207. Intelligence Information Cable1

TDCS DB–315/00868–71

COUNTRY

  • Italy/Greece

DOI

  • Early February 1971

SUBJECT

  • Plans of Italian Social Movement to provoke a Greek-style takeover of the Italian Government by the Italian army

ACQ

  • [1 line not declassified]

SOURCE

  • [1 line not declassified]

1. An emissary of the Italian Social Movement (MSI) went to Greece in early February 1971 to seek “indirect financial” assistance from Greek Minister of Coordination Nicholas Makarezos and Secretary-General of the Ministry of Interior John Ladas in provoking a Greek-style takeover of the Italian Government by the Italian army. [Page 700]Makarezos did not make a definite response to his plea. The emissary claimed to belong to a conspiratorial group within the MSI [1 line not declassified] He said his group intends to provoke fights with the Italian Communist Party (PCI) in order to force the Italian army to step in to restore order “as in Greece.”

2. The emissary said his group has a force of civilians made up of veterans of the paratroops and marines who have arms at home. The group has allies in the army paratroops, marines, Carabinieri and air force, but not the police, nor can they count on army support generally outside the above-mentioned elite units.

3. The group plans to set off bombs within the next three to four months in the PCI headquarters at Reggio Calabria, Turin, Milan, Bologna, Rome and elsewhere to provoke street demonstrations by the Communists. The MSI activists then expect their people to fight the Communists in the street in order to force the army to step in and set up a strict regime.

4. The MSI emissary pointed out that France had a de Gaulle to re-establish discipline, but since Italy lacks such a leader the Italians must look to the Greek example and get the army to act to guarantee against a Communist victory. Once this has been accomplished, the Communist Party will fade away and young people will desert the various Communist extremist “Maoist” and “Ho Chi Minh chanting” groups in favor of national parties. The emissary said the activists consider themselves “rightists,” but they do not share the “archaic views of the monarchists. Their enemies call them Fascists,” but they are not proponents of Mussolini’s fascism.

5. [less than 1 line not declassified] comment: [1 line not declassified] the MSI emissary returned to Italy disappointed at the lack of any concrete results from his talks with Greek officials.)

6. (Headquarters comment: While extremist groups of either the far right, such as the group discussed in this report, or of the far left undoubtedly have the capability to engage in individual acts of violence, there is no evidence to date of the existence of a cohesive force that has sufficient backing to pose a threat to the stability of the government. [3 lines not declassified]

7. Field dissem: None.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 695, Country Files—Europe, Italy, Vol. III. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified]; Controlled Dissem; [handling restriction not declassified]; Background Use Only.