325. Memorandum From the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Crimmins) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Porter)1


  • Chilean Congressional Elections

In an information memorandum of 6 April CIA reviewed the role of US covert assistance to opposition parties in the 4 March Chilean Congressional elections.2 The Agency noted that of the $1,627,666 approved by the 40 Committee to help the opposition, all but $25,000 was spent. The Agency believes that our help was effectively used. The opposition nonetheless did not do as well as had been hoped, losing to the government coalition two Senate seats and four in the Chamber. It did retain a majority in both houses. CIA believes this result did not reflect lack of energy or organization in the opposition, but rather a conviction on the part of lower income groups and younger voters that their interests lie with Allende and his Popular Unity forces. The Agency’s view that our aid was effective is based principally on the organizational improvements that it facilitated among the opposition elements, chiefly the Christian Democrats and the Nationalists, which it believes should have long-range value.

In its paper, the Agency states that it may prove desirable in the future to provide additional funds to the Chilean opposition. ARA and INR will submit their recommendations on such a proposal if and when it is made. We have been giving assistance to the opposition since Allende came into power, and we believe that on the whole our help has put the opposition in a substantially better position than it otherwise would be. ARA and INR will nonetheless look with considerable care at any new proposals for aid in the light of conditions in Chile as they have developed since our program of aid first began after Allende’s victory.

The Agency memorandum has been submitted for the information of the 40 Committee Principals.

  1. Source: Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, INR/IL Historical Files, Chile, 40 Committee Action after September 1970. Secret. Drafted by Gardner and released by McAfee. Sent through George C. Denney, Deputy Director of the INR, who initialed the memorandum. At the bottom of the page, “Read by Amb Porter—May 8, 73, am,” is written in an unknown hand.
  2. The April 6 memorandum to the 40 Committee is Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973, Document 133.