107. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in Chile1

1. Task force has been established in Headquarters to provide maximum support to Station. If it becomes as effective as we intend it to be, you will never again receive such a lengthy message of this nature.

2. As first act wish engage you in exercise to refine and coordinate our thinking in regard [Track Two] so that we may begin with clear and agreed objectives and courses of action. On perhaps untoward assumption that Frei makes first move, which he must if [this operation] is to succeed, we would like to have as crystalline understanding as possible, under circumstances, of events we are placing in train and what steps we are to follow. This is essential if we are to move forward from one event to another without a pause and Headquarters is to provide you with intelligent and effective support immediately and within days to come.

3. Purpose of exercise is to prevent Allende assumption of power. Parliamentary legerdemain has been discarded. Military solution is objective.

4. First and fundamental task is to induce Frei to take action which will produce desired result. After this we get fuzzy since we have no clear understanding of what we wish Frei to do other than lead military coup himself, something we can hardly expect of this too-gentle soul. We can wistfully aspire to have him act in manner which will not only exacerbate climate for coup but which will actually precipitate it.

5. From your previous communications it our understanding that Frei should:

A. Seek resignation of cabinet;

B. Form new cabinet comprised entirely of military;

C. Frei appoints Acting President;

D. Frei departs from Chile;

E. Chile has military junta which supervises new elections;

F. Frei runs in new election. With our help he wins. For reasons noted in para six below this seems to be an imperfect understanding on our part of what you have in mind. Please send us cable outlining ob [Page 284] jectives and course of events as you believe they should unfold if we can influence them, always conditioned by the fact that we have to keep “our feet in the mud of practicality and our eyes on the stars.”2 Provide explanation of why you believe these are objectives we should be following and, in separate paragraph, outline what actions you believe should be taken to achieve objectives.

6. Questions on para five above. A) Can Frei successfully inspire resignation of his cabinet without a suitable pretext? Does pretext now exist? If not can we create one? What should it be and what can we do to bring it about? B) Does Frei have constitutional authority to appoint Acting President? Would not Acting President be either Minister of Interior or President of the Senate? In event Minister of the Interior Frei clearly should appoint projected coup leader as Minister of Interior so that he can take over, constitutionally, when Frei resigns. (Please clarify what would happen in the normal and constitutional course of events if Frei resigns after appointing a military cabinet.) C) On Frei’s departure from Chile, can an ex-President leave the country immediately without permission of Congress and still be acting within constitutional limits? Might it be preferable to have him remain in secluded retreat within Chile?

7. Our preoccupation with having Frei act constitutionally is not based on delicate sense of legality but on two realities: A) it might be easier to induce Frei to take necessary action if his acts can all be clothed entirely in constitutional terms—from his selecting military cabinet, to resignation, etc. and permitting only unconstitutional act to be military’s refusal to allow Allende assume power; B) if [this operation] successful it may be that Frei’s chances of re-election and subsequent acceptance for six years as legal President of Chile would be better if it can be shown that he, personally, never violated constitution.

8. Purpose this cable is not to test your tired nerves with yet another bureaucratic exercise when immediate, drastic, and effective action is required. Purpose is to give some focus to our efforts so that every move made henceforth will fit snugly into an agreed framework. Deprived of the presence of COS we forced use this method to come to meeting of minds.

9. Therefore, at your discretion, please send us list of your objectives, course of action you are and will be following and support you expect from us, tasks that must be performed by us and you. You may wish group these tasks into various categories such as: direct pressure on Frei (courses of action); direct and indirect pressure on Chilean mili [Page 285] tary (courses of action); propaganda including encouragement to [Santiago newspaper] [2 lines not declassified].

10. We have 33 days in which to reach a crescendo of activity. If you agree there is a need to do so, we solicit your support in making this effort orderly so that we miss no bets and focus on issues at hand as priorities warrant.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Chile–ITTCIA 1963–1977, Lot 81D21, Chile Papers, Church Committee, August 12, 1975. Secret; Immediate. Released by Broe; authenticated by Phillips. The text printed here contains bracketed excisions and insertions to protect sources and code names. The unredacted text of this telegram is in Central Intelligence Agency, Job 80–00012A. See footnote 2, Document 94.
  2. No reply has been found.