North America, and Piero Parini, director of the Fascist Party outside of Italy.
Repeatedly Tresca assailed Pope, in print and in public speeches, as the chief propagandist for Mussolini in the United States, and after September, 1941, as an "ex-Fascist" whose real beliefs had not changed despite his lofty expressions of Americanism and regard for democracy. In Il Martelo for October 28, 1934, Tresca devoted most of his front page (then full newspaper size) to a denunciation of the publisher of Il Progresso in both Italian and English. That page included an open letter to the editors of all New York City papers and several periodicals, headed: Generoso Pope Attempts to Censor Anti-Fascists by Terrorism. It told of an alleged assault upon one of Pope's editors because of his activity in the Newspaper Guild; of the same characters forcing a former Pope employee to discontinue publication of La Tribuna, also a daily; and of the same men beating up the publisher of a weekly and compelling him "to accept Pope's terms against the advice of his legal counsel."
Continuing on the subject of La Stampa Libera, Tresca's open letter said: "In the City of New York today, the editor of a newspaper is in constant danger of physical attack, perhaps of death (our italics) at the hands of underworld characters who disapprove, or represent others who disapprove, this editor's political views!... An attempt is being made to inaugurate in the Italian colony in the United States the same political regime in the press as prevails today in Mussolini's Italy!"
Extensive search has failed to find a record of any answer by Pope to Tresca's charges.
From 1934 to the time of his death, Tresca found frequent occasion to criticize the millionaire publisher in his columns and on the public platform. For Pope was long closely associated with officials and business and professional men who were enthusiastic over the Mussolini program. He was a large factor in collecting neary $750,000 for Italian war relief while Mussolini's soldiers were mowing down poorly armed Ethiopians. On June 13, 1936, at a Fascist mass-meeting in Madison Square Garden celebrating Italy's victory in that war, Pope spoke of Mussolini as "the greatest man in the world." Subsequently Pope was received in private audience by Il Duce in Rome, and at Mussolini's bidding was decorated by Count Ciano with the title of Commander of the Order of Sts. Maurice and Lazarus. As late as 1941 the Mazzini Society asked the Department of Justice to investigate Pope in connection with Fascist fund-raising activities.
The Making of an Ex-Fascist
In the spring of 1941, Pope was advertising himself as an exponent of democracy. At that time, as the international situation grew more tense, he was named by Mayor LaGuardia as a member of a committee to arrange public demonstrations for I Am An American Day.