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Albert Gates

Tresca Murderer Still at Large

(June 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 24, 14 June 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

June 11 will mark the sixth month since Carlo Tresca, noted figure in the labor movement for many years and a fighting anti-fascist, was murdered by hired assassins. The murder was well planned and simply executed.

On the night of January 11 [1], Tresca and a companion waited in the office of his newspaper, Il Martello, for a meeting which did not materialize. He left the office at Fifth Avenue and 15th Street in New York City, crossed the street and then was assailed by a gunman, who fired two shots into him and rushed away in an automobile which was there for the purpose of a get-away.

The automobile was found abandoned a short distance from the scene of the murder. Shortly afterward the New York City police arrested one Carmine Galarite, an ex-convict out on parole. Galante’s parole officers observed him entering the car which was later found near the scene of the murder. Cross-examination of this ex-convict disclosed that his alibis were all shaken, but no confession was obtained. It was obvious to the police and to all familiar with such incidents that this ex-convict was a hireling for some powerful forces.

From the time of the arrest of Galante until now, no progress has been made in the case. The police and the district attorney’s office pursue this case as they would any ordinary murder case, overlooking the fact that this was a political murder. As a political assassination, the forces behind the murder are unquestionably well organized and the murder planned in such a manner as to circumvent police methods. Some weeks ago, Walter Winchell, the nation’s snooper, wrote that the powerful individuals involved in the Tresca murder made it certain that the ease would never be solved! Does Winchell know anything about it? Does he have any information which could lead to an indictment of the real culprits?

Shortly after the Winchell item, the New York Mirror, in a lead story, declared that the Tresca case would be broken very shortly, and the murderers and their employers brought to justice. But nothing has happened.

Rumors point sharply in the direction of Generoso Pope, publisher and editor of the Italian daily, Il Progresso Americano. Pope was for many years America’s leading spokesman for Mussolini and the Italian fascist regime. He was one of the outstanding opponents of the American anti-fascist Italians. It is only since America’s entry into the war that Pope suddenly became an advocate of democracy and an enemy of fascism. It is only in recent months that he took full-page advertisements in the metropolitan papers decrying anti-Semitism, racialism, and fascism.

But in a pamphlet, The Tresca Case, by Ezio Taddei, we are given a great deal of information about Pope and his aides. There is Frank Garofalo, noted gangster and gunman, and an associate of Pope. He is a prime figure in the case. At an Italian-American War Bond banquet, Tresca refused to participate when he found that Pope was present with Garofalo and more of his friends.

Tresca openly denounced Garofalo at the banquet as a gangster and walked out. He was followed by Garofalo, who threatened to get Tresca for denouncing him in public. Garofalo was accompanied by an assistant attorney general, Dolores Faconti. When Tresca threatened to publish the whole history of Garofalo and Pope, this woman went to see him and begged him not to do it, warning Tresca that Garofalo would stop at nothing to prevent publication of the story. She even promised Tresca that she would break off all relations with Garofalo

According to Taddei, Tresca said; “This is serious. I’ve got to notify the FBI.” He then called Inspector Genco of the FBI and informed him of the incident. In two statements, Tresca is reported to have written: “If I’m murdered, look for Generoso Pope.”

As the case dragged on, Mrs. Tresca sought the intervention of the FBI, which was refused her. Her audience with Biddle resulted in nothing. The local police are getting nowhere. And the district attorney’s office proceeds in routine fashion.

Will the Tresca murder – a political assassination – go unsolved? On the face of things, this seems impossible. But already six months have gone by and no progress is recorded. Nor is there any promise that the next six months will witness a change in the progress of the case.

Footnote by ETOL

1. In the printed version this date is erroneously given as June 11.

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