ITALY: The Montesi Affair

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The Montesi affair was Premier Scelba's problem, and he faced up to it. The day after his confirmation he summoned Police Chief Pavone for a long night session, told him grimly that the government of Italy, and not the Communists, was going to break the Montesi case wide open. It did not matter who was hurt. Next morn ing Pavone resigned. Foreign Minister Pic cioni sent his resignation to Scelba, and it seemed likely that Scelba would accept it. Scelba appointed Minister Without Portfolio Raffaele de Caro, a Liberal, to make a full investigation, ordered Montagna's passport lifted, and an investi gation of Montagna's income-tax returns. Montagna, silent up till then, threatened to start talking. "I may cause the end of the world," he pouted.

More revelations and embarrassments were almost certain to come. But before it ended, the scandal might turn out to be a boon and a tonic for sorely beset Italy. As they went about their beats this week, the carabinièri were applauded in the streets by Italians who appreciated that they had walked where other police feared to tread. "I promise to do all in my power," vowed Premier Scelba, "to clear away this shady, suspicious atmosphere that is hanging over us." Nothing could better help democracy in Italy pass from sickness into health.

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