145. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Colby to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • CIA’s Covert Action Program in Chile Since 1970

1. This Agency did not conduct covert action operations in support of either of the two democratic candidates who opposed Salvador Allende in the 1970 presidential election. Our role in the election was limited to an effort to denigrate Allende and his Popular Unity (UP) coalition during the campaign. Since Allende’s inauguration, U.S. policy has been to maintain maximum covert pressure to prevent the Allende regime’s consolidation. Under this policy the 40 Committee has approved since January 1971 financial support totaling $6,476,166 for Chilean political parties, media, and private sector organizations opposed to the Allende regime. The attachment provides a summary of the amounts approved by the Committee and the purposes for which these funds were used.

[Page 743]

2. Funds [less than 1 line not declassified] channeled to opposition forces in Chile through our Santiago Station enabled the three opposition political parties—Christian Democratic Party (PDC), National Party (PN) and Democratic Radical Party (PDR)—to improve their internal organizations, acquire new media outlets, and to compete successfully in a number of congressional by-elections. [3 lines not declassified] These congressional elections were considered by both the UP and the opposition as a form of plebiscite to determine whether or not the government had a popular mandate to continue the implementation of its revolutionary program. [4 lines not declassified] Funds authorized by the 40 Committee were also used to insure the continued existence of El Mercurio, Chile’s largest and most important newspaper, which acted as an effective rallying-point for opposition forces. Limited support was also made available to private sector organizations, but because some of these groups began to try to provoke a military coup, our funding was confined to specific activities in support of the opposition coalition in the March congressional elections.

3. After the March 1973 elections, it became increasingly apparent that three years of political polarization had strained the fabric of Chilean society to the breaking point. Various U.S. policy options were considered, and on 20 August 1973 the 40 Committee approved an additional $1,000,000 to support opposition political parties and private sector organizations through June 1974; support to the private sector, however, was made contingent on the concurrence of Ambassador Davis and the Department of State. Since this concurrence was not given, no support was provided to the private sector, whose initiative in launching and maintaining a series of crippling strikes was instrumental in provoking the military coup of 11 September 1973. Thus, while the Agency was instrumental in enabling opposition political parties and media to survive and to maintain their dynamic resistance to the Allende regime, the CIA played no direct role in the events which led to the establishment of the new military government.

W.E. Colby
[Page 744]

Attachment 2

SUMMARY OF 40 COMMITTEE APPROVALS

[chart (1½ pages) not declassified]

SUMMARY OF 40 COMMITTEE APPROVALS BY DATE

1. The Chilean opposition political parties and private sector organizations for which funds were approved by the 40 Committee are as follows:

Political Parties

  • Christian Democratic Party (PDC), largest political party in Chile
  • National Party (PN), rightist and strongly anti-Communist
  • Democratic Radical Party (PDR), a small conservative party which split in 1970 from the Radical Party
  • Radical Party of the Left (PIR), a more liberal group which split from the Radical Party in May 1972
  • Private Sector Organizations
  • [3 paragraphs (4½ lines) not declassified]
  • El Mercurio, Chile’s largest and most important newspaper

2. The following is a summary, by date, of 40 Committee approvals, including the results of elections for which funds were designated:

Date and Amount
[Page 745][Page 746]
Approved Purpose Election Results
28 January 1971 $1,240,000 Support to PDC, PN and PDR for 4 April 1971 municipal elections [2 lines not declassified] Opposition: 48.90%
Allende’s UP Coalition: 49.74%
PDC [data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
PN [data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
[data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
PDR [data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
22 March 1971 [dollar amount not declassified] [1½ lines not declassified] Same as above
4 May 1971 [dollar amount not declassified] [1½ lines not declassified]
20–26 May 1971 [dollar amount not declassified] [1½ lines not declassified] Same as above
6 July 1971
[dollar amount not declassified]
Campaign expenses [3 lines not declassified] Opposition: 50.14%
UP: 48.52%
14 September 1971 $1,000,000 Support for El Mercurio, which was being subjected to economic pressures by the Allende government
5 November 1971 [dollar amount not declassified] Support [less than 1 line not declassified] for one year through October 1972 as follows:
[dollar amount not declassified]
[dollar amount not declassified]
[dollar amount not declassified]
[1½ lines not declassified]
[dollar amount not declassified]
[3 lines not declassified]
15 December 1971 Campaign expenses of Linares
$160,000 [4 lines not declassified] Opposition (PN) 58%
UP 40.9%
5th Senate District
Opposition (PDC) 52.7%
UP 46.4%
12 April 1972 $965,000 [less than 1 line not declassified] support to El Mercurio, [1 line not declassified]
24 April 1972 [dollar amount not declassified] Support [2 lines not declassified]
16 June 1972 [dollar amount not declassified] To support [4 lines not declassified] [data not declassified]
21 September 1972 [dollar amount not declassified] [2 lines not declassified]
26 October 1972 $1,427,666 Support to PDC, PN, PDR and PIR to enable them to campaign strongly in 4 March 1973 congressional elections, [3½ lines not declassified]
12 February 1973 [dollar amount not declassified] Additional funds required to cover increased costs of congressional campaign. Total funds approved for the campaign were allocated as follows:
PDC [dollar amount not declassified]
PN [dollar amount not declassified]
PDR [dollar amount not declassified]
PIR [dollar amount not declassified]
[data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
[data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]
[data not declassified] [dollar amount not declassified]

3. On 20 August 1973 the 40 Committee approved $1,000,000 to support opposition political parties and private sector organizations during FY 1974. No response has yet been received to a message sent to the Santiago Station asking the total amount of funds obligated prior to the military coup of 11 September 1973.

4. The total amount authorized by the 40 Committee approvals listed above is $6,615,166, which is [dollar amount not declassified] more than the total given for funds broken down by recipient. This is because some funds were not needed. [4½ lines not declassified]

[Page 747]
  1. Summary: This memorandum summarized the U.S. covert action program in Chile since 1970.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 777, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. VIII. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.

  2. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.