Yuri Ivanovich







INT: Do you think the Marshall aid in retrospect had a lasting effect on Fiat?

GA: It surely speeded up the recovery and speeding up the recovery surely does have an effect. Then, it gave us a certain amount of relationship with Washington, with the official side of Washington, we worked again with the Bank of America in a big way, yes it did have an effect, surely. Let us say, Atlanticising the Fiat outlook on the world.

INT: Right. Can we cut there.


INT: So... Sorry. Perhaps I could just ask the question, did the Marshall aid have an effect on the type of cars produced by Fiat?

GA: Actually, what happened is the late forties and the early fifties were the years when we produced tiny cars, mini-cars let's say, but that is because the population was very poor and it was their first step towards getting to a motor car and that coincided with the years when the Marshall Plan aid was more effective, but it... there was no meaning between one and the other, just a contemporary meaning.

INT: Right, I'd like to move on to ask you about the 1948 as well, obviously a very important election year and election campaign in the history of post-Italy. What... in your view, what was the extent of the Communist threat to Italy in 1948?

GA: Well, the Communists at that moment were very strong in Italy and the Italian Communist Party was the biggest Communist Party outside Soviet Union, there's no doubt about that. It was very well led by a man called Tolliarti, who had been a very important man in the international Comintern in Moscow and that election could have been a touch and go election between Italy staying on one side of the world or the other side of the world. But it's difficult for me to say so, but I have got the impression that the Communists knew that after Yalta, Italy did not belong to that sphere and it would much prefer having a political success and being the leaders of the opposition for many years after, than eventually winning the election and have a military intervention like happened in Greece just before. I believe that we were very, very lucky that it went that way, but I don't think that the Communists tried all the way through, because it would not have been allowed for them to take power, the was the American position for us, there was obviously the Vatican in Italy and all the religious positions for us and there was Yalta that had divided the world in these two pieces, these two blocs.

INT: What would have been the effect on business like Fiat had there been a Communist victory in 1948?

GA: Well, I think a disaster. I mean, if it had been a victory and if it had gone over in the eastern part of the world, a disaster. I mean, you do see in Italy and like Czechoslovakia in our time. I mean, we saw what happened there. And Czechoslovakia in 1939 was a very advanced industrial country.

INT: And what would have been the effect on Italy as a whole, do you think, had the country become part of the Communist bloc?

GA: Well, I think... first of all I think it would have been a tragedy for Italy, I think it would have been a tragedy for Europe, I think it would have been a tragedy for the Mediterranean and it would have been a set-back for America and I don't think it was conceivable after the Yalta Pact.

INT: Right. Thank you very much. Let's cut there. Thank you...


INT: So, can I just ask you finally, Signor Agnelli, to sum up for me how you think overall the... the overall effect of the Marshall Plan and Marshall aid on Italy?

GA: Well, in Italy and on most of Europe, but surely for what concerns Italy, the Marshall Plan was the first step towards an approach, an Atlantic policy which brought to the NATO, which brought for us after to the European Community, it was integration towards the West.

INT: Right and cut.


INT: Signor Agnelli, again, perhaps I could ask you to reflect on the long-term meaning of Marshall aid to Western Europe.

GA: In those years, I mean, the immediate post-War years, the whole of Europe was in a recession. So first of all, it helped us step out of a recession, it gave a certain amount of speed to the economy, but that was the first step. The second real step was that it approached this European Community on the whole to United States and it bought us towards what after has been considered the Atlantic community, it brought towards NATO and it bought the Europeans countries towards a European integration to be closer to each other in this considering the Atlantic Ocean like a lake, like a common lake and a common property.

INT: Very good and thank you. Cut.