141. Excerpts From Testimony Before Congress by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Kubisch) and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Shlaudeman)1


Before the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations, September 12, 1973

Senator Church: We may not have engineered that overthrow in Brazil, but information that has come to this Committee and been authenticated shows we had lots do with it in the end. The same as now is true with Chile.

Mr. Kubisch: To the best of my knowledge, no sir. (p. 15)

Senator Church: There were two events, one the miners’ strike that has been well publicized, which apparently was undertaken to bring down the government or it may have had that as its objective. And the other is the “pots and pans” demonstration that took place earlier, much to the embarrassment of the Government, I think. Were we involved in any way in either of those activities? Were we behind them in any way? Was the CIA involved in them? Did we give financial support to them? (p. 24)

Mr. Kubisch: No.

Before the House Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs, September 20, 1973

Mr. Kubisch: In sum, it is untrue to say that the United States Government was responsible either directly or indirectly for the overthrow of the Allende Regime. (p. 8)

We were not responsible for the difficulty in which Chile found itself. It is not for us to judge what would have been best or will now be best for the Chilean people. (p. 9)

Mr. Fascell: ... The question is whether or not the U.S. Government directly or indirectly financed in any way the activities of the opposition of the Allende Government. (p. 45)

[Page 729]

Mr. Kubisch: Mr. Chairman, here again I think this is something that we should discuss in an executive session. I really don’t want to get into any statements today in a public session that could be carried on the press that would give misleading impressions abroad. I certainly don’t want to add to that. I just want to reaffirm categorically that we were not involved in any way in the overthrow of President Allende or his government, not the U.S. Government and not any element of the U.S. Government, including the Central Intelligence Agency. (p. 45)

Mr. Fascell: The official answer is that the United States Government knows nothing about it (Operation Centaur) and was not involved in any way? (p. 46)

Mr. Kubisch: That’s right.

Before the Executive Session of the Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs, September 25, 1973

Mr. Kubisch: Mr. Fraser, I will tell you all that I know that I am sure of, and that I feel authorized to speak on. In that connection, I want to exclude my competence to testify on CIA activities in Chile prior to the time I became Assistant Secretary of State on May 29th of this year. (p. 23)

Separate limitations on what I feel qualified or authorized to speak to. Yes; that is correct. In other words, I don’t feel qualified nor am I prepared to go back and discuss all the allegations about ITT and CIA going back to early this year, or last year, or alleged CIA involvement in clandestine activities in Chile. (p. 24)

I believe that if the Subcommittee wants to get into that kind of information it should get someone who is better equipped to respond to those questions.

Mr. Fraser: Let me ask you this question, Mr. Secretary: Were there any decisions taken by the National Security Council regarding the position of the United States in giving tacit or covert encouragement or support to opposition groups in Chile let’s say during 1973?

Mr. Kubisch: I am thinking carefully about this because it is an important question, Mr. Fraser. (p. 25)

I cannot recall any NSC decisions of that type.

Mr. Fraser: I am not asking if decisions were made during this year; if they were operated during this year.

Mr. Kubisch: I know of none.

Mr. Kubisch: Well, I am familiar with CIA operations in Chile; yes. I believe I am, and I believe I am fully informed at the moment on CIA activities in Chile, both intelligence-gathering, counter-intelligence, and their other activities there.

But, as an official of the Department of State, I do not feel really competent to speak for CIA and its activities in Chile. (p. 26)

[Page 730]

Mr. Kubisch: If I may just make a general observation on that, without trying to speak for CIA, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Fraser, I would say this:

In my judgment—I speak this very honestly and candidly and sincerely—the kinds of things that you have in mind, I believe—I think it would be a mistake to think that the United States did anything that had any kind of significant impact on what has happened in Chile. I do not exclude the possibility that there were some small program or activities that within the United States Government there was sponsorship of, but compared to what the situation was in Chile, compared to what has happened—and taken in the context of what has happened in Chile—I would say they were insignificant or nearly insignificant, what I know of them. (p. 27)

Mr. Kubisch: I am certainly not here to try and obfuscate you or the members of this committee. (p. 28)

Mr. Kubisch: Yes. I thought I made that clear to Mr. Fraser and subsequently to you, but if I did not, my impression is I know everything they do in the large programs, activities, number of personnel, what their programs are, et cetera. Yes. (p. 36)

Mr. Kubisch: . . . our policy in recent months was—as far as Chile was concerned—not to do anything to bring about the overthrow of Allende. (p. 58)

Mr. Kubisch: There were individuals who came to U.S. representatives and said, “Will you help the truckers in their strike, or will you help others who are fomenting work stoppages, others who are trying to bring about problems for the Allende regime and trying to bring about the government’s downfall?” (p. 60)

When those proposals came the CIA headquarters that received them would discuss them to see whether or not there could be any interest at all, and what kind of guidance or instructions they should have. And in those cases the instructions were “Forget it. We want no part of it.”

I can tell you categorically we did not finance the truckers’ strike, or any of the other work stoppages, or anything in those final months and weeks that led to the crises that led to the overthrow of Allende. We simply were not involved. That is the essence of the matter. (p. 61)

Mr. Kubisch: I would never come before this Committee or any authorized legislative body of my Government and tell anything that I did not believe to be true. (p. 63)

Mr. Kubisch: You said I was testifying in detail only with respect to May to September. I am not trying to conceal anything prior to May, and I am talking—and I thought I articulated—what our general policy [Page 731] was and what our general policy was and what our posture was going back several years. (p. 70)

We are not trying to keep anything from you or this Committee on that earlier period. (p. 70)

Before the Executive and Open Session of the Senate Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees

Mr. Kubisch: There were other work stoppages that led to a near paralysis in the country, and there were charges that the U.S. Government and CIA were assisting these people. (p. 70)

I deny that categorically.

Mr. Kubisch: As to any ITT involvement in the internal affairs in Chile I am not prepared to testify on that now, but my impression is that a proposal was made and discussions took place between ITT and CIA officials, but that the proposal was never approved by the U.S. Government or put into effect in any way. (p. 71)

Statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary Shlaudeman, June 12, 1974

Mr. Shlaudeman: Despite pressures to the contrary, the United States Government adhered to a policy of nonintervention in Chile’s internal affairs during the Allende period. That policy remains in force today. (p. 6)

  1. Summary: Excerpts from Kubisch’s and Shlaudeman’s testimony before several Senate and House subcommittees beginning September 12, 1973, until June 12, 1974.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot 80D43, Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. Secret.