The policy we shall follow as regards the country itself can be summed up in three words: economy, work and discipline. The financial problem is a fundamental one; the balancing of the State Budget must be accomplished as soon as possible by a regime of careful administration, intelligence in the use of money, the utilization of all the productive forces of the nation and the removal of the trappings of war. (Loud applause.) For further information as regards the financial question, which, though serious, is open to rapid improvement, I refer you to my colleague Tangorra, 1 who will give you information when the financial measures are discussed. He who talks of work, talks of the productive middle classes in the towns and in the country. It is not a question of privileges for the first or for privileges for the second, but of the safeguarding of all the interests which are in accordance with national production. The proletariat which works, and whose well-being concerns us, though not from weak demagogic motives, has nothing to fear, nothing to lose and everything to gain from a financial policy which preserves the balance of the State and prevents bankruptcy, which would have a disastrous effect, especially among the humbler classes. Our policy as regards emigration must free itself of an excessive “paternalism,” while, at the same time, an Italian Late Minister of Finance,
He who emigrates must know that his interests will be securely guarded by the representatives of his country abroad. The growth of the prestige of a nation in the world is in proportion to the discipline it shows at home. There is no doubt that the internal condition of the country has improved, but it is not yet as I should like to see it. I do not intend to indulge myself in easy optimism. I am no lover of Pangloss. In the big cities, and in all the towns in general, there is peace; instances of violence are sporadic and peripheral; but, at the same time, these also must cease. The citizens, no matter to what party they belong, shall have freedom of movement; all religions shall be respected, with particular regard to the dominant faith, Catholicism; statutory liberty shall not be infringed and the law shall be made to be respected at all costs!
The State is strong and will prove its power equally where all classes of citizens are concerned, including illegal Fascismo, because it would now be irresponsible illegality and without any justification. I must add, however, that almost all the Fascisti have submitted to the new order of things. The State does not mean to abdicate for anyone, and whoever opposes it must be punished. This explicit statement is a warning to all citizens, and I know will be particularly pleasing to the Fascisti, who have fought and won in order to have a State which would make itself felt in every direction with inexhaustible energy. It must not be forgotten that, besides the minority that represent actual militant politics, there are forty millions of excellent Italians who work, by their splendid birth-rate perpetuate our race, and who ask, and have the right to obtain, freedom from the chronic state of disorder which is the sure prelude to general ruin. Since sermons, evidently, are not enough, the State will put the army it has at its disposal in order by a process of selection and improvement.
The Fascista State will form a perfectly organized and united police force, of great mobility and with a high moral standard ; while the army and navy — glorious and dear to every Italian heart — withdrawn from the vicissitudes of Parliamentary politics, reorganized and strengthened, will represent the last reserve of the nation both at home and abroad.
Gentlemen, from the last communication issued you will learn what the Fascista programme is in detail with regard to each individual Ministry. I do not wish, as long as it is possible to avoid it, to govern against the wishes of the Chamber; but the Chamber must understand the peculiar position it holds, which makes it liable to dismissal two days or in two years. We ask for full answers, because we wish to take full responsibility. Without powers you know perfectly well that not a penny — any I say — would be saved. By this we do not intend to elude the possibility of voluntary co-operation, which we cordially accept, whether it be from deputies, senators single competent citizens. We have, every one of us, religious sense of the difficulty of our task. The country encourages us and waits. We shall not give you further words but facts. Let us solemnly and formally pledge our- selves to balance the Budget, and we shall do it. We wish to have a foreign policy of peace, but, at the same time, it must be dignified and firm; and we shall have it. None of our enemies, past or present, need deceive themselves about the rapidity of our advent to power. (Laughter; comments.) Our Government has a formidable hold upon the hearts of the people and is supported by the best elements in the country. There is no doubt that in these last days an enormous step has been taken towards spiritual unity. The Italian nation has found herself again, from the north to the south, from the Continent to those generous ds which shall no more be forgotten.
From Rome to the industrious colonies of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Gentlemen, do not throw useless words at the nation; fifty- two requests to speak on my lists is too much. Let us work, rather, with pure hearts and ready brains to assure the prosperity and the greatness of the country. And may God help me to carry my arduous task to a victorious end.