355. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

SUBJECT

  • Talk with Chilean Junta Leader

General Pinochet, President of the Chilean Junta, has had a secret meeting with the Chief of the U.S. Military Advisory Group, Colonel Urrutia, whom he used as an intermediary to send a message to the U.S. Ambassador.2 He conveyed the following:

1) The new Chilean Government intends to break relations with Cuba, the USSR, North Vietnam and North Korea. They also intend to clean out pro-Marxist militants from Chilean diplomatic missions abroad.

2) The Junta’s fundamental desire is to strengthen traditional ties of friendship with the U.S. They hope we can see our way clear to give them relief for one year on Chile’s debt to the U.S.3 They think they will need a year to “straighten things out.”

3) They intend to honor Chile’s copper debt obligation and look forward to working out some mutually acceptable solution.

4) They hope we will be able to help supply them with food—with wheat as a first need but including other food products.

5) They continue to be interested in buying U.S. military equipment, including M–60 tanks. (He noted in this connection that Allende [Page 921]had been pushing the Army very hard in recent days to buy Soviet equipment but that the Army opposed such procurement.)4

He noted that he and his colleagues had not even hinted to us beforehand of their planned action and said he thought it had been better that way.

At the end of the conversation, General Pinochet called in several of his military colleagues. Col. Urrutia’s impression was that they are pleased at the way things are going. They see their immediate problem as one of eliminating isolated pockets of resistance and snipers. As a parting note, the General said the new government intends to declare illegal the two major parties of the Marxist coalition (the Socialists and the Communists) as well as sympathetic minor parties.

Pinochet understands and is relaxed about the matter of recognition. He volunteered that obviously the U.S. should not be the first to announce its intention to continue relations with the new Chilean Government. He also recognized the advisability of avoiding too much public identification with us for the moment.5

Ways in which we can respond to the Chilean questions and their needs will be the subject of Friday’s WSAG meeting.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. VIII. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. See Document 350.
  3. Nixon underlined this sentence and next to this paragraph he wrote, “K[iss-inger]—OK.”
  4. Next to this paragraph, the President wrote, “K[issinger]—OK.”
  5. Nixon underlined this sentence and wrote in the margin, “good.”
  6. See footnote 7, Document 353.