119. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Chile

Attached is the latest message from Korry on the situation in Chile.2 I think he has a good point in paragraph 3. However, I would feel much more secure if this were done at the highest levels with the governments concerned and on a priority basis. This is precisely the suggestion made by the Chilean Congressman to me.3 He was most concerned about the following countries:

1. The German Government, whose ties and influence in Santiago are strong and pervasive.

2. The Italian Government which, as you know, has major emotional, psychological and empathetic influence in Chile.

To the foregoing I would add Great Britain based on Korry’s own recommendations.

My fear is that if Korry were permitted to romp around, the Ambassadors concerned would merely have to consult their governments. It would therefore be far more appropriate to first discuss it with the governments concerned at the highest level and then, assuming they are sympathetic, give Korry authority for local liaison.

The Congressman made the following additional points which I am sure you have covered in your previous discussion, but which I am listing here as an assist for today’s meeting:4

Frei is a good but weak man who needs constant pushing and reassurance. It is especially important that he knows that the United States stands behind him.

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For your eyes only, Korry is not an especially effective Ambassador. His views have been troublesome and, though he is an intelligent man, he is fundamentally an idealist and a journalist and hardly a realistic Chief of Mission.

—Those who are involved in our work should be assured of both money and safe-havens and provision should be made now to provide these. I would suggest that CIA be charged with confirming that this has been done with a specific plan which can be used by Korry to reassure his contacts.

—We should give immediate consideration to unleashing the business community in New York on this subject [less than 1 line not declassified]. According to the Chilean, there are ample resources which can be made available immediately and which can be used to accomplish a great deal in the way of influencing fence-sitters and those members of the Chilean Government who may be purchaseable.

—A real effort should be made now through our military attachés in Santiago to work on the Chilean military rather than to sit on their hands and add to the doubts of the Chilean military. We must assume that our military representatives in Chile can best judge their style and approaches. They should, however, be armed with authority to convey at least promises of stepped-up, post-coup military support, matériel, hardware and funds and, as a minimum, strong moral support for the kind of action which must be taken.

—Consideration should be given—as Pete [Vaky] mentioned earlier5—to sending a hard-nosed, low-profile, yet nonetheless authoritative representative to Chile to orchestrate what must be done and who will be able to convey special authority and influence in this regard.

—When I asked the Chilean whether or not economic difficulties contributed to, or complicated, Allende’s chances, he replied that, on balance, subtlely applied economic problems posed Allende with real problems and tended to raise concerns about the drift toward Marxism.

—The Chilean emphasized that since the election, Allende has consistently lost support. He said that an effective program, managed and controlled by a realistic and enlightened U.S. coordinator, offered the best hope for success.

—The Chilean concluded that the foregoing suggestions came from him only with the greatest reluctance and agony, but that he was convinced that risks had to be taken and that if Allende were to be installed, Chile’s demise was certain and that while initially talk of compromise and modus vivendi would be employed, ultimately as soon as necessary strength was assembled, democracy would be promptly [Page 304] eliminated and a large base for subversion elsewhere would be established.

—Finally, the Congressman emphasized that rumors of massive Soviet aid, military equipment and reasonable treatment invariably are used to placate doubters.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, 1970. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.
  2. Document 116.
  3. No substantive record was found of the meeting between Haig and the Chilean Congressman, beyond that which is described here. On September 18, pro-Alessandri Senator Pedro Ibáñez met with Nachmanoff. Ibáñez made nearly identical points as those recorded here by Haig. Furthermore, a note attached to Nachmanoff’s September 18 memorandum, reporting his meeting with Ibáñez to Kissinger, stated that Haig had also seen Ibáñez as Kissinger requested. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, 1970)
  4. The 40 Committee met on September 24. See footnote 1, Document 117.
  5. See Document 95.