15. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Chile (Korry) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer) and the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, Central Intelligence Agency (Broe)1
For Asst. Secy. Meyer and Mr. Broe from Ambassador Korry. Subj: Kunakov Archives.
1. Undersec Foreign Affairs Patricio Silva evening Aug 27 requested urgent meeting on sensitive topics. Because he suggested it [Page 94] would be inconvenient for me to go to Ministry and because of other commitments, he chose to come to residence for breakfast Aug 28th.
2. Most important of three topics raised concerning suspicions of CIA intervention in Chilean affairs was Kunakov archives appearing in Mercurio and on which I have had exchange of messages with addressees.
3. Silva emphasized strongest manner that only reason GOC approaching me is that from outset of my stay here and on one or two occasions since I declared to Valdes that there is no USG activity in this country without my approval and that therefore anything considered CIA was my business and my responsibility. Equally firmly he stressed that he was only raising suspicions and these were not rpt not to be construed as accusations. Finally he stated that GOC’s motivation was to prevent harm to US-Chilean relations.
4. Re Kunakov papers, Silva began by referring to 1967 beach-house affair concerning Soviet diplomat and female member of Chilean Foreign Ministry, the sensitive topic to which I anticipated GOC reaction in my message to Asst. Sec. Meyer earlier this week. He said GOC had indications that in final two articles of series (#6 and #7) this weekend, his Ministry would again be implicated via this beach house affair. He wanted me to know that if the Ministry were mentioned in some way other than another stale repetition of the minimal facts, it would be forced to clear the record. It would do so by stating that this entire affair was only between the two great powers and that no one in the Ministry had ever been involved. He reminded me that Amb Dungan had given Minister Valdes “the true facts” on the incident. He said that only five or six Chileans knew these facts since their record was kept under lock in the Minister’s own safe and that only yesterday had he requested and received permission to read them. He said the Chileans who knew “the true story” were the President, Valdes, himself, his predecessor Oscar Pinochet (now Amb to Moscow), Chilean Amb to Geneva Besa (then the superior of the female employee), the ex-Sub-Director of Investigaciones Zuniga and probably the late Investigaciones Director Oelckers (whom he said never divulged anything to anyone). He added that aside from one article in Socialist Ultima Hora, there had never been anything in press.
5. In response I reiterated that I took full responsibility for all activities of U.S. personnel and that I understood why he had raised with me his suspicions on Kunakov and other related matters. I appreciated GOC’s consultation.
6. I said that I could give him categoric assurances that we were not involved in any way with Kunakov. I added that I had just read #5 in the series and that it appeared to be a further rehash of the four previous articles without a single new fact. Hence I had assumed the series [Page 95] was terminated. If it were not, then the GOC could deal with the matter in any way it saw fit taking into account, as it would, the further damaging effect to our relations caused by statements of GOC spokesmen or PDC personalities.
7. As for Amb Dungan I really knew nothing of what may have transpired between him and the GOC on this beach-house matter. I had not sought any information on the subject and had read with passing interest the exchanges between right (PEC) and left journals here in 1968 or so on the subject and to which the author of the Kunakov archives had alluded in the same fashion. I had taken no special interest because I felt that my statements at the outset of my stay to the GOC re my responsibility for all U.S. activities had clearly established ground rules and that what was past was past. Frankly I had reacted to the Kunakov series in the same manner as Silva had in his public comments and had so informed the Dept. I did not know when the author had come to Chile nor anything else about him except that he seemed to make a living out of commentaries that were anti-Communist. Others made their living in Chile and elsewhere out of anti-U.S. publicity. It was not my affair.
8. Silva said I was wrong about the author. He had not emigrated to Chile; he was born of Yugoslav immigrants in Punta Arenas; he was married to a white Russian who was a fanatical anti-Soviet anti-Communist. She was a member of white Russian groups that had been identified in U.S. publications as being part of the worldwide CIA network. Because of these antecedents and because it “appeared” to be so typical of other CIA operations elsewhere in the world as described in authoritative books and publications in the U.S., he hoped I would understand why there were the suspicions that the articles had engendered.
9. I said it had come as no surprise that such suspicions had been articulated. Indeed I had become acclimated to such reactions. As I had told the Undersec of Interior Achurra recently at a social function I had expected that the PCCh’s disappointment over the meager results of its raid on the Andalien offices, in particular no connection with the U.S., would lead to the same kind of forgery of documents as in the Peace Corps affair last year. I had compiled a lengthy list of incidents during my three year stay in which the PCCh had mounted successful campaigns to destroy the U.S. prestige with the Chilean public and with the sole exception of the attempt by a mob to sack our Consulate after the overthrow of Belaunde Terry in Peru, the GOC and the PDC had implicitly endorsed each of these undertakings by anti-American forces. These endorsements had come in the form of deliberate silence as in the case of the Peace Corps when the govt had the facts or in the form of background leaks that had complicated our position as in the case of [Page 96] Senator Fuentealba’s charges and other instances which I could but would not mention since they were not relevent to his question. However I did wish to stress that events not words affected relations and that my interpretation of our relations was that the U.S. would adhere strictly to bilateral relations and that they would be carried out with rectitude no matter who was the future President of Chile. We would have no special friendships with any parties or factions, because we had been educated to understand that favored prodigy relationships were neither welcome here nor productive of mature partnerships.
