Appendix B: Parco dei Principe

By early 1965 the leaders of the “Rose of the Winds” organisation began to prepare the ground for their long-term plans. For three days in May that year, the third to the fifth, the Parco dei Principe Hotel in Rome was the venue for an anti-communist conference on the theme of “Revolutionary Warfare — Instrument of World Expansion which was to prove the pivotal point which led inexorably to the tragic events of subsequent years.

Discreetly financed by the counter-intelligence bureau of the Italian secret service, the conference was organised under the aegis of the “Alberto Polli Institute for Military and Historical Studies,” a right-wing think tank. The papers submitted at the conference were published a few months later by the extreme right-wing publishing house Giovanni Volpe.

The three-day event was chaired jointly by a general commanding the parachute regiment and the president of the Milan court of appeal; its ideological stars were a group of extreme right-wing journalists. Although all of them were to play a crucial part in subsequent events, one is of particular interest in the context of this story — Guido Giannettini.

The proposals outlined by the neo-fascist journalists at the Parco dei Principe conference were directed at: “… preparing a military instrument capable of facing up to the techniques and expansion of revolutionary warfare … an instrument encompassing the setting up of standing defence groups capable of resisting clandestine penetration by revolutionary warfare and which will give battle without hesitation and with all necessary energy and ruthlessness, even in the least orthodox of circumstances …”. The defence groups were, of course, to be drawn only from known and trusted anti-communists.

So impressed were the Italian general staff with the ideas proposed by the Parco dei Principe team that they promptly commissioned them to compile a report outlining communist infiltration and subversion of the armed forces. Ten thousand copies of this report were printed, but at the last moment it was realised its publication might have precisely the opposite effect to that desired and all copies were hurriedly recalled. The document was eventually published under the pseudonym Flavio Messeler ten years later by the Rome publishing house Savelli with the title “Red Hands on the Armed Forces”. Interestingly enough a similar confidential study entitled “Communist Propaganda in the Armed Forces” was published by the Greek army general staff in September 1967 in justification for the coup the previous April.

Effectively, the Parco dei Principe conference established the credentials of the neo-fascists and the extreme right as “experts” in the theory and practice of counter-revolution. All of the Parco dei Principe team were recruited into the Italian secret service, directly responsible to its new head, Admiral Hencke, and established as men of confidence” and key advisers within the Italian military infrastructure. They were now in a position both to manipulate state policy — and to be manipulated!