From a Special Correspondent
ITALY'S Prime Minister, Signor Alcide De Gasperi, who is coming to London soon with his Foreign Minister, Count Sforza, on an official visit, works on the theory that the Sermon on the Mount is not only the best but also the most practical basis of government. And he begins every day by assisting at Mass.
This calm, hard working statesman has had an adventurous career.
He was born in Trent on April 3, 1881, when that part of Italy was still part of the Austrian Empire.
At the age of 24 he was chosen as editor of he newspaper Num° Trentino, which achieved remarkable success under his direction.
At 30, he was elected a member of the Austrian Parliament.
After the first World War he was acclaimed president of the Italian Popular Party, founded by Don Luigi Sturzo, and he continued to serve on the executive of the party as long as it existed.
Worked in Vatican
In 1921 he was elected to the Italian Parliament and was immediately chosen as the leader of the party's parliamentary group. After Mussolini had come to power he was arrested and sentenced to four years' imprisonment because of his antiFascist opinions.
Later he obtained an appointment in the Vatican Library and there he remained until the liberation of Rome in 1943.
Immediately afterwards he was chosen as the first secretary of the newly-formed Christian Democratic Party, and was a member of the Cabinet in all the Governments formed after the fall of Fascism, becoming Prime Minister for the first time in December, 1945.
Signor De Gasperi guided Italy through the very difficult days when Communism constituted a very real threat to Italy.
Since the astounding victory of the Christian Democrats at the general election of April, 1948, he has continued with calm and masterly prudence to lead Italy on the road of sound moral and material reconstruction.
When he was employed in the Vatican Library he lived in a modest apartment nearby. He still lives there, showing no desire to change his simple and modest way of life.
His day always begins with an early Mass. and his deep faith and solid. virile piety have been an inspiring example to all the people of Italy. Even his bitterest political enemies have never dared to challenge his personal integrity. One of his daughters recently entered a convent in Rome and another is at present studying in a convent school in England.