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

4538. Subj: Talk with Allende Emissary.

1. I agreed to see late Oct 26 after Schneider funeral radical Senator Hugo Miranda who had called on me Sept 10th as Allende’s designated emissary (Santiago 3612)2 and who had been phoning for the past week to learn about the US Delegation to the inauguration. DCM who had contacted Miranda re my recent Washington consultation participated in talk in my office.

2. I told Miranda that Delegation’s composition had not been decided yet. When he remarked that incoming govt wished to have delegation as high as possible, I noted that in four previous Latin inaugurations under Nixon administration that in cases of two (Guatemala and Santo Domingo) there had been no special representation invited from Washington because of host govt’s internal security and that in case of Ecuador and Colombia, Asst Secy Meyer had been head of delegation. Miranda said Allende hoped for higher representation but I gave him no basis for believing that such would be the case or Meyer the man. He then mused that Meyer was really “a Vice-Minister.”

3. Miranda then raised Allende’s preoccupations over USAF pullout from Easter Island and linked AFTAC incorrectly with assertion that NASA also would be evacuating its station outside Santiago. (This subject was the main motivation for my response at this time to Miranda and I wanted to set record straight but in answer to his initiative.) I said that USAF for economy reasons had decided sometime ago to leave Easter Island. Hence it had appeared preferable to me to begin the phaseout under the Frei govt so there would be no misunderstandings later with the new govt. Moreover the absence of such military presences, reflecting what I had understood to be the desires of Allende, would eliminate the whole subject of military bases and there would be no reason therefore in the future to have any problems about or basis for any foreign military installations. DCM explained NASA separate civilian rels with Univ of Chile and its unaffected status.

4. Miranda referred to Secretary of Defense Laird’s recent TV interview in which he had expressed concerns about Chile in the same [Page 413] breath as Cuba. Miranda linked this to what he described as an “interview” given by Dr. Kissinger in Chicago in which the same preoccupations were voiced. I replied that Kissinger had given no interviews and that Secretary Laird’s reference was a vague and conditional one. However I could say in all frankness that it was logical that Americans had certain doubts about the future on the basis of past history. The American public had been told that Mao Tse-tung was an agrarian reformer somewhat of the order of Rafael Moreno (Frei’s land reform chief) and had been informed by the NY Times that Castro was also a benign reformer. I had no doubts about Allende’s honesty and sincerity but the US public had been conditioned by experience to judge by action not by word. The US had recently displayed its most serious concern about the possibility of a Soviet sub base in Cuba; happily the Soviets understood the seriousness of our concern and had responded promptly and constructively. Secretary Laird had this concern in mind when he had appeared on TV several weeks ago and we also had been no less concerned by the Soviet exploitation of a Mideast cease-fire to advance their missiles. The US was on record about this hemisphere and there should be no misunderstandings about the gravity of our concerns if there were to be any other attempts anywhere by the Soviets to position themselves militarily in this half of the globe. I added that Miranda and Allende should read the President’s speech to the United Nations3 which I promised to send together with a clipping of the Oct 23rd NY Times front page picture showing Miranda and Allende. The US felt strongly that the traditional super-power desire to seek every minute advantage at the expense of the other was not only puerile but contrary to the interests of all humanity including the great powers. We hoped the Soviets would also come to understand the greater strategic advantages of peace when measured against ephemeral and dangerous tactical gains.

5. I went on to say that my views on the need for the US presence in Chile to be reduced were well-known to the Frei govt. Whoever was President of Chile, I would continue to press for such reduction. The US was anxious not to take an overly prominent role in Chile’s internal affairs. Increasingly we counted on multilateral institutions. We would continue to confine ourselves to bilateral matters of concern to the two govts. I had no desire, and never had, to be known unofficially as an extra-official member of any foreign govt. I hoped that he and the new govt would understand these views.

6. Miranda said he welcomed the frank exposition and the clear language. However he returned to the Kissinger-Laird statements and [Page 414] threw in the US press as well to say that US doubts were not justified, that Allende wished good relations etc. He referred to concerns that Chile might serve as a model or stimulant for similarly political arrangements in LatAm, denying that this could be the case since each country has its own “conditions”. Miranda then remarked that “we are not exporters of revolution, we export copper; and we want to sell our copper for dollars and to maintain and expand our traditional markets.” I made no comment on that point.

7. I told Miranda that I accepted his statements without reservation but that I had had to report to my govt and had had to raise with the Frei govt the orchestrated campaign of all Popular Unity media and of its leading spokesmen against the US. I repeated the statements I had made to MinState Troncoso and later to Acting Foreign Min Silva last week (Santiago 4483)4 and said that if this campaign continued I could only conclude that the U.P. wanted to launch the Allende govt in a climate of hostility to the US and that I would recommend to my govt that all Americans except those necessary to maintain formal diplomatic relations be promptly withdrawn. Miranda replied that I should understand that an Allende govt had not yet been formed, that there had been the Schneider episode and that once Allende took office these matters would be better handled. I observed that I could not ask for a controlled press when we had so much admiration for the democratic institutions of Chile but that my reporting to Washington would be based on the actions of the Allende govt and such as1sessment would include orchestrated press campaigns.

8. Conversation was friendly throughout and in final moments I noted to Miranda that we were having important elections next week in the US where policy towards Chile had not yet been considered. I had gone to Washington to report on events here and to do nothing more than settle some housekeeping details such as AFTAC.

9. Miranda lamented on several occasions what he described as inadequate channels of communication between Popular Unity and USG during this period, but observed that situation would be corrected when new government constituted. I agreed and said that I would look forward after Dr. Allende had taken office to discussing with him and his government bilateral problems as they may arise. Point was thus made that I do not plan call on Allende before Nov 4.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHILE–US. Secret; Priority; Exdis. This telegram was brought to Kissinger’s attention by a memorandum from Vaky, October 28. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 774, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. II)
  2. Telegram 3612 from Santiago, September 11. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 CHILE)
  3. President Nixon concluded his October 23 address to the UN General Assembly by calling for the “mutual respect that fosters peace.” The address is printed in full in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1969–1972, Document 78.
  4. Document 163.