period, when its policies were mads largely in response to Soviet guidance. The PCI's identity today rests, at least in part, on autonomy from rather than loyalty to the USSR. This trend seems more likely to continue than to be reversed.

The Pressures of Rea)ity

PCI policy toward the Soviets is likoly to

be conditioned by the party's increasing tendency to formulate

major policies more on the basis of pragmatism than of ideology. In domestic politics, the PCI has nearly always shown awillingness to accept realities, to make compromises, and to negotiate with allies and opponents. In recent years, the PCI has begun to approich some foreign policy questions in the same way, as these questions have become more closely related to the goal ofhare of power and as the climate of detente has permitted the party greater freedom of maneuver. Again, the tendency shows up mainly in Western Europe and cost clearly in the evolution of PCI policy toward the European Community.

he PCI was the only Italian party to vote against parliamentary ratification of the Treaty of Rome (the Socialistss it became apparent that the EC was contributing to the growing prosperity of the PCI's working class constituents, however, the party gradually shifted its position.espite Moscow's continuing opposition to west European integration, the Communists were accusing other Italian parties of being insufficiently committed to European political and economic unity.

The PCI turnabout on the EC doubtless began with the calculation that continued opposition would be counterproductive electorally, particularly since public opinion polls have shown that support for European integration is higher among Italians than anywhere else in the Community. But in the process, many Italian communists came to see participation by the party in

EC affairs as one way of forestalling adverse reaction should the PCI enter the government. The PCI has supplemented its EC activity by working for closer relations with not only West European Communist parties but also othertor parties, such as the British Laborites and the West German Social Democrats.

IB. The PCI's new posture towards NATO is another, if less developed, example of the trend toward pragmatism in its foreign policy. Until the, the party line reflected all-out support for Soviet attacks on NATO, but at2 congress the PCIhift in position, saying it "did not pose the question of Italy's leaving the Atlantic Pact" sinceevelopment would upset the European balance of power.

19. The PCI's switch doubtless reflected its realization that opposition to NATOerious obstacle for the party's governmental ambitions, but it was probably more than just an

opportunistic political move. The party appears to havefrom the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and from its belief in "imperialist" responsibility for Allende's fall that the world was still basically bipolar and that the PCI line callingear-term dissolution of both blocs was just wishful The party was probably also influenced by its growingthat detente had become critical to the success of its domestic strategy and byas West Germany's Ostpolitik anddetente was occurring within the framework of the existing alliance structures.

Present PCI thinking on NATO questionsumber of contradictions. There is some reason to believe that Berlinguer ond perhaps other party leaders see merit in NATO's existenceeterrent to Soviet meddling in Yugoslavia, for example, and perhaps ultimately in Italy. They recognize that Soviet interference in Yugoslavia would harm the PCI's political prospects domestically, and could result inoviet satellite on Italy's borders.

in contrast to its rather detailed proposals on EC matters, the PCI's pronouncements on NATO are vague and guarded. They generallyack of sophistication in military and strategic affairs. The party seeks to reduce the "hegemonic" US role in the alliance but avoids specifics on how tothis or other changes in NATO.

In any ovent, proximity to power appears to be forcing the PCI to be less ideological and more pragmatic in its policy assessments. This tendency is more pronounced in the domestic field than on international issues.

VII. EUROPEAN VIEWS OF THE PROBLEM AND OF US POLICY

Europeans aro divided in theirpossible Communist participationnion of thoin Francehistoric compromise"Italy. The divisions in Europe have tended to belines as was illustrated by the debate atinternational socialist conference in Helsingor, Denmark:

Europeans, led by West Germany and the UK, voiced great apprehension over tbe advisability of Socialist-Communist collaboration and remainedof the European Communists' commitment topluralism. Both Chancellor Schmidt and Prime Minister Wilaon were concerned principally with the potential damage to the NATO deterrent and EC political/ economic relationships as well as the broaderforcooperation within the Atlantic alliance.

the other hand, southern European Socialists, led by those of France and Italy, agreed on the needopular front strategy that would harness Communist support for long-neglected domestic social and economic reforms. Faced with growing political immobilisa in France, the Socialist Party Secretary Mitterrand argued that domestic imperatives outweighed any concern for possible risks to international defense and economic cooperation.

also tc<id to view communism in itscontexts rather than as an international movement!

istinction Is made between the PCI and PCF, whose alleged coicmitment to democratic traditions and autonomy from the USSR is more recent and therefore more suspect than the PCI's. Spanish Communistremain largely untested.

opular front government in France, even with the Communists strictly subordinated to the socialists, raises more immedlato political uncertainties and problems, historic compromise" government in Italy, where the christian Democrats would likelyajor rolo. Spanish Conmunists have little hopeovernment rolo in the near future.

the more important political, economic, and security role which France plays in Europe and worldwide when compared to Italy or Spain, places the problemundamentally different perspective.

