72. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Station in Chile1

Ref: [less than 1 line not declassified]2

1. It is reasonably clear, in exploring avenues to prevent an Allende government from exercising power, that (a) the political/constitutional route in any form is a non-starter and (b) the only prospect with any chance of success whatsoever is a military golpe either before or immediately after Allende’s assumption of power. This cable is addressed to the operational task of establishing those direct contacts with the Chilean military which are required to evaluate possibilities and, at least equally important, could be used to stimulate a golpe if and when a decision were made to do so. At this juncture, this undertaking is to be treated strictly as a [less than 1 line not declassified] matter and, as such, is not repeat not to be discussed with [less than 1 line not declassified] or any other [less than 1 line not declassified] outside the Station. It has not been coordinated with [name not declassified] and may not be until in ultimate decision stage.

2. What it is desired for Station to do is to establish as many direct contacts with influential military figures in near future as it possibly can. We recognize the problems inherent in doing this securely in face of present limited entree to military figures of stature and in doing this surreptitiously (in effect) without blessing and cognizance of [name not declassified]. If useful, HQS is prepared to bring in under any guise or arrangement you deem best (and without knowledge of [less than 1 line not declassified]) suitable [less than 1 line not declassified] personnel [less than 1 line not declassified] to make such contacts.

3. To render maximum support to this effort HQS is in process of querying [3 lines not declassified]. We will not bother you with all the lateral traffic on this HQS phase of the activity except to indicate that all traffic will be in [less than 1 line not declassified] and, as results thereof are winnowed, you will be provided with leads and possibilities immediately. In this connection, HQS will be prepared to consider having any individual with a useful and significant past contact to TDY to Santiago [2½ lines not declassified].

[Page 204]

4. HQS is quite aware of the delicacies, risks, and other problems associated with this program. Despite these factors, we—and this includes [name not declassified]—place the highest priority on it as is obvious from the foregoing. With respect to ref program, for the record we are to proceed with our fair share of the burden in those deliberations and activities as though nothing else is on the drawing board.

5. Finally, all of us certainly recognize what a burden you have carried over the past months and what fine job you have done under, certainly, less than ideal conditions. This, we know, is asking undoubtedly the most difficult series of maneuvers yet in the final stages of this operation. If there is anything we can do to support or assist your endeavors, we will if it is possible to do so. Please give us any thoughts you may have in that respect.

6. [name not declassified] will arrive 11 Sept on [less than 1 line not declassified] to discuss this with you. [less than 1 line not declassified] will be travelling on [less than 1 line not declassified] and has requested return reservations [less than 1 line not declassified]. Please cable contact instructions for outside [less than 1 line not declassified] discussions. Do not repeat not discuss this visit with Chief, [less than 1 line not declassified].

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Chile–ITTCIA 1963–1977, Lot 81D121, Interview with Secretary Kissinger, January 10, 1976. Secret; Priority. Printed from a previously redacted text; the full text was not found.
  2. Message from Assistant Secretary Meyer and [name not declassified] requesting a “cold-blooded assessment” of the realism and feasibility of any action by the military. [Footnote is in the original.]