191. Editorial Note

On December 18, 1970, the Central Intelligence Agency submitted three memoranda to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger and the members of the 40 Committee in response to instructions given at the December 7 meeting (see Document 188). The memorandum on “Friction within the Unidad Popular” presents a detailed chronology of inter-party strife among members of [Page 511] Chilean President Salvador Allende’s coalition. It goes on to recount CIA’s efforts to exacerbate tensions and embarrass Allende by placing propaganda in the European and Latin American press, underscoring friction within the Unidad Popular (UP), and focusing on Allende’s poor health, heavy drinking, promiscuity, and expensive tastes. Moreover, the CIA had supported efforts to wreak havoc on the Chilean Communist and Socialist Parties by creating a counterbalance to the coalitions and disseminating intelligence designed to foster mistrust. In addition to these and other activities, the CIA intended to plant evidence that Cuba was providing support to sectors of the Allende government, which might “arouse a military reaction vis-à-vis certain sectors of the Allende coalition.” (National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Chile, 303/40 Committee Files)

The memorandum on “Chilean Facilitation of Subversive Activities in Latin America” begins by noting that there was little intelligence that Chile supported guerrilla activities. Thereafter, it catalogues the presence of Latin American leftist leaders in Chile, describes potential institutional vehicles for supporting external subversion (the Chilean Foreign Office, the trade union movement, and international forums) and assesses a possible approach that the Soviet Union might take in employing Chile as a model of successful Marxist government. The text of this memorandum is Document 42 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973.

The memorandum on “Chilean Media Under a Marxist Regime” concludes that political and economic pressures applied by the UP, coupled with a related decrease in advertising revenue, resulted in a significant portion of the Chilean mass communications media focused on receivership and ultimate UP control. It also notes, however, that some newspapers and radio stations directly associated with opposition political parties continued to wage an aggressive anti-Communist campaign. This effort merited encouragement and support. The text of this memorandum is ibid., Document 41.