347. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1
- Coup in Chile—Situation Report
The Chilean Armed Forces have apparently carried out a successful coup against Marxist President Salvador Allende. An unconfirmed report from Santiago says that Allende has committed suicide in his office in the Presidential Palace.2
A defiant (and reportedly drunk) Allende finally accepted defeat after Chilean Air Force planes bombed the Palace. The building was set afire and reports from the scene indicate it was virtually destroyed.
There has been sporadic sniper fire in downtown Santiago—apparently from Allende supporters. But preliminary indications are that the loss of life has been small.
The junta of military leaders that claims full power is taking a strong stand against any resistance. It has also insisted that persons with arms turn them in or suffer the consequences. A state of siege has been declared and a tight curfew imposed.
Thus far, the new junta has given no indication of the general line it intends to follow nor has it made any announcement of its intention to carry out new national elections.[Page 898]
The military leaders have ordered all Allende government officials and coalition party leaders to turn themselves in by 4:30 p.m. today or face “severe consequences.”
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. VIII. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.↩
- The Embassy sent a translation of Allende’s final statement in telegram 4092, September 11, 1415Z. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number]) For an examination of the evidence on the nature of Allende’s death, see Davis, Last Two Years, pp. 277–306.↩