198. Memorandum From Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1


  • The Gedda Story and U.S. Policy to Chile

Having been caught in a crossfire and almost shot, let me offer three possible reasons why the two State Department officials tried to nail me.2 I want to spell these out in some detail not only because of the obvious effect this incident has had on me and my relationship to you, but more importantly because of the implications of this incident for the NSC and for the President’s policy on human rights.

I would speculate that the document I sent for comments as a draft PRM3 was presumably rewritten (to refer to “alternative Chilean regimes” and addressed to the CIA) and leaked for three reasons:

[Page 604]

—To try to get rid of me by identifying me with an unjustifiable policy of intervention and by making it appear as if I were acting on my own against your instructions.

—To try to put a stop to the NSC Staff’s “interference” in the State Department’s conduct of foreign policy.

—To keep U.S. policy to Chile solely the prerogative of ARA.

From my conversations with Rick and David,4 I know that our recollections of the circumstances preceding my LDXing a copy of the draft on Chile to State are different. Still I would like to state my impressions of what happened clearly and honestly.

I raised the issue of a PRM on Chile with you during the Frei interview, when he talked of the great need for U.S. policy consistency to Chile,5 and you said that we should talk about it later. Later, you said that you did not think the PRM was an appropriate instrument to do a country study, and you suggested an inter-agency study instead. About a week later, when I was talking to you about a Caribbean PRM6 (following the President’s suggestion to all of us to try again, if you believe that you are right), I said that I thought that an inter-agency study would not work because Todman would chair it, and his views on the direction U.S. policy should take to Chile did not, in my opinion, reflect the President’s views on human rights policy. (Todman strongly opposed the meeting between the Vice President and Frei and argued forcefully—(through Luers, since he was making a speech in Tampa)—at the Christopher meeting on Friday on behalf of three AID loans to Chile.7) Besides, Todman told me, as expected, that he did not think [Page 605] such a study was necessary. Then you asked me whether I had shown the drafts (of the Chile and Caribbean PRMs) to anyone in State for comments, and I said I had not, and you, in an offhand manner, suggested I send them for comments, “and then we’ll see.”

I told Luigi8 and Tom Thornton that you had reservations about the Chile study. If I were trying to do an end-run around you, I would never have volunteered those comments to them or anyone. Although I feel quite sure Luigi was not responsible for the leaks (he called me up to apologize for what happened, and he is about the only one in ARA whom I trust), I think he may have carelessly passed on to others the comment that you had reservations about that PRM, and that was exploited by the people who told Gedda, who wrote that Bob Pastor was acting on his own. I regret more than I can convey that it was used so successfully, and that you did not trust me enough at the beginning to see the Gedda article for what it was—an attempt to cut my most important source of effectiveness—my relationship with you.

Secondly, the NSC, and let me start by two stories. After the Frei interview with Mondale, a friend of mine in State overheard another official saying: “Goddamit, the White House is trying to make foreign policy.” John Marcum mentioned to me that when Kissinger moved over to State in 1973, he effectively castrated all the regional NSC Staff by either making regional policy himself or going directly to the President. On defense issues, one had to use the NSC because Defense strongly asserted its interest, but in regional policy, there were no obvious counterweights to Kissinger. So the Latin American people in NSC, Defense, and Treasury hardly did anything; whenever I came to Washington during this period, I was always surprised at how much time they had.

I have had difficulty working with ARA for personal and policy reasons, no doubt, but mainly I believe for institutional reasons. They act as if life does not exist outside ARA except perhaps on the seventh floor. They have tried to exclude me and have kept me uninformed on what they have been doing. Hardly any information or recommendations bearing on future policy are forwarded to the NSC unless I ask for it first. (There were hardly any “action folders” sent for the 12 days I was travelling on the trip with Mrs. Carter.)9 They, frankly, would like to see NSC disappear. To the extent that they want to relay information to the President, they have learned to convey this information through the Secretary’s memoranda to the President, which, of course, I do not see and on which I cannot offer my comments. [Page 606] I suggest this would not be that much of a problem if I were dealing with some “new people” in ARA, but they have not arrived, and are not likely to.

Thirdly, U.S. human rights policy to Chile. I heard on Saturday10 that when the Gedda story broke, Todman’s reaction was: “consider that the Chile PRM is dead.” U.S. policy to Chile is currently a series of uncoordinated, ad hoc decisions. To the extent that ARA makes policy, it is an attempt to improve our relations with Chile.11

That approach would be all right if Chile were not the kind of symbol which it currently is in the United States. Indications of its overriding symbolic importance to the U.S. and to the President’s human rights policy include the number of news articles on Chile in the last week and the number of times Jimmy Carter mentioned it in the second debate with Gerald Ford.12

State is currently wrestling with two very different approach for U.S. policy to Chile. ARA’s approach: begin a dialogue with Pinochet, trying to exchange economic assistance or positive statements by our Ambassador or Secretary of State for even the slightest indication of diminishing repression. As an example, Luers suggested to me the possibility of a Presidential letter of appreciation to Pinochet when he exchanged Jorge Montes, a prominent Chilean communist who was in prison since the coup, with ten Russian dissidents.13 The problem with this strategy is that it would risk Presidential association (either directly or indirectly) with the most regressive government in the hemisphere for “a pittance.”