68. Despite apprehensions in West European governments,ider Communist role in France or Italy, thererowing feeling of resignation, particularly in north European capitals, concerning Communist prospects. Europeans generally believe that

little can be done by outside powers to prevent Communist accession to power in Prance or Italy;

--past French and Italian government social and economic failures have generated much of the Communists'strength; and

economic pressures (especially the sharp rise in oil and raw material prices) have contributedto the social unrest that accompanies high unemployment and inflation and roquires Communistto induce worker acceptance of necessarymeasures.

In some European quarters there is hopenion of the Left government in Francehistoric compromise" government in Italy might "domesticate" the Communists and encourage them to further distance themselves from Moscow, adopt more democratic internal party procedures, and help secure more socially legislation.

West German Concerns

69. While both Chancellor Schmidt's government coalition and the Christian Democratic opposition aro against Communist participation in either the French or Italian governments, Schmidt hasragmatic wait-and-see policy toward European This is based on tho belief that West Germany has

limited ability to affect political events in either country, nevertheless, Schmidt's government has used financial aid to

Italy to stiffen the Christian Doraocruts againit accepting tho

-

historic compromise. At the saoe time, the German Social Democrats do maintain channels of communication with the Italian Communists and tho French Socialists, but not with the French Communists.

70. Bonn's attitude toward European Communism is shaped principally by its commitment to sustain the network of EC and NATO relationships which have formed the basis of German foreign policy and provided the economic and securityof Germany's postwar prosperity. While both the Italian and French Communists are considered threats to the continued viability of these institutions, the Germans view the prospecthistoric compromise" government in Italynion of tho Left government tn France under very different lights:

respect to Italy, some German Social Democratic leaders are partially reassured by what they consider to be the seriousness of Communist leaders and their recent record of rosponsible action in supporting the Andreotti government's social and economic reforms. Given the vulnerability of the Italian economy, however, Bonn is particularly concerned that full Communist participation in government might threaten Italy's economic stability and eventually require further German financial intervention. Bonn regards the potential threat to NATO security as serious but would encourage the flexible application of damage-limiting measures so as not to alienate Italy from NATO.

The prospecteft government in France, however, gives the Germans cause for much greater concern, beyond the general political and economic implications, the Germans are specifically worried about the future of French troops in Germany and French-German defense ties outside NATO. In addition, the West Germans are concerned about the repercussions of Communists in the French or Italian govenunents on East-West relations and the future of detente.

The EC Perspecti'/P

71. EC officials are concerned with theoft victory ir. Francohistoric compromise' solution in Italy. In both countries thereossibility

of financial instability and economic disorder. The French Union of the Left, for example, is committed to an ambitious program of nationalizations to be completedear after assuming power. Moreover, both the Socialists and the Communists are committed to centralized planning and have expressed their willingness to introduce new protectionist trade Measures to stabilize their economies if necessary. Doth actions would challenge the letter and spirit of the Rome Treaty.

Italian and French Communists have beentheir criticism of the ECool of Americanof the multinational corporation as the main exploiterworking classes. Both parties advocateEC through stringent controls on these corporationseffective Community social policies to benefit thethis their policies toward the EC, as noted earlier,

are still quite different.

officials faar tho repercussionsrench or Italian government might have

on US-EC relations. Tho EC has placed great stock in US government statements supporting fuller US-EC consultations, greater EC political/econon.ie integration, EC enlargement, and EC leadership in solving strictly European problems. ft government in Francohistoric compromise"in Italy would make it more difficult for the US to negotiate with the EC. There is consequently the apprehension that the US might choose to rely more heavily on bilateral ties with West Germany and the UK, where there is an identity of interests, leaving the EC toarginal rota in the Atlantic dialogue.

these fears, the EC would argue thatstilletter framework forEuropean Comma-.tst threat to nember states thanalone. The ECees anharness the PCI/PCF to democratic institutions in anCC Parliament.

Tho us noU-

ifferent Europeans have reacted in different ways to what they perceive to bo tho Carter administration's more pragmatic assessment of an enhanced Communis* role in West

- 25

sKcy

European governments. Tho Germans in particular favor the more flexible American approach. They were placed in an increasingly awkward position by the confrontational rhetoric of the previous US administration and were anxious not to be forced to choose between Paris/Rome and Washington. The Germans fearedard-line, exclusionary American policy would

the north-south divisions within tho EC that surfaced during tho recent economic and

furthere facto German-American axis within NATO which tho Germans havefought to avoid.

By contrast, French and Italian government reactions to the new US attitude have been ambivalent. In the past they at least in private,

--US official statements opposing Communist entry into government,

restraints on American diplomatic contacts with Communist officials, and

US visa policies.

In public, French and Italian officials have raised no objection to the changes of the last few months. In private, however, French President Giscard d'Estalng has made known his objections. He particularly objected the US failure to disavow recent French reports that the accession of the Left to power would not harm US-French relation*.

76. For their part, the PCI and PCF predicted publicly that the change in US administrations would bring ao| official US opposition to European Communism, and both parties have sought to capitalise politically on this perceived fchift in US policy and even to exaggerate it. They continue to oppose major US foreign policies, but theiris tempered by awareness of French and especially Italian nood foe US support and their own hopes ofthemselves with the US.

m

PCI understands the key role played by the US and West Germany in the IMF loans to Italy, while French Socialists have repeatedly sought assurances of US economic neutrality, if not support,eft government atsumes power.

