ITALY: Battle of the Lira

The devaluation of the British pound also hit the Italian lira. The Italian cabinet had decided not to devalue the lira, which had already been drastically devalued two years ago, but to let it find its own level on a more or less free market. Forthwith the lira fell from 630 to more than 700 to the dollar. The Communists thereupon challenged Premier Alcide de Gasperi's government to parliamentary debate.

The government accepted the challenge. Said Treasury Minister Giuseppe Pella, who had just returned from Washington: "We have some excellent cards."

Antonio Pesenti, Communist economics expert, fired the first broadside in what...

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