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Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.

Confidential chat with Count Umberta,   pp. 104-105 PDF (499.3 KB)

Page 105

The Royal Palace is a lovely building reflecting the grandeur
of antiquity. Prince Umberta is a man of about 45 and thin. His
face reflects a sad attitude. Speaking perfect Oxford English, he
was entirely willing to talk with us off the record, and said it
would be excellent for our Government to publicize amongst the
Italian people the good features of our democracy, and offset the
Russians who have so much opportunity to reflect continually
in the press the benefits of collectivism, as is now the case.
The Prince, off the record, told us about many important po-
litical undercurrents in Italy.
He stated he would gladly step down if that is what his people
wish; that though he had been trained from childhood to rule his
people, personally he preferred the quiet of civilian rather than
public life. He wanted, however, to do what was right for his peo-
ple as they were then poorly fed and clothed.
He stated there were 22,000,000 eligible voters in Italy of which
there were only 2,000,000 registered eligible for voting at the next
election. The people of Italy, he said, were frightened to go to the
polls. Dominated by Fascism for 17 years, they were fearful of
hart to their persons if they went and voted as they felt. They
mrust be trained in the ways of democracy and it would take time,
patience and perseverance on the part of our Army officials.
Prisoners of war, he thought, should come home before an elec-
tion was held.
The Italian people, the Prince said, were saying, "Mussolini
gave kilos of macaroni per week; under the democracy of the
Americans we are getting nothing." He reflected the sentiment
General Keyes expressed to me at Salzburg. The nation that feeds
the Italians will have the Italians.
One of the members of the Prince's household said forcefully
that the Americans should not leave Italy-that the "brains" of
our Army, if only in skeleton force, should stay to maintain law
and order; that if our Army departed they were intensely fearful
of Communism.

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