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Seeking means to ingratiate themselves with Benito Mussolini, certain zealous Italians have founded the Action Committee for the Universality of Rome. Their grandiose gospel amounts to identifying 20th Century Fascism prophetically with the ancient Pax Romano, and its glories. Frankly pleased, Orator Mussolini now often indulges in verbal orgies about the Universality of Rome, but as a practical, pragmatic ruler Premier Mus solini knows exactly where the U. of R. stops today, namely, at Italy’s frontiers. With characteristic prudence, II Duce did not permit his Fascist Party to be represented in Montreux, Switzerland last week at the first World Conference of Pax Romanizers. President of the Action Committee is hopeful Fascist Eugenio Coselschi, devoutly anxious to be considered Dictator Benito Mussolini’s intimate friend. To mild Montreux (“warmest winter resort in Switzerland”) went as his guests the leaders of vaguely Fascist groups in France, the Netherlands, the Irish Free State, Rumania, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. No delegate showed up to represent Adolf Hitler. Moreover, two of II Duce’s most ardent foreign disciples, Austria’s Prince Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg and Britain’s Sir Oswald Mosley, also stayed away. At Fascist Headquarters in Rome hangs a full-length portrait of Sir Oswald — the only foreign Fascist so honored. His absence from Montreux last week amounted to notice from II Duce that the Pax Romanizers will have to achieve something concrete and meritorious before they can consider them selves one with Benito Mussolini. Last week the Montreux Conference first achieved a minor mess.

No sooner had Italy’s Coselschi commenced to orate, as President of the Conference, upon the Universality of Rome than Norwegian Nazi Vidkun Quisling, onetime Defense Minister, jumped up to bark: “Why don’t we talk about the Universality of Berlin? Adolf Hitler is just as much an exponent of Fascism as Benito Mussolini!”

Retorted President Coselschi: “Rome stands through all history for the Ideal State: authority created by Roman Law!” From that moment the cleavage between Nazi and Fascist, between Hitler and Mussolini was clear, and the Conference was in for an initial squabble.

“Rats & Vermin!” Dynamite at the Conference was Rumania’s wild-eyed little Jan Motza, a leader of the Iron Guard which is Fascist in the loosest meaning of the term. “I come from a prison full of vermin and rats!” dramatically announced the Iron Guardsman. “Yes, my Fascist friends, from vermin and rats!”

Rumania put Motza away for four months among vermin and rats after his Guard assassinated Premier Ion Duca (TIME, Jan. 8), announcing that next upon their list is “the Jewish whore” (see p. 22) and threatening even her keeper, the King. Murdered Premier Duca’s closest colleague in statecraft was Rumania’s present Foreign Minister, suave, cultured Nicholas Titulescu, also marked for assassination at some convenient time by the Iron Guard. Last week M. Titulescu, who had nothing to do with the Conference, happened to be dining at a smart Montreux hotel when he saw M. Motza enter the room. In deadly fear Rumania’s Foreign Minister leaped from his table, bolted out of the room, while Terrorist Motza sat down to his dinner with the mien of a lion.

That night, upon M. Titulescu’s urgent and jittery demand, Swiss detectives searched M. Motza’s baggage, were astonished to find no bombs, no lethal weapons. Next day at luncheon Foreign Minister Titulescu made what he considered a triumphant reentry, marching in with his arm upraised in mock Fascist salute while other lunchers snickered.

At the Conference the Iron Guardsman postulated, and clung to his point that every Gentile ought to ask himself in dead earnest what is his attitude toward the Jews. It is M. Motza’s contention that if the issue is ever thus faced results will be stupendous. With a tenacity maddening to President Coselschi and General O’Duffy, who fought against facing the issue, the Rumanian, Danish and Swiss delegates chorused: “We must discuss the Jews! We must discuss the Jews!! WE MUST DISCUSS THE JEWS!!!”

“State Within State.” Finally a compromise was achieved. The Conference unanimously resolved that “the Jewish question cannot be converted into a universal campaign of hatred against the Jews.” Not even discussed were such notorious libels upon Jewry as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. But the first World Conference for Pax Romanizing adopted this further resolution, phrased with care for Gentile scrutiny: “Considering that in many places certain groups of Jews are installed in conquered countries, exercising in an open and occult manner an influence injurious to the material and moral interests of the country which harbors them, constituting a sort of state within a state, profiting by all benefits and refusing all duties, considering that they have furnished and are inclined to furnish, elements conducive to international revolution which would be destructive to the idea of patriotism and Christian civilization, the Conference denounces the nefarious action of these elements and is ready to combat them.”

Eternal Need— Admittedly this resolution was a compromise, and the Conference amply demonstrated that no one thing yet exists which can be called Fascism with any precision of idea, but the Conference did achieve one utter unity. Every delegate of whatever Fascist complexion urged all men who are not Communists to realize the basic sol idarity of their interests, as opposed by Communism. The Conference welkin rang as delegate after delegate recalled that the Communist Parties of all countries have a common war base and secretariat (The Third International) for fomenting the World revolution of the World Proletariat.

“Is it not clear,” cried President Coselschi as the Conference adjourned, to meet next year in Scandinavia, “that there is urgent need for the propagation of what we are proud to call the Universality of Rome? The need is eternal, but never more acute than now!”

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