252. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Director of Central Intelligence McCone and the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mann)1

DCI: Good morning, Tom.

M: Good morning, how are you?

DCI: I’m fine, how are you?

M: Fine. You sound like you are in a well.

DCI: I’ve got Pat Carter 2 here and we were talking over Chile. I wanted him to hear what we were talking about, so if it is agreeable with you, I’ll continue to use this loud speaker.

M: O.K. sure.

DCI: Now, every place I go I get alarming reports on the intense effort of the Andes [?] backed probably by the Communists. I even got it from 3½ lines of source text not declassified] a frightening story of the [Page 562]intensification of the Socialist Communists. He claimed they had 300 sound trucks and 3500 personnel, of which 3400 are members of the Communist Party, working on the Andes campaign at this time. I have no doubt that this is exaggerated …

M: Nevertheless, John, it is very serious. Are you familiar with the program we are working on?

DCI: Yes, I am thoroughly familiar with it.

M: Is there anything else we can do?

DCI: Yes there is. I do not think that your Embassy is set up to handle this problem properly. In the first place, Cole, the Ambassador, is not there and won’t be there until the end of June. Secondly, this is an area, my people tell me, where he is lacking in experience and also lacking in courage. I think you ought to take a very good look at that. He is coming out of an academic life and this is something he doesn’t know anything about you see. Second thing, your deputy chief of mission, fellow named Jova, I don’t get a very good report on him either. I don’t know him.

M: What we planned to do with Cole, psychologically mainly, was to get him to try to go back, fly down for 10 days in the middle of his vacation. He is a very hard man to handle. He wants to quit, you know.3

DCI: Yes, I know. He had his resignation . . .

M: And we thought it would be a mistake to send a new man down just on the eve of.

DCI: Yes, I think that is right, but I wondered whether you didn’t have some political activist expert you could put down there on TDY.

M: Well, I think that is right. We’ll do that.

DCI: What we have done—I have taken J.C. King and removed him of all responsibility. He is generating a lot of ideas [1½ lines of source text not declassified] and I am going to have the whole subject reviewed at the Special Group on Thursday4 so that the White House and everybody will be in circuit on it. I would appreciate it very much if you could go over, if you are gong to be here Thursday, and sit in on it. Can you do that?

[Page 563]

M: Yes, I can do that. I would like to. I have had the same idea that we should really wire in the White House on that.

DCI: All right. Well, let’s do that on Thursday. I’ll get Mac to put it on the calendar first thing and that would set it at 3:30 Thursday afternoon.5

M: I’ll be there and in the meantime, is that the only thing that occurs to you that we are not already doing?

DCI: Well, I think we have to get in closer touch with this business group that name not declassified] heads and see if they might.…

M: Well, we had a meeting on this the other day. J.C. was there. He can tell you all about it. On what they can do, I asked the small group of people not to tell me what they were going to do, but to tell J.C. Whatever had to be done to do it through him.

DCI: He has an idea that they might move in on this beef problem which you are familiar with, I guess.

M: I asked yesterday that somebody get [to] work on that. I was very discouraged. Tom Taylor6 was talking about the beef thing which is important and I was unconvinced they were really going to get enough beef there. I asked the fellows yesterday to send a telegram out on this also, but …

DCI: Out to where?

M: I am going to work on it today to see what we can do about the beef. The trouble is that the passage to the Andes is going to be closed in about two weeks. If we don’t get the cattle through on hoof then there isn’t much storage facility there for frozen beef. We are going to have to fly it in almost by shuttle. And then there is the problem of price, of bringing the price down from the present level of 1750 pesos to 1350 pesos. That is a matter of money. But the first thing is to get the beef there or to get a secure way of making sure it will be there.

DCI: Well, we can go into that.

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M: We are going ahead with a rather large PL 480 program and that is on the price of food again, but we are giving them all that they are asking for. The telegram we sent7 was to ask them if this was really enough. We didn’t want to treat this as a routine PL 480 type deal. We want to get enough food down there to bring prices down. I think your idea is a good one. We’ll get the best guy we can down there on TDY.

DCI: Yes, that is what I would do, if I were you. We will keep J.C. in and we will give him all the support he needs.

M: Yes, I agree with that.

DCI: So that we will be . . . .

M: If you have any other concrete ideas, you’ll let us know?

DCI: I’ll get [name not declassified] on the telephone. He has called me once or twice on this and I might even go up and sit down and talk with him personally. I know him very well. I’ll see if that can be arranged.

M: O.K. and if you get anything else concrete, let me know.

DCI: Will do.

M: I am worried about this. I think this is the biggest problem we have. O.K. John. Thank you.

DCI: Goodbye.8

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80–B01285A, DCI (McCone) Files, Telephone Calls, 3/4/64–5/19/64. Eyes Only. No classification marking. The text was prepared in the CIA from a tape recording.
  2. Marshall Carter, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.
  3. In November 1963 Martin recommended that Rusk call the Ambassador; Jova had suggested that Cole might stay for the presidential election if his arm were “properly twisted.” According to Martin, this tactic was successful. (Martin, Kennedy and Latin America, p. 322) The Department, however, informed Cole on February 5 that the White House would announce his resignation in 2 days. (Telegram 425 to Santiago, February 5; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, PER Cole, Charles W.) Two weeks later, President Johnson asked Cole to remain in Santiago until September; Cole agreed to do so. (Telegram 682 from Santiago, February 19; ibid.)
  4. April 30.
  5. At its meeting on April 30 the Special Group decided: “(a) that contact should be made with Ambassador Cole to urge his return for a visit in the coming weeks, (b) that talks with American business interests should proceed to determine the amount and method of their support, and (c) it was further decided that higher authority would be apprised of the closeness and importance of this Chilean election and that the Group itself would continue to review the problem in the coming weeks.” (Memorandum for the Record, May 1; National Security Council, 303 Committee Files, Minutes, April 30, 1964) According to notes of the meeting taken by Hughes, “Mr. McCone said he had spoken twice to the Secretary about it [Chile] on the phone within the past 24 hours.” Hughes also noted that “Mr. Mann asked how much money might be secured from American businessmen that McCone had been in contact with. McCone said about a million dollars.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Special Group Files, April 30, 1964)
  6. Reference is evidently to A. Thomas Taylor, president of International Packers, Ltd.
  7. Telegram 613 to Santiago, April 27. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Chile, Vol. I, 1/64–8/64)
  8. McCone later attached a note entitled “Information on the Beef Requirements in Chile,” in which he estimated that Chile would require “approximately 5,000 tons of cattle on the hoof per month.”