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Declassified CIA study reveals Clare Boothe Luce's activities in Italy
The National Security Archive has released a CIA historical study covering U.S. policy towards Italy through 1953-56. Clare Booth Luce features prominently.

Quote:Declassified: How America Planned to Invade Italy, To Save It from Russia
As accusations fly that Russia manipulated the 2016 American election to put Donald Trump in the White House, some Americans are remembering that the United States also fiddled with elections in numerous nations during the Cold War, including Chile, Iran and Central America.

One of the most notorious examples is Italy, where the CIA mounted an aggressiveand successfulcampaign to limit Communist success in the 1948 election, including handing bags of money to conservative Italian political parties (a tradition hardly unknown in American politics). From 1948 to 1968, the CIA gave more than $65 million to Italian parties and labor unions.But instead of cash, the United States could have sent in the Marines to give Italy the government that America thought it deserved. As late as 1960, America was still contemplating using military force if the Communists took power. Of course, the United States would always have responded militarily if the Soviet Army invaded Italy during the Cold War. But note the difference: American intervention would have been prompted not by Soviet tanks, but rather if the Communists took power through a coupor by winning an election.

The details have emerged in a newly declassified Pentagon study released by the private watchdog organization, the National Security Archive.In 1954, the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged that if a Communist government took power in Italy, "the United States, preferably in concert with its principal Allies, should be prepared to take the strongest possible action to prevent such an eventuality, such action possibly extending to the use of military power."That position didn't suit President Dwight Eisenhower, whose World War II experiences as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe made him smarter than most about how to keep an alliance like NATO together. Eisenhower warned that he "could not imagine anything worse than the unilateral use by the United States of its forces to overthrow a Communist regime. This simply could not be done except in concert with our allies."Nonetheless, the National Security Council approved a paper that stated: "In the event the Communists achieve control of the Italian government by apparently legal means, the United States, in concert with its principal NATO allies, should take appropriate action, possibly extending to the use of military power, to assist Italian elements seeking to overthrow the Communist regime in Italy."Note the words "apparently legal means." Perhaps the attitude among American leaders during the Cold War was that "Communist government" and "legal" were oxymorons, and that no Communist government could have genuine legitimacy (which had certainly been the case of the Eastern European regimes that rode into office on the backs of Soviet tanks in 1945). Nonetheless, the U.S. Sixth Fleet would have performed the ultimate act of electoral nullification, by using force against a Communist Party thatas did happen in the 1940s and 1950senjoyed strong popular support.Even as late as August 1960, just months before John F. Kennedy took office, an NSC paper proposed that regardless of whether the Communists took power in Italy by illegal or legal means, the United States should be prepared to use military forceunilaterally if need beto "assist whatever Italian elements are seeking to prevent or overthrow Communist domination." This was fifteen years after the chaos and devastation of World War II. While Italy has never been known for stable governments, in 1960 it was not still the political and economic basket case under the rule of Allied military government.In the end, "Eisenhower and Dulles were willing to intervene militarily only if the Communists forcibly seized power and then only in concert with other European nations," concludes the study's author, Ronald Landa. And that was wise: as Eisenhower himself realized, U.S. tanks rolling into Romeor supporting right-wing Italians overthrowing their own governmentwould have been a propaganda godsend for the godless Communists in Moscow.All of which has nothing to do with the question of whether Russia influenced the U.S. election. Except as a reminder that political manipulation has been performed by many nations.

The National Security Archive details the document -

Quote:[B]CIA Covert Aid to Italy Averaged $5 Million Annually from Late 1940s to Early 1960s, Study Finds[/B]

[B]Previously Unpublished Draft Defense Department History Explores U.S. Policy toward Italy, Spotlights Role of Flamboyant Envoy, Clare Boothe Luce[/B]

[B]Despite Rhetoric, Eisenhower Was Not Prepared to Intervene Militarily to Block Communists Short of Forcible Seizure of Power, Study's Author Concludes[/B]

Washington, D.C. February 7, 2017 CIA covert aid to Italy continued well after the agency's involvement in the 1948 elections into the early 1960s averaging around $5 million a year, according to a draft Defense Department historical study published today for the first time by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

The study, declassified in 2016, focuses on the role of Clare Boothe Luce as ambassador to Italy, 1953-1957. In addition to overseeing a program of covert financial support to centrist Italian governments, she used the awarding of contracts under the Department of Defense Offshore Procurement Program to weaken the Italian Communist Party's hold on labor unions. The author concludes that the Eisenhower administration, faced with the possibility of civil war in Italy or the Communist Party coming to power legally, was "willing to intervene militarily only if the Communists seized power forcibly and then only in concert with other European nations."

Today's posted document was written by Dr. Ronald D. Landa, formerly with the State Department's Office of the Historian and the Historical Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. It is one of three drafts he prepared for the latter office that were intended as chapters in a monograph on United States policy toward Europe during the Eisenhower administration. Landa finished the drafts in 2011 and early 2012. Declassification review took another 3-4 years. Budgetary limitations prevented completion and publication of the book.

This posting and two subsequent ones--on United States policy leading to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and on its policy during the Hungarian Revolution--focus on issues with a military dimension not covered by volumes in the official series, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. They are of added interest given the author's access to classified U.S. records, although readers will notice that certain information has been redacted by U.S. Government reviewers. Dr. Landa also researched a variety of open materials, including the Central Intelligence Agency's CREST database, the Declassified Documents Reference System, the Digital National Security Archive, and British records at The National Archives in London.

The National Security Archive is grateful to Dr. Landa for making these draft studies available so they could become part of the ongoing scholarly exploration of the U.S. role in Europe during a critical phase of the Cold War.


My work as a historian at the State Department (1973-1987) and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (1987-2012) made me aware that U.S. efforts in the years after World War II to reduce the power of the Italian communist party, as well as other aspects of U.S. policy, were not adequately treated in the Foreign Relations of the United States volumes and other publications. I therefore tried to broaden the range of material researched, primarily by utilizing CIA records and by closely examining Clare Boothe Luce's extensive personal collection at the Library of Congress and records at the National Archives from her tenure as ambassador.

A correction is needed on page 2. Luce was the second, not the first, female member of the House Armed Services Committee. On page 53, I left open the question of whether her claim of suffering from lead poisoning was genuine or a hoax. The second volume of Sylvia Jukes Morris' biography, Price of Fame (2014), argues persuasively that it was genuine.
Ronald D. Landa

"Shots from a Luce Cannon": Combating Communism in Italy, 1953-1956

Draft historical study by Dr. Ronald D. Landa of U.S. policy toward Italy from 1953-1956
Very important history, above - but you will never find it in the MSM which is controlled in large degree by those who want to suppress such historical truths. William Blum's books go even further in detailing US meddling [a polite term] in 'throwing' elections in foreign countries by hook and by crook. The US has rarely been 'about' democracy - internally and externally. That said, Trumpf and his gang don't get a get-outta-jail-free card for the past. I don't know what their plans were and are for Russia, but suspect it has a lot more to do with money-making prospects than any geopolitical theory/motivations [of which they seem to have little]. I'm very skeptical that the Russians tried to influence the US elections in any illegal manner other than expressing their preference coyly. A good relationship between Russia and the USA would be a good thing, but it should be based on international law principles and ideals, and not on business deals for a few oligarchs in the respective countries. Remember too that election tampering goes on in the USA as well as our electoral interference in foreign we shouldn't point fingers without one pointing at our own history and even the elections held in the USA. Politics is mostly about lies, hypocrisy and the manipulation of the majority of the People, sadly.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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