A second option is suggested by Mark Schneider, Pat Derian’s very effective Deputy, to immediately and totally disassociate the U.S. from the present regime.

Presently, policy is not the result of bureaucratic pushing-and-pulling, as Graham Allison would have it, but rather the USG is presently pursuing these two options simultaneously. Sometimes, Schneider inserts himself in the process, bringing it to the attention of Christopher or Vance.14 Other times, ARA just communicates directly with the Chileans. There is obviously good reason to conclude that our policy to Chile has been inconsistent and ad hoc without a sense of [Page 607] goals or strategies. That is why I initially drafted a PRM. Given the Gedda story and ARA’s strong fight for loans to Chile, I think there is even a stronger and more compelling need for a systematic attempt to formulate a consistent policy to Chile than before, but for obvious reasons, this will be the last time I will say that.15

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Chile.]

I guess what I found most depressing about the Gedda leak is that the “leakers” succeeded to a certain extent in achieving their three objectives.16

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 7, Chile, 1/77-1/81. Confidential; personal. Brzezinski wrote Aaron’s name in the top right-hand corner of the memorandum. Also in the top right-hand corner of the memorandum, Aaron wrote, “ZB, Pastor makes a good case that we need a Chile policy. Maybe we should ask State to do a paper with options. DA P.S. also note p. 3.” At the bottom of the page, Brzezinski wrote, “OK–prepare memo on interagency review. ZB” To the left of this, Pastor wrote a note dated August 18: “Spoke to Todman who said as predicted.”
  2. A June 24 Associated Press article by George Gedda, quoting “two government sources,” alleged that Pastor “asked for a CIA analysis of possible alternatives to Chile’s rightist military junta” and said that Pastor was “one of several Administration recruits whose liberal views have upset many State Department professionals.” (“U.S. Said to Seek Report on Chilean Alternatives,” New York Times, June 25, 1977, p. 2)
  3. A reference to a May 26 draft paper entitled “Policy Review on Chile.” The draft stated that “while other U.S. interests clearly must be considered in evolving policy options for Chile, none can take precedence over our human rights concerns.” The draft asked for a five-part review, including “a detailed catalog of decisions” which the USG “will need to make or could make in the next 18 months which will have an immediate impact on Chile,” “a list of alternative goals for U.S. policy to Chile over the course of the next 18 months,” and “a discussion of alternative strategies which the United States can pursue toward the alternative goals, but taking into account the feasibility of attaining the goals.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country Files, Box 9, Chile, 2-8/77)
  4. Reference is to Inderfurth and Aaron. Brzezinski drew an arrow from the top line of this paragraph to Pastor’s name in the “from” line of the memorandum.
  5. See Document 194. In a May 19 memorandum to Brzezinski, Pastor wrote: “I think a comprehensive policy to Chile is only possible within the context of a PRM which asks the Departments to sort out our objectives and suggest strategies to attain them.” (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 7, Chile, 1/77-1/81)
  6. No PRM for the Caribbean was written. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XXIII, Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean, Document 348.
  7. For the text of Todman’s June 23 address to the Conference on Caribbean Business, Trade, and Development in Tampa, Florida, see the Department of State Bulletin, August 15, 1977, pp. 214–218. A meeting of the Interagency Group on Human Rights and Foreign Assistance (“The Christopher Group”) was held on Friday, June 24, 1977. Oxman’s handwritten notes from the meeting are in the National Archives, RG 59, Office of the Deputy Secretary: Records of Warren Christopher, 1977–1980, Lot 81D113, Box 17, HR Interagency Group IV. (C) The Christopher Group decided to defer consideration of the loans to Chile for 30 to 60 days and to then reassess Chilean human rights conditions, and Hodding Carter made an announcement to this effect on June 28. On June 28, the GOC delivered a diplomatic note renouncing all further FY77 USG aid to Chile. (Vance to Carter, 6/30/77, Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 18, Evening reports (State), 6/77)
  8. Reference is to Einaudi.
  9. Rosalynn Carter traveled to the Caribbean and South America in early June 1977.
  10. June 25.
  11. Aaron underlined this sentence.
  12. October 6, 1976; for excerpts see Foreign Relations, 1977–80, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, Document 11.
  13. Aaron underlined these two sentences, circled Luers’s name, drew an arrow from the bottom of the page to Luers’s name, and wrote at the bottom of the page, “and this guy will be in charge of Soviet relations?”
  14. Aaron underlined this sentence.
  15. No PRM on Chile was finalized.
  16. Aaron circled this sentence and wrote, “don’t worry about it DA.”