194. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (Walters) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Visit of Chief of Chilean Intelligence Service

Colonel Manuel Contreras, Chief of the Chilean Intelligence Service, arrived in Washington at President Pinochet’s direction to discuss [Page 521] with me certain matters he wished passed to Secretary Kissinger. I saw him on 5 July.

1. Chilean reluctance to receive the UN Human Rights Commission was due to the prejudices and partial statements made by several members of the Commission. This stacked the situation against Chile from the outset. They felt they were in a non-win setup but, mindful of the political importance of receiving this Commission in the U.S. and elsewhere, they were keeping the door open for such a visit at a “more appropriate time.” Initially the Chileans were planning to reject two members of the Commission in the hope that this would discourage the others, but decision for rejection now was taken by Pinochet after Contreras left Santiago.

2. The Chileans hoped they could count on U.S. support and, if need be, veto, againt any attempt to expel Chile from the UN.

3. Chileans feel very concerned about the situation in Peru which now has more than 400 tanks (some without crews) to Chile’s 40. Some of these tanks are now in the south of Peru. Chileans are concerned that Peruvian General Graham may come to power after Velasco. They view Graham as close to the Soviets and a revanchist.

4. Chileans believe that Cubans and Soviets are spurring an effort (supported by Peruvians) to overthrow Banzer in Bolivia and thus align it with Peru.

5. Chileans are having great difficulty in purchasing arms to counterbalance weaponry Peru has received from USSR. President Pinochet would like to see if there is any way the U.S. could arrange indirect military aid for Chile through a third country. Pinochet understands direct military aid is not possible for U.S. now. Contreras says that such countries as Taiwan, Brazil, Paraguay and Spain would be willing to help. Chileans are particularly interested in tanks and anti-tank weapons. They are manufacturing an anti-tank rocket but cannot acquire the solid propellant for it.

6. Colonel Contreras expressed some concern over activities of the PRC Embassy in Santiago. Its members’ constant travelling to Argentina and Peru concerns them.

7. Contreras said Chileans have excellent liaison relationships with both the Argentine and Brazilian Services with broad exchange of information.

8. Contreras transmitted a personal invitation to me from President Pinochet to visit Santiago for Independence Day celebrations on September 18. I told him that I greatly appreciated the invitation but such a public appearance would be exploited against Chile and the Agency and I much hoped to go at another time and more discreetly.

Vernon A. Walters
Lieutenant General, USA
Deputy Director
  1. Summary: At Pinochet’s direction, Contreras met with Walters and discussed Chilean foreign policy concerns, including a proposal for a U.N. Human Rights Commission visit to Chile, possible Peruvian aggression, and the difficulty of acquiring weaponry.

    Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M01542R: Executive Registry Subject Files, Box 2, C–7: Chile. Secret. Rogers informed Kissinger of Walters’s meeting with Contreras on July 7. (Minutes of the Secretary’s Principals’ and Regionals’ Staff Meeting; National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Kissinger Staff Meetings, Lot 78D443, Box 7, Secretary’s Analytical Staff Meetings.) According to a July 7 memorandum summarizing the Walters-Contreras conversation, Contreras indicated that “he exchanges intelligence information regularly with the Argentine and Brazilian security services and noted that he has his own representatives in Buenos Aires and Brasília who work directly with these services.” (Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M01542R: Executive Registry Subject Files, Box 2, C–7: Chile.) In a meeting of Department and CIA officials, July 11, Rogers characterized Contreras as “the most notorious symbol of repression in Chile.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, ARA Weekly Meetings, 1976–1977) In an August 25 meeting with ARA officials regarding a visit to Washington by Contreras at that time, a CIA official referred to Contreras as one of Pinochet’s “unfortunate advisors.” (Ibid.)