261. Information Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Survey Poll on Chilean Presidential Candidates

You are right: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] a poll in April and May of the three candidates for President in the Chilean [Page 582]election.2 The poll showed that Frei (Christian Democrat) would receive 52% of the vote: Allende (Socialist-Communist) 36%; Duran (Radical) 7% and 5% undecided. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] a poll in March before a by-election in which the Radicals lost badly. In that poll, Frei was also ahead. The second poll showed Duran lost badly and that Frei picked up slightly more of the voters who switched from Duran than did Allende.

The poll was taken by an experienced [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] firm which had previously conducted polls in Chile. Nevertheless, the poll was a small sample—only 2000. State regards it only as an indicator of how the situation lined up in May and not what it might be now or how it might end up on September 4.

Chilean President Alessandri thinks Frei is ahead but he also went to great lengths in a recent conversation with our Ambassador to urge that the United States keep an open mind on Allende and not cut off financial assistance should Allende win.3

The Chilean President race is a hard one. The Christian Democrats are coming from behind. They now have a good organization but they have to guard against over-confidence and fight all the way to the finish line if they hope to win.

[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]

McG. B. 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Chile, Vol. I, Memos 1/64–8/64. Secret.
  2. Mann reported the results of the poll in a telephone conversation with the President on June 11; see Document 16.
  3. See Document 260.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.