10. U.S. policy was the framework for my assertions that I knew nothing of the authors of their motivations and I really did not have any interest in them. I could only suggest as an experienced hand that the international organizations to which they allegedly had belonged or belong had been subject to a great many changes in recent years as he also must know from the press. The essential point I would hope he and his colleagues would keep in mind is their knowledge that the U.S. was a pluralistic society in which private organizations had the right to defend their interests and had the access to a great deal of public knowledge. Nothing in the Kunakov documents that I had read in Mercurio indicated anything but quasi-public knowledge in Chile. I could only repeat my statement that we were not involved.
11. Silva began to defend his role in Peace Corps but soon tired of that. He said he understood my position and that he recognized that Mercurio and Edwards were committed to the triumph of Alessandri. They had deliberately sent out a smoke screen to react to the congressional investigation of the Commission of Terror. It was rather successful. It was not the same as PEC’s operations.
12. I interrupted to ask if he were suggesting that we had anything to do with PEC. He immediately and forcefully stated that the GOC knew that we had nothing to do with PEC’s reincarnation nor any relationship with it since then. I said that I wished him to know that all members of my Mission had strictest instructions to have no form of communication with anyone remotely connected with that publication. He said he was aware of that instruction and believed it had been implemented. He said the GOC knew PEC had been re-launched by Carlos Urenda and that therefore there was a clear link to Edwards. Comment: We have no knowledge of any Urenda or Edwards connection with PEC. [3 lines not declassified] End comment.
13. Another related subject raised by Silva concerned a cable received this week from the Chilean Embassy in Bogota which he showed me and which said:
A. Visas had been requested and granted for two U.S. officials named Ned Zander Paes and Daniel Brice Baite. Former’s other visas to [Page 97] many Southeast Asia and Latin countries were detailed and latter’s primarily to Latin American posts.
B. Extra-officially, the Chilean Embassy had also been requested (without any source given as to whom or how) to provide multiple visas for four unknown U.S. officials.
14. Silva linked this to the third topic which was that Chilean Emb Washington had just reported that since June 30th and most recently this week groups of U.S. Navy officers and enlisted men totalling 68 as of yesterday had requested three month visas to Chile and that Silva had checked with Naval CINC Porta to learn if any official naval visits were anticipated. Reply was negative.
15. To both these questions I replied:
A. I knew nothing of either but our procedure was that I or DCM personally approved every official visitor. I had for more than one year blocked the visits of all U.S. general officers much to their chagrin and to that of the Chilean high command. I was certain that DCM would have some fully acceptable explanation about the U.S. Navy visas and my best guess would be that it had to do with UNITAS. However I would check by telephone with Washington and with DCM immediately and I would appreciate it if his Emb would be instructed to provide the names and other details of the visas to the Dept officer who made the inquiry. Comment: This query has been telephoned to Chile Desk and I have in the interim informed Silva by phone that UNITAS band was making 24 hour transit stop here Oct 15th while en route Buenos Aires to Lima. He commented that they needed no three month visas for overnight stop and requested complete investigation. I may wish to overrule plans for band’s transit whatever the innocence of their travel. Silva’s suspicions only confirm correctness of my policy on military and other visits.
B. As for Bogota I could only reiterate that no one would or had entered the country without my or the DCM’s approval. No one would. I would make inquiries and let him know within 48 hours the results. However I did wish him to know that the Embassy for reasons he would find justified (he agreed) was taking measures to add to the personal protection of the official community; I had not taken such actions earlier because in my judgment they were not warranted but that there was no doubt we were approaching a much more serious period insofar as personnel security was concerned. Comment: We have checked with Emb Bogota and learned that Messers Paes and Baite are State Dept communications personnel en route here in connection with security. I will so inform Silva promptly. End comment.
16. I will weigh effects on Phase Two of all this after sleeping on it during the weekend. I believe judgments expressed in my message to Meyer prevail.
Summary: This message described a meeting between Chilean Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricio Silva and Korry in which the Chilean official repeatedly questioned Korry on the U.S. Government’s role in a number of incidents and whether the United States had the intention to intervene in Chilean affairs. Korry denied any U.S. involvement in the incidents.
Source: Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, INR/IL Historical Files, Box 1, Chile Chronology 1970. Secret; Eyes Only.↩