[R-G] Fw: Update: Nixon on Chile Intervention
info at cinox.demon.co.uk
Tue Feb 3 21:44:42 MST 2004
National Security Archive Update, February 3, 2004
NIXON ON CHILE INTERVENTION WHITE HOUSE TAPE ACKNOWLEDGES INSTRUCTIONS
TO BLOCK SALVADOR ALLENDE
KISSINGER SECRETLY LOBBIED PRESIDENT AGAINST "DRIFT TOWARD MODUS
VIVENDI" WITH ELECTED SOCIALIST PRESIDENT
DECLASSIFIED KISSINGER TRANSCRIPTS REVEAL STRONG SUPPORT FOR PINOCHET
FOLLOWING CHILEAN COUP
For further information Contact Peter Kornbluh 202 994 7116
pkorn at gwu.edu
WASHINGTON D.C., President Richard Nixon acknowledged that he had
given instructions to "do anything short of a Dominican-type action"
to keep the democratically elected president of Chile from assuming
office, according to a White House audio tape posted by the National
Security Archive today. A phone conversation captured by his secret
Oval Office taping system reveals Nixon telling his press secretary,
Ron Zeigler, that he had given such instructions to then U.S.
Ambassador Edward Korry, "but he just failed, the son of a bitch...
He should have kept Allende from getting in."
A transcript of the president's comments on March 23, 1972, made
after the leak of corporate papers revealing collaboration between
ITT and the CIA to rollback the election of socialist leader Salvador
Allende, was recently published in the National Security Archive
book, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and
Accountability by Peter Kornbluh; the tape marks the first time
Nixon can be heard discussing his orders to undermine Chilean
democracy. The conversation took place as Zeigler briefed the
President on a State Department press conference to contain the
growing ITT/CIA scandal which included one ITT document stating
that Korry had been "given the green light to move in the name of
President Nixon...to do all possible short of a Dominican Republic-type
action to keep Allende from taking power."
Other declassified records show that Nixon secretly ordered maximum
CIA covert operations to "prevent Allende from coming to power or
unseat him" in the fall of 1970 but that Ambassador Korry was
deliberately not informed of covert efforts to instigate a military
When the White House-ordered covert operations failed to prevent
Allende's November 3, 1970, inauguration, Nixon's national security
advisor, Henry Kissinger, lobbied vigorously for a hard-line U.S.
policy "to prevent [Allende] from consolidating himself now when
we know he is weaker than he will ever be and when he obviously
fears our pressure and hostility," according to a previously unknown
eight-page briefing paper prepared for the President on November
In the secret/sensitive "memorandum for the president" Kissinger
claimed that Allende's election posed "one of the most serious
challenges ever faced in the hemisphere" and that Nixon's "decision
as to what to do about it may be the most historic and difficult
foreign affairs decision you will have to make this year."
The memorandum reveals that Kissinger forcefully pressed the President
to overrule the State Department's position that there was little
Washington could do to oppose the legitimately elected president
of Chile and that the risks for U.S. interests of intervening to
oppose him were greater than coexisting with him. "If all concerned
do not understand that you want Allende opposed as strongly as we
can, the result will be a steady drift toward the modus vivendi
approach," Kissinger informed Nixon.
Kissinger personally requested an hour to brief Nixon on November
5 in preparation for a National Security Council meeting to discuss
Chile strategy the next day. The briefing paper records his threat
perception of an Allende government as a model for other countries.
As Kissinger informed the president: "The example of a successful
elected Marxist government in Chile would surely have an impact on
-- an even precedent value for -- other parts of the world, especially
in Italy; the imitative spread of similar phenomena elsewhere would
in turn significantly affect the world balance and our own position
in it." According to a transcript of the NSC meeting published in
The Pinochet File, Nixon told his aides the next day that "our main
concern is the prospect that [Allende] can consolidate himself and
the picture projected to the world will be his success."
"This document is the Rosetta stone for deciphering the motivations
of Kissinger and Nixon in undermining Chilean democracy," according
to Peter Kornbluh who directs the Archive's Chile Documentation
Project. "It reinforces the judgement of history on Kissinger's
role as the primary advocate of overthrowing the Allende government."
The Archive also posted today a series of declassified transcripts
of Kissinger's staff meetings after he became Secretary of State.
The transcripts, dated from the days following the coup that brought
General Augusto Pinochet to power through the first several years
of his regime's repression in Chile, record Kissinger's attitude
toward human rights atrocities and mounting Congressional pressure
to curtail U.S. economic and military assistance the military regime.
They are quoted at length in Kornbluh's book, The Pinochet File,
and recently cited in the New York Times Week in Review section
(December 28, 2003).
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