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Enrico Mattei



Enrico Mattei (1906-1962) is a key figure on the post-war political scene. A Partisan during the war of Liberation, after the end of the war he became Special Commissioner of Agip, with the task of liquidating this State industry created under Fascism and in complete collapse.

Mattei inaugurated a new economic policy and a new kind of relationship with the oil-producing countries, leading to a vast development of the industry. He stated: the policy of American monopoly is over.

The new political situation in the oil-producing countries makes possible a new system, based on direct agreements between oil-producing countries and oil-consuming countries. He died in an air crash the causes of which are still obscure.

The friendship between La Pira and Mattei was always close, from the latter’s intervention in favour of the Pignone to their action in common with regard to the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Following Mattei’s tragic death (in many ways not yet completely explained) La Pira determined to give him a solemn commemoration in Florence. On that occasion he gave a speech which in some ways synthesizes the “philosophy” behind their parallel action:

The relations between Mattei and Florence must be seen in this historical context, in this historical perspective; because it was here in Florence that he held the decisive “meetings” (the first and the last) of “his” policy.

Here, in fact, in 1957 he met Mohammed V (the first decisive meeting of his “Mediterranean policy”), and here on 4 October of this year of 1962 he met Senghor. And this was Mattei’s last political encounter, the overarching vault, as it were, of a great building which has its foundations in every continent (…)

Whether he went to Peking (regarding the Ravenna phosphates) or to Moscow (the Pignone tubing), to Persia or to Cairo (bringing concrete help and hope to the Egyptian people and all the Arab peoples at the most dramatic and unpredictable moment in their history, in 1957), to Rabat or to Algiers (what concrete hope for the Algerian people!), to Latin America or Africa or India, he always had one ideal historical, political and economic point of reference, and that was Florence.