256. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Director of Central Intelligence McCone and the Under Secretary of State (Ball)1

B: Yes, John, how are you.

DCI: Fine. Say, I have had J.C. King in New York on this Chilean problem and there was a plan worked out in a meeting with [name not declassified] and Geneen2 of the IT&T [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] on how to handle this meat and food problem, inflation problem over the next 4 months. Now it can be handled through PL 480, AID, but it is going to require prompt and decisive action. I am calling you to have you jot it down on your pad to see that it doesn’t get bogged down in the machinery of AID PL 480 and Alliance for Progress and all the rest.

B: I talked with Orville Freeman yesterday in the context of the beef problem and there is a way to kill a couple of birds with one stone. If we could get a lot of beef down there right now it would help relieve the (blot) here where the President is trying to find every possible way to buy beef. In the meantime, it is something they very much want.

DCI: Yes. Of course that involves quite a cost problem. The beef can be gotten in the Argentine and transported . . . .

B: Yes, but at the moment the President would be willing to go far out on using domestic beef for that.

DCI: Well, I talked to the President about it and I told him that was a possibility, if he wants to take the lumps on the cost, then it is perfectly all right. It means quite a subsidy and there may be some way to do that. That might be a sure way to get prompt action.

B: Well, that’s the point. Now, the trouble is, all of this stuff isn’t available. I mean, apparently there is some mottling on processing.

DCI: Well, I don’t know . . . .

B: (. . . .) promised to look into it and he is supposed to call me this morning. Let me needle him on this whole thing.

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DCI: They need 2700 tons of processed beef a month for the next 4 months. This is my own mathematics. Don’t hold me to that figure. It may be up higher than that.

B: Well, they did make a contract with Uruguay, I think, or Argentina, I don’t know, for part of it.

DCI: Well, now, unfortunately, I am going to be away for a couple of days, but I have got J.C. King on this Chile problem on a full-time basis. Now in addition to this, we have gotten the interested banking and industrial companies to come in and support political actions to the tune of million or million and one-half dollars and we will have to up our own ante in this thing, but the point I want to make is that this requires prompt action and this is one situation where we have to win the game. Tom is out of town. I don’t know where he is. Tom Mann. But just keep this on the front burner and if there are any problems of procedure or approvals due to your machinery, why maybe we can use some of our machinery on a contingency basis, you see. In order to get immediate action.

B: I’ll get a hold of Orville and Dave Bell and we will crank the thing right up.3

DCI: O.K. and I will be back here Sunday4 or Monday and we’ll talk about it. Good, fine, goodbye.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCI’s Telephone Calls, 3/4/64–5/19/64. No classification marking. The text was prepared in the CIA from a tape recording.
  2. Reference is to Harold S. Geneen, president of the International Telegraph and Telephone Company.
  3. In a May 8 memorandum to Bundy, Chase noted the importance of the PL–480 program in Chile, and urged the Department to “move fast on these programs and to let us know if there is any way we can help.” Bundy approved. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Chile, Vol. I, 1/64–8/64) The United States and Chile signed a PL–480 agreement on June 30, which included a one-time provision to support beef imports (up to 3,000 metric tons for 1964), and doubled the previous amount of financial assistance allotted under Title IV for the export of agricultural commodities to Chile, i.e., from $21 to $42 million. (15 UST 1428)
  4. May 10.