• Short Summary

    With less than two weeks to go to the Italian general elections, Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinguer has declared his party independent of Soviet Communism.

  • Description

    LV INT Berlinguer (right) talking to newsman

    CU Berlinguer speaking during interview

    REPORTER: "So what is the relationship now between you and the Russian Communist Party? Is there still that bond of steel that you predecessors talk about?"

    BERLINGUER: "You speak of rights but in reality it is not a legal matter. Our independence is simply a fact. It's not just a boast. We have followed and we are still trying to follow a way towards socialism in Italy which fully corresponds to the peculiarities and the characteristics of our country. So this is what makes us independent and gives us the capacity to develop in our own way as a Communist Party. But owing to the long established Russian traditions, the backwardness on which socialism had to be built, the lack of democratic tradition as well as the mistakes made in the development of Communism there are some political controls which limit freedom. We recognise that fact, we criticise it and we assert very clearly that our way is a different way."

    REPORTER: "Didn't you yourself say only four years ago that 'it would be a grave error to renounce our fundamental demands for italy's withdrawal from the Atlantic pact and the withdrawal of American bases from Italy'. It doesn't sound to me as if you would be a very strong supporter on NATO were you in government again."

    BERLINGUER: "Well I wouldn't say that we are even now supporters of NATO in the sense of being enthusiasts of NATO. It's true that there's been a change because at the start we thought that the confrontation of the two different military blocs in Europe was a negative factor. Then things changed. There was a new move towards detente and international cooperation which grew in strength despite the existence of the two blocs. Paradoxically, one of those paradoxes which history is full of, the balance of power between the two blocs became the very thing that made detente possible. So this is one of the reasons who our policy has changed. The fact is that having the Communists sharing power in government would not upset the strategic balance of power. Or course we understand that people want to be reassured about Italy. But from every point of view I think the West would have everything to gain from an italy where the economy was recovering and where the political situation was at last more stable."

    In Paris last Thursday (3 June) Signor Berlinguer insisted that only the participation of this party could give Italy a government with the moral and political authority to tackle the crisis facing the country. Addressing a mass rally of French Communists Signor Berlinguer pleaded support for the fundamental principles of democracy, emphasising that he wanted Italy to make a positive contribution to Europe. At the moment Italy is governed by a caretaker government of the Christian Democrats under former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The Christian Democrats have been in power since 1943 but since that time there have been 35 changes of government.

    Initials BB/1655


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: With less than two weeks to go to the Italian general elections, Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinguer has declared his party independent of Soviet Communism. Speaking to BBC interviewer Richard Lindley, Signor Berlinguer said socialism in Italy would cater for the country's own peculiarities and pledged support for the fundamentals of democracy.

    SYNOPSIS: Signor Berlinguer stated his party's views in Rome on Saturday.

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