297. Editorial Note

The February–April 1972 Paris Club meetings to reschedule Chile’s debt demonstrated differences between different groups of U.S. policymakers. President Richard M. Nixon and the Treasury Department (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury John M. Hennessy led the U.S. delega-tion) initially called for a hard-line approach, specifically bilateral negotiations where presumably the United States would have more leverage over Chile (for Nixon’s perspective, see Document 287 and the footnotes thereto). Accordingly, Treasury at first opposed the signing of the Paris agreement. Department of State officials, however, called for multilateral arbitration to reschedule Chile’s debt. They feared that if the United States rejected such arbitration at the Paris Club meetings, Allende would portray North American inflexibility as an example of a U.S. attempt to undermine his regime and would then whip up anti-United States, nationalistic fervor (especially after the International Telephone and Telegraph revelations). (Telegram 1536 from Santiago, April 1; National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, Briefing Books, 1958–1976, Lot 72D30, U.S.-Chile Background Papers, April 1972; see also Document 298) Ambassador Nathaniel M. Davis made the point that State’s view concurred with NSDM 93 (Document 175) and cautioned against giving Allende a foreign target he could use to rally support. Treasury dropped its opposition to signing and the United States signed the multilateral debt rescheduling agreement on April 20. At first, Allende demurred from signing, citing Chilean internal politics. However, in the end, Allende signed the agreement and received approximately $250 million in debt relief.