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Who Killed Carlo Tresca

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Tresca now spoke out against Pope anew. In Il Martello, he charged that prior to Pope's appointment to that committee an official fraud had been committed in order to whitewash him. In the previous June, Police Commissioner Valentine had distributed to precinct commanders a confidential report on Fascist activities in New York City. The Times stated that this report gave "names of publications... that sponsor the Fascist movement and try to set one racial group against another."

"Truth, but not all the truth," Tresca said in front-page comment in Il Martello for May 14, 1941. "The truth is that that memorandum was put in the hands of Mayor LaGuardia, before it was given to Commissioner Valentine... and was doctored by LaGuardia himself. Mr. LaGuardia took pains to strike out from the memorandum any reference to Generoso Pope and his newspapers... Mr. Pope was described as a Fascist activist and his publications as the main source of Fascist propaganda in the United States. LaGuardia ordered all reference to Pope to be stricken out. I know of at least five references to Pope in that memorandum that were taken out."

Others, too, joined in criticizing Pope in the summer of 1941, and the pressure on him was so strong that in an editorial in Il Progresso on September 12 he declared that he was "against any government that is against the Government of the United States," and that he had taken a stand for this country "since the European war started and Italy and the United States definitely took sides in opposing camps." But Carlo Tresca naturally was skeptical about this change of attitude toward Fascism.

Pope's relation to the international scene, his political connections both in Washington and New York, and the effect of propaganda in his newspapers upon Italian-Americans, were discussed at length by Tresca and others at a meeting of the Mazzini Society's New York chapter on December 30, 1942. They sought ways to counteract his influence among the Italian-American masses. That was part of the work indicated to be done by the new anti-Fascist action committee, appointed that night, and of which Tresca was named as chairman. Tresca particularly sounded a warning of the possibility that forces in Washington might utilize Pope's followers to justify another Darlan affair in the future, and he called for intensified activity by the Mazzini Society "to nullify the maneuvers of certain political groups in Washington and of those elements who only recently became anti-Fascists."

The Incident at the Manhattan Club

Shortly after he was killed, some of his friends brought to the attention of the District Attorney's office an incident in which they saw a possible motive for some one doing harm to Tresca. This incident took place at an Italian-American war bond banquet arranged by Paolino Gerli, an importer, and held in the Manhattan Club on September 10, 1942. The story of what happened that evening has been set forth by Ezio Taddei in a pamphlet entitled The Tresca Case.

Invited among various other anti-Fascists, Tresca asked a member of the committee in charge whether Generoso Pope would be present.

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