During the spring of 1976 the odds were that the forthcoming Italian elections would result in a major success for the Italian Communist Party, thus endangering democracy in Italy and the security of Nato. Relying upon the records available at the British National Archives, the article analyzes the way the British government dealt with this threat. Promoting a coup d’état to prevent the Pci from acceding to or staying in power was among the options considered by British diplomats. Contrary to what alleged by journalistic sources however, the article shows that Secretary of State Anthony Crosland in fact fi rmly rejected any kind of illegal interference in Italian domestic politics.
Keywords: Historic compromise; Labour Party’s foreign policy; Western Powers and the Pci; Great Britain and Italian politics