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date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Gianni Agnelli and Enrico Mattei both influenced Italian foreign policy. As manager of ENI, the national petroleum company, Mattei promoted deals with third world countries. At times these deals troubled the Americans. In particular, Mattei concluded an oil deal with the USSR in the late 1950s, opening up the Russian market for Italian industry. Italian diplomats eventually persuaded the US to accept the deal, arguing it favored the thawing of relations between East and West. Agnelli acted as Italy’s unofficial ambassador to the US, leveraging his political and business contacts to reinforce the relationship between Italy and the US, and assuaging American fears over Mattei’s or FIAT’s own activities. In particular, Agnelli was instrumental in 1976, reassuring the US that the entrance of the Communists in government would not prejudice Italy’s foreign policy.

Keywords: Gianni Agnelli, Enrico Mattei, foreign policy, ENI, USSR, FIAT

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