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Soviet and Yugoslav Officers
Reported Settling in Italy By Constantine Brown Star Foreign Affairs Analyst ROME (By Mail) .—Russian and Yugoslav officers, camouflaged as business representatives, are known to have settled in many Northern Italian cities, such as Milan, Turin, Florence and Genoa. Using import or export businesses as window dressing, they are known to be in close touch with Commu nist headquarters and are prepar ing for the day when American troops leave and the signal is given to the Communists to undertake an active campaign for power. Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito has concentrated a sizable force on Italy’s borders. He has no inten tion of doing anything as long as there is even a thin curtain of American forces in Italy and as long as the Communists in Italy are merely agitating without using di rect action. But many prominent Italians and foreigners believe that Northern Italy, with its large and modern industries which suffered little damage from the war, is cov eted by the Slavic bloc. Militarily Northern Italy is of paramount importance for the U. S. S. R. and her satellites. They want to establish direct contact between Trieste and Genoa and thus reach the French border. Any military aggression, such as an invasion of Italy, seems to be precluded because the United Na tions would react immediately. But If Palmiro Togliatti’s party decides that "democratic Northern Italy” must break away from the "reac tionary and royalist” south, the •ituatlon might become very serious. Italy became a united country less than 100 years ago. Before that it was divided into small states which frequently fought each other. Polit ical observers here say it would not be difficult for a well organized group under the orders of a foreign power to divide the Italian republic again. And it might be in order for a newly organized government m Muan or runn to asa tne Yugo slav government to come to its aid In breaking away from the “reac tionary” south. This may seem far-fetched at the present time, but it is a matter which is being seriously discussed in many Italian and foreign quar ters. The fact is that the Italian government has no means at Its disposal to deal adequately with any threat to the nation. The Italian police force is weak and demoralized. So is the army, which is composed at the present time of only seven divisions, strewn the length and breadth of the country. The Italian Army and police combined in Northern Italy would make a very poor showing against the well organized and well equipped Communist groups trained in guerrilla strategy. The tragic economic conditions which prevail in Italy are playing into the hands of the Communists. The fear of what will happen to morrow results in stagnation of Italy’s economic life. People still work hard to obtain a meal a day for themselves and their families. 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