"-PCJ Secretary Berlinguer has shown someof tho value of NATO to Italy and to the PCI's interests. In France, the Socialists' Mitterrand is reportedly concerned by the Soviet military buildup in Eastern Europe and hasche need for the US strategic umbrella.

Communists were reminded of theof detente for their domestic political success when the SALT deadlock in Moscow raised the fear of revived Cold War tensions in Europe; detenteecessary condition for success of the present strategy of the PCP and the PCI.

government initiatives cn human rights,dissent in the Soviet Union, have placed the PCP and PCI on the defensive at home.

77. At tho recent London Summit, European leaders were generally reassured by the elements of continuity in OS policy toward Europe; thu new administrations' commitment to close consultations with its European allies was particularly to them. Its explicit recognition of European and American interdependence, coupledreater willingness to accipt different national economic and politicalenhanced the climate of mutual understanding. urope considered by many to berucial political and economic "rossroads, the promiseore flexible US approach to European economic and political problems was sufficient for the lack of agreement on specific courses of action to solve these problems.

The Italian Communist Party

A. Some Facts and Figures

Membership:

Voting Strengthi The PCI has been Italy's second largest partyhen it6 percent. (The Christian Democrats have remained in first place throughout the postwar period,igh point5 percent8 andaroundoercent in moet elections since then. The DC7 percent in6 parliamentaryhe PCI has increased its share of the vote in eveiy national olection The PCI's sharpest gains came inregionali-ctiOBi her> the party4 percent. These gains wore consolidated at the national level in< contest when the PCIf the vote. The PCI and DC are thus only about 4first tine that the two parties have been separated by less thanoints.

Parliamentary Strengthi The PCIeats in the Chamber of Deputies (out) comparedor the Christian Democrats;eats in the Senate (out ofomparedor the Christian Democrats.

Strength in Labor Movement: The PCI exerts predominant influence in the largest of Italy's three major labor the CGIL, which hasillion members. The PCI has closewo-thirds majority in thegoverning council.

Socioeconomic Composition of PCI Electorate (comparable figures for the Christian Democrats in parentheses): workers and farm laborers,6 percentkilled workers, farmers,8 percenthite collar workers, shopkeepers, artisans, small businessmen,8 percentercent); businessmen, executives,8 percentercent).

B. Evolution ot Party Strategy

The PCI amorgod froa th* war years with considerable domestic strongth, due in large part to its leading role in tho resistance movement against German occupation forces in central and northern Italy. Together with the five other antifascist parties, the Communists3 formed theof National Liberation and participatederies of coalition governments formed4 between the Christian Democrats and Communists increased with the onset of the Cold War, and7 the PCI was ejected from the cabinet.

During its years in opposition, debate in the party over how best tohare of power centered on two divorse and conflicting strategies:

--One school of thought envisioned the gradual spread of Communist influence by gathering converts from other leftist group* up to and including the left wing of the Christian Democratic Party.

other school argueddialogue with tho

n the assumption that the country's social and economic problems are so immense as toombined assault by tho two principal forces in Italian socioty. The general understanding ofourse was that the dialogue would not be carried on with tho Christiantyhole, but rather with Christian Democratic left-wingers and with the less defined "Catholic masses."

Enrico Berlinguer, elected PCI secretary general five years ago, anchored party strategy firmly to the latter course with his proposal3 for an "historic compromise" mainly his party and tho Christian Democrats, but open to tlie Socialists as well. Although Borlinguer's strategy is rootedn old communist idea, it is innovative in two important respects:

it plocos che emphasis on working out an agreement with the Christian Democratic Partyhole and not just its loft wing.

proposal rofloctcd Berlinguer's conclusion, based largely on an analysis of Allcndc's fall, that Italy

ET

could not be governed against an alienated middle class, even if the left1 percent majority. In Berlinguer's view, "unity of the leftecessary butufficient condition" for effectivein Italy.

Berlinguer has implemented his strategy by emphasizing policies designed to neutralize anti-Communist sentiment in the Christian Democratic Party, in other key sectors of Italian society, and among Italy's allies. These policies havecontributed to the party's sharp electoral gains, which have givenivotal position in the Italian parliament. The Christian Democrats, at odds with their traditionalpartners, have thus been forced to rely on Communist abstention ln parliament in order to govern. Consistent with his gradualist approach, Berlinguer is now pushing for an agreement that would permit the PCI to join in amajorityovernment rather than merely abstaining. He presumably believes that would set the stage for Communist participation in tho cabinet.

Berlinguer's strategy appears to be working, but he stillumber of formidable problems, among them:

increasing discontent among the PCI rank and file, as the party's growing involvement in the governing process forces it to mako choices that sometimes have negative repercussions for the party's supporters;

continuing reluctance of the Christian Democrats to violate their campaign pledges byecisive step toward PCI admission to the cabinet; and

among many Italians about the implications for Italian democracyoverning coalition that would command close to BO percent of the soots in par1lament.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA