117. Draft Backchannel Message From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to the Ambassador to Chile (Korry)1

Ref: .2

1. We are puzzled by reference message, especially second sentence of paragraph 1. We had assumed that offer of financial support to Frei if things worked out so that he could again run for presidency would encourage him to take whatever action is going to be required to block Allende from taking office. We had also assumed that assurance to Chilean military that they would not be ostracized by us but could rather count on us for continued support if they participated in this effort would also be encouragement to them, and we are puzzled that you make no reference to this in your reply.

2. While we reiterate our position that the decision to undertake any such course of action must be entirely Chilean, and that you should keep your profile on this matter as low as possible, you should be clear that we hope the Chileans will find a way to block Allende from taking office. We had hoped and expected that the assurances you were authorized to give by our previous message would serve this end. If you do not believe they will do so, please let us know soonest, together with any recommendations you may have. We are urgently considering what we can do with respect to the recommendation contained in paragraph 3 reftel.

3. Do you feel that the bait of becoming UNSYG is acting as a restraint on Frei and, if so, what thoughts do you have on how we might deal with this.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, 1970. Top Secret; Eyes Only. A notation at the top of the page reads, “Copy to Vaky—hard copy envelope copy Haig (?) file.” The message is in draft format, and there is no indication that it was sent. No other version was found. However, the comments made by Korry cited in Document 120 respond to it, suggesting that it was sent. Also at a meeting of the 40 Committee on September 24, Karamessines recorded, “there was discussion of Ambassador Korry’s response to the message sent yesterday and it was agreed around the table the response was inadequate and incomprehensible. Ambassador Johnson undertook to send a new message on his own. There was discussion of the British position and it was agreed that Mr. Kissinger would see whether the President might mention this to the Prime Minister during his forthcoming trip.” (Memorandum for the Record, September 24; Central Intelligence Agency, Job 78–0717BA, DDP Chron File, January–December 1970)
  2. Although no reference number is included on the draft, the reference is apparently to Document 116.