Gaetano Martino

The Honourable
Gaetano Martino
President of the European Parliament
In office
Preceded by Hans Furler
Succeeded by Jean Duvieusart
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
19 September 1954  6 May 1957
Prime Minister Mario Scelba,
Antonio Segni
Preceded by Attilio Piccioni
Succeeded by Giuseppe Pella
Minister of Public Education
In office
10 February 1954  19 September 1954
Prime Minister Mario Scelba
Preceded by Egidio Tosato
Succeeded by Giuseppe Ermini
Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
In office
8 May 1948  21 July 1967
Constituency Sicily (Catania)
Personal details
Born (1900-11-25)25 November 1900
Messina, Italy
Died 21 July 1967(1967-07-21) (aged 66)
Rome, Italy
Nationality Italian
Political party Italian Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Alberta Stagno d'Alcontres
Children Three sons, including Antonio
Alma mater Sapienza University of Rome
Profession Physician, teacher

Gaetano Martino (25 November 1900 – 21 July 1967) was an Italian politician, physician and university teacher.

Early life and medicine

Gaetano Martino (mid), with Halvard Lange (r), and Lester B. Pearson (l), in 1956

Gaetano Martino was born in 1900 in Messina, Sicily, son of Mayor Antonino Martino. He graduated in medicine to the Sapienza University of Rome in 1923. He worked as physician for Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris.[1] In 1934, he became teacher to the University of Messina, and later was also dean of the University from 1943 to 1954. From 1966 to 1967, Martino was also dean of the Sapienza University of Rome.

Political career

Foreign Minister

Martino was a prominent Liberal politician. He was elected in 1948 to the Chamber of Deputies, becoming briefly Minister of Public Education in 1954, under Christian Democrat Mario Scelba. In the late 1954, Martino became Minister of Foreign Affairs after the replacement of Attilio Piccioni, involved in the Montesi Affair.[1] He maintained his Ministry also during the Antonio Segni's Cabinet (1954-1957), but was finally removed from office by new Prime Minister Adone Zoli.[2]

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martino promoted a better European integration and internationalism, first with the Messina Conference in 1955. In 1956, he obtained the Italian acceptance to the United Nations. In the same year Martino, along with Halvard Lange from Norway and Lester Pearson from Canada, became a "sage" of the NATO, promoting its involvement in civil areas.[3] Martino also attended the Treaty of Rome in 1957, establishing the European Economic Community.

Armoire's affair

In 1956, the newspaper La Repubblica published an article where Martino said that investigations on the German war crimes in Italy during World War II would have a negative impact on the Germany's integration in Europe, like an internal disapprove of the NATO. In 1994, with discovery in a military base of an armoire with secret documents on Nazi war crimes in Italy, nickname "Armoire of Shame" ("Armadio della Vergogna"), emerged that Martino blocked the investigations to avoid a German isolation during Cold War.[4]

Later life

For his role in the European integration, Martino was elected President of the European Parliament in 1962. He also continued to serve as Deputy in the Italian Chamber until his death on July 1967.


  1. 1 2 Marcello Saija; Angela Villani (2011). Gaetano Martino 1900-1967. Rubbettino. p. pag. 30.
  2. Christiane Kohl (29 October 1999). "Parla il boia di Sant'Anna "Così uccidevamo gli italiani"". La Repubblica.
Political offices
Preceded by
Attilio Piccioni
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Pella
Preceded by
Egidio Tosato
Italian Minister of Public Instruction
Succeeded by
Giuseppe Ermini
Preceded by
Hans Furler
President of the European Parliament
Succeeded by
Jean Pierre Duvieusart

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