128. Memorandum From the Central Intelligence Agency to the Ambassador to Chile (Davis)1


  • 4 March 1973 Congressional Elections

1. This memorandum on the electoral campaign contains our current estimates on the outcome of the various races, the status of our funding and expenditures, and a proposal for funding private sector elements to have them play a role in the campaign.

A. Status/Estimate of Races


We foresee a 14–11 split (16–9 at present). The critical senatorial races are the fourth, sixth and eighth districts where it is conceivable that CODE could pick up the fourth senatorial seat. 67 or 68 percent of the total vote is needed. The weakest candidates are: Mercado (second district), Labbe (fourth district), Velasco (seventh district), Philips (eighth district), and Morales (tenth district).

Chamber of Deputies

We foresee a 88–62 split (93–57 at present). The opposition could pick up as many as 6 above the base of 88. After that it gets extremely difficult.

[Page 665]

Among the deputy races there are no races that are considered “critical” in the provinces returning five deputies because the opposition does not believe it has enough electoral strength (68 percent) to win the fourth seat. The same principle applies to the deputy races in which the provinces return two or three deputies (with the possible exception of Maule (3).) The critical deputy races are for the third seat in the provinces returning four deputies (Colchagua, Linares, Bio-Bio), the fourth seat of six deputies (O’Higgins, Malleco), the fourth seat of seven (Antofagasta, Coquimbo), the sixth seat of nine (Concepcion), the seventh seat of ten (Cautin), the seventh seat of twelve (Valparaiso), and the eleventh seat of 18 (Santiago). In these races a CODE strength of 62/63 percent would probably win the contested seat.

B. Financial Status

[dollar amount not declassified]

[chart not declassified]

[3 paragraphs (30 lines) not declassified]

It is proposed that these funds be used during the months of January and February to help the [less than 1 line not declassified] organize a get-out-the-vote campaign. During meetings held by [less than 1 line not declassified] they have decided that this kind of activity by them is feasible and desirable. Funds would be used to pay for propaganda, transportation and other costs incidental to this effort. It is proposed that these funds be provided for this purpose without revealing United States Government sponsorship. [20 lines not declassified]

2. The following comments were provided by the DCM on 5 January:

Chargé concurs in the proposed use of the contingency fund, but believes consideration of additional funding for the PDC may prove necessary if [less than 1 line not declassified] support is not forthcoming. Chargé also concurs in [less than 1 line not declassified] project as outlined. Project appears to have adequate security safeguards and could be helpful in reaching voters who are normally inaccessible to political parties; it is his understanding that funds for this purpose will not be diverted from financing of political parties.

  1. Summary: This memorandum discussed the political climate in Chile leading up to the March 1973 congressional elections. It predicted a split in the senatorial race that could pose problems for U.S. interests in the future. It then concluded with a proposal to financially support opposition parties in Chile.

    Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Chile 1973–. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. A notation in an unknown hand on the top of the first page reads: “Handed Amb. Davis at CAS hq on 1/10/73.” Davis, who was in Washington for consultations, met with Shackley and other CIA officers at CIA Headquarters on January 10. An attached note summarizing the memorandum states that the “above proposal has the concurrence of Ambassador Davis and his Deputy Chief of Mission, Harry Shlaudeman, who commented that the proposal appears to have adequate security safeguards and could be helpful in reaching voters who are normally inaccessible to political parties.”