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

3642. Eyes only for the Secretary from Ambassador Korry. Ref State 149384.2

1. To answer your questions in chronological order:

2. The entire Embassy has formally been instructed to seek no contacts and only respond to requests for appointments. In certain cases we have urged that the Congressmen and other politicians seeking repeated appointments desist from coming to this Embassy. Furthermore I requested CAS 48 hours ago to prepare a message to his Director with my approval informing the latter of our joint recommendation to cease all CAS political action mechanism. In fact such CAS political action stopped several days ago. The DAO’s office has been similarly instructed to hold contacts to the barest minimum. The US business community was similarly advised by me as reported.

3. As for the contacts we have, the message we give to them is contained in the President’s message to the Congress outlining known U.S. attitudes.3 We have made no commitments; we have turned aside requests for money; we have held to our line of no intervention in Chilean internal affairs.

4. As for “worked on” as an operative verb, it was a poor one and I can only apologize that the press of much business does not make for careful drafting of every message, especially on three hours sleep a [Page 222] night. I had reported prior to the elections via CAS channels that it was essential that Alessandri not cede to Allende if flexibility were to be retained. That statement of fact was conveyed to Alessandri by Chileans to whom the fact had been stated by CAS reps and who then acted upon it.

5. As for methodology, prior to receipt of reftel tonight I had in quick and unexpected succession three different high level reps of Frei visit my home, each barely missing the other—Min Defense Ossa, President of Senate Pablo and ex-Finance Minister (and one of original wise men of Alliance for Progress) Raul Saez. Each was seeking information of what we knew of situation and indirectly asking for advice. Equally indirectly they received the advice but nothing committed the USG at any time. However if you wish I shall inform them that the USG is considering the question of our attitude to Allende govt and that we cannot give any indirect or direct encouragement to their actions. Such a message, I should add, will guarantee the election of Allende.

6. The questions put to me in the CAS Sept 9 cable were answered this evening and I believe are available in CAS Headquarters/Washington.4 I cannot check at this hour to verify that they have actually been sent from here by their communications. In any event it clearly rules out any military role.

7. I wish to make it most clear that if the Frei forces are left totally to their own devices and resources intellectual first and material second, or if they meet with the posture laid out in para 6, it is my very considered opinion that (a) Allende will be elected (b) that the USG will be blamed by many and publicly by the most influential after his election for having taken that decision. I want to be equally straight-forward in saying that if such are the desires of the USG I shall carry them out but with those clear assumptions in my own mind.

8. I appreciate your sympathy. I would only note that the same hesitations and same concerns were expressed in the pre-electoral period. Nothing warranted them and our actions were carried out without a hitch of any kind that exposed the US except for one known to the Dept done without my knowledge. We are in a very fluid situation in which events overtake planning as the message to CAS Headquarters clearly states. An act of commission [omission?] is no less an act. What one does not do is as much an action as one does do. The question of whether Chile will be a Communist state or not is being decided now. I would hope and I would expect that a decision as to which the US would prefer and what it permits to be done about it will not await committee meetings whose decisions will once again be over [Page 223] taken by events. In the interim I shall bear uppermost in mind your views.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL CHILE–US. Secret; Immediate; Nodis; Eyes Only. A stamped notation on the first page reads, “Action Copy.”
  2. Dated September 11. (Ibid., POL 14 CHILE)
  3. Reference is presumably to Nixon’s first annual report to Congress on U.S. foreign policy, February 18, 1970. (Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 116–190)
  4. Documents 71 and 79.