From a Rome Correspondent
The "historic cornpromise" — meaning a Communist and Christian Democratic compromise which would be historic if it ever came about — is once again a very hot political issue in Italy.
Fresh polemics, sparked off by Italy's worst post-war economic crisis and the threat of high unemployment, have exploded over the possibility of Communist Party collaboration in the government, which has been led by the Christian Democratic Party since the end of the 1939-45 war.
This new confrontation between Democratic and Communist leaders has been further aggravated by a curious historic coincidence. The Christian Democrats and the Cornmunists are both marking anniversaries of their most famous leaders.
For the Christian Democratic Party it is the 20th anniversary of Alcide de Gaspari's death. For the Italian Communist Party it is the 10th anniversary of Palmiro Togliatti's death in Yalta.
De Gaspari led the Christian Democrats to political triumph in the immediate post-war constitutional and parliamentary elections. He assured his party of an absolute majority in senate and chamber which it held for 15 years.
Togliatti, a hard-line Communist exile in Moscow during, the Mussolini era, reversed they party's traditional Stalinist stance to a soft and subtle line.. The Communist Party now follows that same line, and moos the Italian electorate as a non-revolutionary party. The idea of an "historic compromise" was launched by .Enrico Berlinguer, the Communist Party secretary, about five years ago at a national party congress. But he made one stipulation. There would have to be "radical changes" within the Christian Demdcratic Par
ty. He confessed as late as two months ago that they "have not occurred."
Com muni-s-t interest and Communist Party pressures were revived by a remark made by a Christian Democratic deputy, Giovanni Galloni, during a mid-August parliamentary debate on emergency economic measures. The Communists, said Galloni, were "potentially" a government party.
Although Galloni's faction, the so-called Basisti or "base" group, contols only 10 per cent of the party's national congress, Galloni's words were seized on by the Communist Party.
The "historic compromise" revival was further encouraged by Enrico Manea, a Socialist Party central committee member, who proposed that Christian Democrats, Socialists and Communists should form coalition administrations in regional, provincial and municipal councils.
This aroused a storm of protest from the Social Democrats, the third memberparty of the present governmental coalition along with the Christian Democratic and Socialist Parties, Protest also came from the Republican Party, which supports the coalition in parliament.
Amintore Fanfani, the Christian Democratic Party secretary, a veteran senator several times and Premier, has moved to plug any possible opening. He published — in the party's official newspaper, 11 Papilla, a list of reasons for not listening to the Communists.
He did not rule out greater co-operation in the future. He merely listed arguments against the move and emphasised that this would have to be endorsed !
by a national ongress — as was the .,agreeme t to pro to a Vottengstir pr oilitiiirt. tit. Ihril and endorsed by such a congress in 1962.
F g raoi wilAie041144 achtplii ' F g raoi wilAie041144 achtplii '
collaboration the Christian Democrats would lose ground, Allies would be alienated and, in effect, the party would be negating the votes of 39 per cent of the electorate who had entrusted it with opposition to the Communists.
He reiterated the party's earlier rejection of such a "compromise," and said a political economic and social upheaval would ensue. He expressed doubt about any "substantial compensating advantages" from the compromise.
Flaminio Piccoli, former Christian Democratic Party secretary and now chief Chamber of Deputies majority leader, was even blunter: "The Communists want to begin a dialogue with our party on a 'historic compromise' to which once again we reply with our firm 'No.—
He continued: "My reply is based on ideological differences and not on political tactics. At the present moment we see no other government formula than the coalition of Christian Democrats, Socialists, Social Democrats and Republicans."
The Italian Communist Party is the strongest political force in the country's trade union movement, whose co-operation -or at least lack of opposition — is needed to overcome pressing economic difficulties. Widespread further strikes would prevent urgently-needed increases in the production of export goods. Italy's biggest industrialist, Giovanni Agnelli, of the giant Fiat motor company, gave a warning early this month that Italy would soon be drawn out of the Western orbit if the Communist Party were given a role in government. Despite pressures moving the Christian Democrats an the
Italian it rt would e hasty to conclu e that the "historic compromise" leented .Vr i . 5 ik 11.