204. Memorandum From Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Message from Ambassador Korry (Santiago 719—CAS Channel)

Ambassador Korry has sent you a backchannel Eyes Only message (Tab B)2 (1) lamenting the Washington Post story (Tab C)3 about his being replaced, and (2) calling your attention to complaints against the Administration by Anaconda officials in Chile.

Korry notes that he anticipated the leak about his tenure when he discussed this subject with you several weeks ago.4 He also comments that the leak, and the State Department’s prepared press guidance (Tab D)5 in response to the story damage our negotiating position. He adds that many in Washington do not understand the significance of what is happening in Chile.

I assume that you will want to express dismay over the Washington Post story and give Korry some reassurance. I have included a paragraph along those general lines in your suggested reply to Korry at Tab [Page 553] A.6 However, since I do not have the whole picture, you may wish to modify this paragraph to include some comment on Korry’s future status.

The cable reporting on Anaconda’s unhappiness is at Tab E.7 Anaconda apparently wants a public statement by the President or Secretary Rogers that the U.S. will react forcefully and Chile will suffer if the Chilean Government expropriates Anaconda properties without fair compensation. They believe the GOC has concluded that there is no real risk of a damaging confrontation with the U.S. over copper and hence they believe a high level statement is needed to convince the Chileans that we will react.

In accordance with the decision of the SRG, Korry has made a démarche to the Chilean Foreign Minister informing him of the U.S. position with regard to expropriation and of the applicable provisions of U.S. law should Chile expropriate U.S. properties without fair compensation.8 There can be no doubt that the Chilean Government is aware of our position and of the pertinent provisions of our laws. You will also recall that the SRG agreed that U.S. officials should not comment publicly on the proposed constitutional amendment while it is in the Chilean legislative process, but in response to questions, should state our general position—i.e., that we expect that prompt, fair and adequate compensation will be paid for nationalized properties.

I do not believe that any public threats by the President or the Secretary of State, as suggested by the Anaconda officials, would be useful because:

—Application of the Hickenlooper sanctions would not be perceived by the GOC as a serious problem since our aid programs are so small and their economic position is relatively strong at this time.

—Threats would just give the GOC a nationalistic justification for what they are likely to do anyway; this is one issue where Allende can only gain support in Chile and Latin America—witness, the support the Ecuadoreans received when we publicly applied sanctions in the tuna boat dispute.

[Page 554]

—We are likely to lose what little flexibility there may be in the situation by a public attack—we can and should continue to make the GOC aware of the consequences of their actions privately.

Thus far, Anaconda has not put a great deal of pressure on the State Department. I met with Anaconda’s Washington representative last week and he seemed to recognize that public threats at this time would probably do more harm than good to the company’s position.

Recommendation: That you approve the message to Korry at Tab A.9

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 774, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. III. Secret; Eyes Only; Outside System. Sent for action.
  2. For the text of Tab B, dated January 29, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973, Document 48.
  3. The attached January 29 article described Allende’s “opening to the North” and suggested that it appeared to have tempered the misgivings within the Nixon administration about the election of a Marxist. The article also noted, “In what appears to be a conciliatory response, the United States is planning to replace its Ambassador in Santiago, Edward M. Korry. He has so alienated Allende that there have been no official dealings between the two men. At one point, it has now been disclosed, the Chilean President was prepared to declare Korry persona non grata. But he was prevailed upon to let Korry stay and has now received assurances that a replacement will be named soon, possibly in March.” (Marilyn Berger, “Overture from Chile Tempers U.S. Fears,” Washington Post, January 29, p. A12)
  4. See Document 192.
  5. Attached at Tab D is a January 29 press briefing paper stating, “The Allende government has never told us of any complaints about Ambassador Korry. I have seen the press report you refer to but I have no idea where the (persona non grata) rumor started; to my knowledge, it is entirely without foundation. On the contrary, Ambassador Korry has had good normal relations with the new Chilean Administration. Now, as you know, the White House must be the source of information on Ambassadorial appointments; but I can say that we have not given the Chileans any indication of a new U.S. ambassador.”
  6. Tab A, a draft reply, states, “I was dismayed by Washington Post article which can only serve to damage our position vis-à-vis the GOC. I share your outrage over the misleading and erroneous personal inferences in that article. I want to assure you that you continue to have the President’s and my deep admiration and gratitude for your dedicated service.” It went on to note, “We are prepared to indicate publicly at the highest level our general position on expropriation and compensation, but continue to believe that public threats specifically concerning the pending Chilean constitutional amendment on copper nationalization would be counterproductive at this time.” It concludes, “Your perceptive reporting on the situation in Chile has been very helpful.”
  7. Attached but not printed at Tab E is telegram 550 from Santiago, January 29.
  8. See Document 202.
  9. Kissinger did not check either the Approve or Disapprove option and wrote at the top of the first page of the memorandum, “Noncommittal answer. HK.” On February 10, Kissinger approved the following backchannel message to Korry sent the next day: “I appreciated receiving the information and comments provided in reftel. I am continuing to follow the Chile situation closely, and your perceptive reporting has been very helpful. I will look forward to talking with you about some of the problems you mentioned when you are next in Washington. In the meantime, you can be sure that I am very conscious of the concerns you raised.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 774, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. III)