36. Backchannel Message From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Crimmins) to the Ambassador to Chile (Korry)1


  • Increased USG Activity in Chilean Election

1. We need your comments on following points by no later than 9:00 AM Monday morning June 22 since your important proposal to be examined at high level on Tuesday June 23.2

[Page 95]

2. It would appear that May poll used as an element of judgment in your analysis reflected results in greater Santiago area only and that you had not yet had benefit of country-wide results. We note that in the Santiago poll Allende is second with 32.1 percent following Alessandri with 35.1 percent, but that in the later national results Allende is in third place with 28.4 percent and Tomic is in second with 29.6 percent. In the latter poll Alessandri still leads with 35.6 percent. Assuming you now have results of both polls, do you believe any modification in your proposal is warranted?

3. We are not clear about the composition and role of [less than 1 line not declassified]. Who are the [less than 1 line not declassified] elements in the [less than 1 line not declassified]. What is the [less than 1 line not declassified] front? What did [less than 1 line not declassified] do in 1964 election? What activity, if any, would [less than 1 line not declassified] carry out as an institution in the expanded program funded by us? Are you completely satisfied that [less than 1 line not declassified] activity is not known to Council for Latin America (whose activity, as you have noted, is fraught with risk)?

4. We are not clear about the intended future role of President Frei. We assume that what you have in mind is in no way related to proposed post-election program but is, rather, encouragement from us to play an active part in influencing votes in the Congress away from Allende.

5. We would appreciate clarification of current activities related to Radical Party. In para 10 of your message you say that—“Another effort to subsidize orthodox Radical Party . . . has been launched.” Are we correct in interpreting this to mean that it is [less than 1 line not declassified] and not rpt not we that has launched another effort? It would also be helpful to our consideration to have some clearer idea of the prior effort implied by the reference to “another” effort.

6. We would appreciate further assessment of the risk factor. Agency has briefed us on the operational details as you suggested in para 15. We have noted the heightened and expanded relationship with [less than 1 line not declassified]. As you know, approval of the earlier, much smaller program was conditioned on its not becoming a pro-Alessandri operation. Given increased dependence [name not declassified] to what degree does proposed greatly augmented program increase risk of use of our effort in behalf of Alessandri rather than against Allende, with obvious disadvantages. If risk is indeed increased, how do you foresee handling the problem? We assume you would agree that, as in modest program, we would suspend expanded program if it were to be used for Alessandri.

7. Still on risk factor, in your telegram 2230 of April 28 commenting on the Anaconda–Parkinson pitch to Assistant Secretary Meyer for [Page 96] USG financial contribution to the Alessandri campaign, you noted “any significant sum arriving from the U.S. would be as discreet as a moon launch.”3 While we recognize that you were talking about a program of support for Alessandri, we would like your comment on relevance that comment to effects of expanded program.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 128, Country Files, Latin America, Chile Wrap-Up and Post Mortem. Secret; Immediate; Sensitive. According to an October 9 CIA memorandum summarizing policy decisions related to the covert action involvement in the Chilean election, this message was sent following a June 19 meeting between representatives of the Department of State and the CIA. At the meeting, Crimmins raised the following objections to the expanded program proposed in Document 35: “(a) he doubted the need for this activity; (b) he was disturbed at the pro-Alessandri cast it took; (c) the risk was greatly heightened by the magnitude of the funds; (d) he was concerned by the vagueness of the arrangements; and (e) about the risk, he noted that what the U.S. Government was trying to avoid might be avoided by natural causes, and, furthermore, an Allende victory may not be the end of the world.” (National Archives, RG 59, Chile–ITTCIA 1963–1977, Lot 81D121, Chile–CIA 1970) No memorandum of conversation of this meeting has been found.
  2. The proposal referred to here generally and in specific paragraphs later in this message is in Document 35. The high-level meeting of June 23 was held on June 27; see Document 41.
  3. The quote is from telegram 1538, Document 33.