213. Memorandum From Frank Chapin of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Progress Report on Preparations for the Chilean April 1971 Elections, Including a PDC Request for Additional Campaign Funds

The attached memorandum forwarded by Dick Helms reports on actions taken by CIA since 28 January when the 40 Committee authorized financial support in the total amount of $1,240,000 to various Chilean opposition parties for the April 1971 municipal elections and for the purchase of media outlets.2

[Page 591]

The memorandum also requests approval for another [dollar amount not declassified] which the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) is urgently seeking for additional electoral support of its candidates. This would bring the total authorization of funds for PDC electoral support to [dollar amount not declassified].

Because of the time factor, Dick Helms has asked that the members of the 40 Committee give their telephonic approval to upping the ante of the financial support originally approved by the extra [dollar amount not declassified] requested by the PDC. Messrs. Mitchell, Irwin, Johnson, Packard, and Admiral Moorer have all concurred in authorizing this extra sum for PDC electoral support.

The CIA paper points out that the Allende government is supporting a massive drive for electoral support to the UP parties and that the Communist Party in particular has been spending unprecedented sums of money in an especially impressive election effort. Allende is reported as having expressed the fear that the UP will receive less than 50% of the total vote which would make it more difficult for the UP to justify acceleration of its program than if it received more than 50%.

The National Party (PN) campaign has thus far been conducted with seeming effectiveness, and the PN hopes to garner about 25% of the vote. [less than 1 line not declassified] there has been some muting of PN attacks on the PDC but this has not ceased completely.

There is still factionalization within the PDC between the Tomic left wing and Frei’s moderate faction. In addition, UP proselytizing and physical threats among lower income group PDC supporters has badly hurt the PDC. Despite organizational weaknesses the PDC election campaign has gotten off to a vigorous start, [less than 1 line not declassified], and they are attempting to eliminate feuding with other opposition parties, particularly the PN.

The Democratic Radical Party (PDR) campaign is a quiet one stressing personal contacts. It is properly targeted at those Radical Party members who defected to Alessandri during the last presidential campaign, reminding them that a vote for the Radical Party signifies an endorsement of the Allende regime. PDR leaders have been helpful in reducing frictions between PN and PDC campaign leaders. The PDR hopes to get about 6% of the total vote in the municipal elections.

The Zaldivar (PDC) campaign for Allende’s vacated Senate seat has been enhanced by the withdrawal of Sylvia Alessandri’s candidacy, [3 lines not declassified]. Zaldivar is energetic and running an impressive personal campaign, but the Agency is presently skeptical that Ovalle will withdraw.

The reason for the PDC request for an additional [dollar amount not declassified] in electoral support funds is simply that it is not receiving the large industrial and commercial campaign contributions on which [Page 592] it had relied. From a campaign planning standpoint the PDC must now know whether additional funds will be available or whether it must scale down its activities during the final and crucial days of the campaign. The additional funds should be sufficient to enable the party to maintain its campaign at optimum level [3 lines not declassified].


That you approve the additional [dollar amount not declassified] requested by the PDC for electoral support in the current election campaign.3

  1. Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Chile, 1971–72. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for action. Chapin noted in an attached March 17 memorandum to Kennedy, “I will appreciate anything you can do to get HAK’s approval on this expeditiously and let me know so that CIA can send appropriate notification to the field. I am well aware that Henry does not normally like to handle these matters without formally convening a 40 Committee meeting. However, timing is urgent, the approval sought is limited to an increase in funds for a program already discussed and approved, and all other members of the 40 Committee have now voted in the affirmative.” (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 201. Attached but not printed is the March 15 memorandum for the 40 Committee. The memorandum is Document 56 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973.
  3. Kissinger initialed the Approve option on March 22.