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Britain's Foreign Office contemplates Italian coup in 1976


Paul Rigby
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/italy/story/0,,2240362,00.html

Fascinating insight into the Foreign Office’s enduring commitment to democracy:

UK discussed Italian coup to halt Communists

Tom Kington in Rome

Monday January 14, 2008

The Guardian, p.18.

The British government considered backing a rightwing coup in Italy in 1976 to prevent the rising Italian Communist party from taking power, recently released documents have revealed.

Foreign Office planners wrote in May 1976 that "a clean surgical coup" to remove the Communists from power "would be attractive in many ways", according to documents obtained from the British national archives and published yesterday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

But planners concluded the idea was "unrealistic" since it could lead to "prolonged and bloody" resistance by Italian communists, a potential civil war and even intervention by the Soviet Union.

At the height of the cold war, alarm bells were ringing in London as the governing Christian Democrats grew weak through infighting while Enrico Berlinguer's Communists edged closer to taking power in elections due to be held in June.

"(Berlinguer's) entry into government would create a serious problem for Nato and the European Community and could turn out to be an event with catastrophic consequences," Sir Guy Millard, the British ambassador to Rome, wrote in a memo quoted by La Repubblica. Officials argued that if Communist ministers joined the government, sensitive Nato documents would be sent to Moscow.

A Foreign Office memo in April had listed options for tackling the Communist ascendancy, ranging from financing rival parties to "subversive or military intervention against the Italian Communist party".

Fears receded as the Christian Democrats finished 4% ahead of the Communists in the lower house of parliament.

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Guest David Guyatt
http://www.guardian.co.uk/italy/story/0,,2240362,00.html

Fascinating insight into the Foreign Office’s enduring commitment to democracy:

UK discussed Italian coup to halt Communists

Tom Kington in Rome

Monday January 14, 2008

The Guardian, p.18.

The British government considered backing a rightwing coup in Italy in 1976 to prevent the rising Italian Communist party from taking power, recently released documents have revealed.

Foreign Office planners wrote in May 1976 that "a clean surgical coup" to remove the Communists from power "would be attractive in many ways", according to documents obtained from the British national archives and published yesterday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

But planners concluded the idea was "unrealistic" since it could lead to "prolonged and bloody" resistance by Italian communists, a potential civil war and even intervention by the Soviet Union.

At the height of the cold war, alarm bells were ringing in London as the governing Christian Democrats grew weak through infighting while Enrico Berlinguer's Communists edged closer to taking power in elections due to be held in June.

"(Berlinguer's) entry into government would create a serious problem for Nato and the European Community and could turn out to be an event with catastrophic consequences," Sir Guy Millard, the British ambassador to Rome, wrote in a memo quoted by La Repubblica. Officials argued that if Communist ministers joined the government, sensitive Nato documents would be sent to Moscow.

A Foreign Office memo in April had listed options for tackling the Communist ascendancy, ranging from financing rival parties to "subversive or military intervention against the Italian Communist party".

Fears receded as the Christian Democrats finished 4% ahead of the Communists in the lower house of parliament.

Hence the arrival of P2, who's "charter" dating back to 1877 as a masonic lodge was withdrawn by the Grand Orient of Italy (clearly with foreknowledge), an act that allowed P2 to go "political" from 1976 until the 1980's when (I suspect) it was longer necessary and needed to be reined in by the authorities to curb Licio Gelli's criminality.

P2 was always the lapdog of NATO and the right.

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