75. Telegram From the Embassy in Chile to the Department of State1

3568. Eyes Only for Crimmins From Korry. Ref State 147740.2

1. I briefed extremely skeptical CAS on my opinions before sending Santiago 3548.3 I did not show him or anyone else reftel for following reasons:

A. Ever since Alessandri defeat CAS has been rather demoralized. The departure from Chile of his most intimate friends and the general [Page 209] helplessness of the situation added to the very profound distrust and lack of confidence he has always had in Frei.

B. I want him to continue to wind down. At this point it is essential that CAS not repeat not be involved beyond minimal informational gathering.

C. I sent Santiago 35644 (PDC opposition to Allende taking shape) and Santiago 35655 (Alessandri stays in runoff) that clearly confirm the opinions I had expressed to CAS and all the other doubting Thomases before the confirming evidence began coming in. They have read those. I believe these cables and ensuing events are having the desired effect of re-awakening the battle flame but I do not wish it to spurt into unwanted, unnecessary and even harmful fervor.

2. Santiago 35376 was approved totally by CAS and by other senior officials in Mission. It represents the unanimous view that army is not geared to do anything effective. It represents the unanimous view that the military, aside from the unpredictable Viaux type muckup that is always possible, will only play a supporting role to Frei. The same cable represented the equally unanimous view that the economic and political right also had only one remaining option—the same as the military in support of Frei’s play.

3. Alessandri’s statement on which I have worked since before the elections and which was made a few hours ago has set off a political storm.7 It will, I hope, galvanize the panicked Alessandri camp into a last ditch fight behind Frei who met in extraordinary session with his Cabinet tonight. The Alessandri statement was cleared with Frei beforehand. It carries the support of Senators Bulnes (National Party) and Senator Duran (Democratic Radical) who speak for the Alessandri camp. I met tonight with Deputy Silvia Alessandri at her request. Her only interest was to beg me for visas for her family; I sought to convert this tearful scene into political action. I think I did.

4. The point of all the foregoing is that you have enough in the cables cited in Para 1–C above to discuss my true views with CAS Headquarters there. And you can draw on my Nodis message as you best see fit. Events have moved so fast that the contents of my Nodis are really public knowledge here in that Alessandri and Frei have showed [Page 210] their hands. What my colleagues have persistently correctly labelled a Rube Goldberg contraption and which I alone have persisted in making the repository of my hopes to overturn Allende is sputtering into action. It is still a long shot that it will work but the odds are improving by the hour. And the US need not do anything for the moment although inevitably I expect some requests for some kind of material support.

5. In connection with the Rube Goldberg contraption, could you tell Ambassador Doug Henderson to permit Professor Rosenstein-Rodan to telephone me at Dept expense tomorrow. FYI I briefed the good prof who is a confidante of Frei on the contraption a week before the election and arranged for him to provide some necessary moral support for Frei from non-Americans with the potential to touch the President. Now is the time for him to come to the aid of this party and the prof apparently understood that need by having Henderson message he would be available for calls in Washington starting Sept 10th. He should be informed that overseas calls are probably being tapped now.

6. Dare I conclude by saying “put yourself in my place?”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 14 CHILE. Secret; Immediate; Eyes Only. A stamped notation on the first page reads, “Action Copy.”
  2. Document 74.
  3. Document 73.
  4. Telegram 3564 from Santiago, September 9. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 CHILE)
  5. Telegram 3565 from Santiago, September 9, reported that Alessandri had announced that he would not withdraw his candidacy prior to the Congressional run-off. (Ibid, POL 15–2 CHILE)
  6. Document 68.
  7. Alessandri announced on September 9 that he would resign the Presidency if Congress elected him. (“Chilean Rightist Won’t Take Office: His Apparent Aim Is to Bar Marxist From Presidency,” New York Times, September 10, 1970, p. 2)