263. Telegram From the Embassy in Chile to the Department of State1

167. Ref: Embtel 158.2 Subj: Frei’s Views on US Role in Final Days of Campaign.

Frei said he thought that the US and the Embassy in particular should continue to act with prudence and discretion in regard to his campaign. The last weeks of the campaign will be particularly bitter and great care should be exercised not to permit an extraneous matter to arise and possibly play a disruptive and possibly decisive role on the course of the campaign. He thought our own activities had been well handled in this regard and implied that he saw no reason why discreet contacts between Embassy and selected PDC leaders should not continue to be maintained.

When discussing financial resources he observed that PDC was adequately supplied and in any case it was desirable that the Chilean people themselves be made to feel an obligation to contribute and thus feel selves as personally involved in campaign. He hoped we could assist him, however, through furnishing information on FRAP [Page 584] activities. He hoped that in our conversations with our liberal and conservative contacts we would stress to them the need to maintain the “national and popular character of the campaign” and that the face of the right not be shown too much. With our Radical friends he hoped we would urge them to keep Duran in the race.

He made the interesting observation that he felt that among the reasons that it was necessary for him to win by a really large majority was the reassuring effect that this would have on potential private investment from abroad. A win by a mere plurality or by a very narrow majority would keep alive the suspicion in the United States and Europe that communism was still just around the corner in Chile and this would discourage the massive investments that he felt Chile needed.

We told him that Ambassador very specially hoped he and his cohorts would keep in mind fact that US was also engaged in political campaign and that ill-considered statements or actions in Chile could also create complications there. “Understanding attitudes” were a two way street. Frei said he very much aware of this problem and sympathized with attitude of parts of American public which complained of lack of support and understanding for US policies in spite of extensive and long continuing assistance programs. A balance had to be struck between local and international considerations and this was often difficult.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 14 Chile. Confidential. Repeated to CINCSO and CINCLANT for POLADs.
  2. Telegram 158 from Santiago, July 29, reported on the circumstances that led to the meeting among Frei, Jova, and Stevenson. The Embassy also explained that the meeting was “the first time we had spoken with Frei for almost two months as due to FRAP attacks on Embassy and attempts link Embassy and PDC had thought it best maintain discreet distance.” (Ibid.)