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

1. My travel suggestion predicated only on situation here becoming clearly definite re Allende’s election. As originally put to you, if Junta took different tack, I would remain.

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2. Re MAP, my suggestion would be to “hold in abeyance” all MAP deliveries.2 I would avoid even within USG term “suspension.” The action, I recognize, is exactly the same, but I believe it would be very imprudent and would create greater support for Allende if we were to adopt a visible public repeat public posture of hostility at this point by semantical inadvertence. While even Allende would accept that it is logical for the US not to throw good money after bad without our knowing the future, and while I have been putting into circulation in the Allende camp the explanation that US credits in the private sector are tight because of simple commercial prudence, it would be illogical and resented by a wide swath of non-Marxist Chileans for us to anticipate Allende by making the first public hostile moves. In sum public repeat public prudence is understandable; public hostility is not.

3. In this connection, I had originally recommended the holding in abeyance of all MAP-sponsored Chilean military going to the US or Panama for training. The one officer who was planning to leave at that time for a year in Panama, the Deputy G–2 of the Air Force, left a week ago. There are none other immediately scheduled but I would like to inform the Armed Forces and the Carabineros that the next-scheduled courses are being held in abeyance pending firmer knowledge of the future course of relations between our two countries. Such a decision would be transmitted to the Armed Service chiefs individually and in a manner calculated not to breed their resentment against us.

4. In general my counsel would be to follow the tactics of Allende and the PCCh with the Christian Democrats insofar as our dealings with them and Chile are concerned. We should for the time being present an unperturbed exterior while minding the interior by propagating facts to the world and while improving our position vis-à-vis Allende. We should even consider sending a normal delegation to his inauguration while being damned tough in our private negotiations and while keeping maximum pressure on him and his economy. We cannot, as I told Lleras Restrepo, help a country to establish a Marxist-Leninist structure in the most comfortable way possible via our support, direct or indirect, public or private. But we cannot be pushed into the public position of seeming to oppose changes per se in economic and social structure; it is freedom and the USSR that are our justifiable concerns. So far we have been successful in pursuing this dual policy here and, I assume, in Washington. It should not be changed for the present.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Chile–ITTCIA 1963–1977, Lot 81D121, Documents Requested by the Department of Justice, 1970–1977. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 127.