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October 30, 1956

Cable from Italian Communist leader Togliatti on Imre Nagy's Hungary

Hungarian events have created a heavy situation inside the Italian labor movement, and in our Party, too.

The gap between [Secretary General of the Italian Socialist Party Pietro] Nenni and ourselves that seemed to be closing after our initiatives is now rudely and suddenly acute. Nenni's position on Polish events coincides with that of the Social Democrats. In our Party, one can see two polarized and inappropriate positions. On one extreme there are those who declare that the responsibility for what happened in Hungary is due to the abandoning of Stalinist methodology. At the other extreme are those groups who are accusing the Party leadership of not taking a position in favour of the insurrection in Budapest and who claim that the insurrection was justly motivated and should have been fully supported. These groups firmly insist that the entire leadership of our Party be replaced, and they believe [Italian trade union leader Giuseppe] Di Vittorio should become the new Party leader. They are based on a declaration of Di Vittorio that did not correspond to the Party line and was not approved by us. We are going to fight against these two opposing positions and the Party will not give up the battle.

Although I assure you that Hungarian events have developed in a way that render our clarifying action in the Party very difficult, it also makes it difficult to obtain consensus in favour of the leadership. When we defined the revolt as counterrevolutionary, we had to face the fact that our position was different from that of the Hungarian Party and of the Hungarian Government, and now it is the same Hungarian Government that is celebrating the insurrection. I think this is wrong. My opinion is that the Hungarian Government--whether Imre Nagy remains its leader or not--is going irreversibly in a reactionary direction. I would like to know if you are of the same opinion or if you are more optimistic. I would like to add that among the leaders of our Party there are worries that Polish and Hungarian events could damage the unity of the leadership of your Party Presidium, as was defined by the 20th [CPSU] Congress.

We are all thinking if this occurs, the consequences could be very serious for the entire movement."

Cable from Togliatti to Soviet leadership expressing worries that Hungary under Nagy is moving in a reactionary direction that could damage unity of leadership of the Party


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