200. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1


  • Activities of Eduardo Frei

1. Since his trip to Europe and the U.S., during which he met with Vice President Mondale and other U.S. leaders, former Chilean President Eduardo Frei has let it be known in certain circles that he would be willing to negotiate a modus vivendi with President Pinochet provided certain conditions were met. The conditions concern various measures to liberalize the Chilean regime. [1½ lines not declassified]

2. In late June Frei told [less than 1 line not declassified] that during his recent talks with senior U.S. officials he had stressed the importance of creating valid political alternatives to the current military government in Chile. He said that such alternatives would have to include the military because, without its support, a change of government would be impossible. Frei added that if he were given the reins of government tomorrow, he would be unable to govern effectively because he lacks the support of the military, which is the only power base in Chile today.

3. Frei said that [less than 1 line not declassified] he has learned of dissatisfaction within all the services regarding the excesses of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA), which is largely responsible for the poor image of the military government. Frei maintained that there are democratically oriented elements within the Armed Forces who want to return to the barracks, but only with dignity and assurance that Chile’s security will not be jeopardized. He said that the current low prestige of Chile is causing disillusionment among Armed Forces personnel who consider themselves responsible for this image.

4. Frei told [less than 1 line not declassified] that in order to resolve Chile’s problems, the current government must terminate the state of siege, abolish DINA, and change certain key leaders who have been directly responsible for government policy to date. Frei is seeking the support of former President Jorge Alessandri, who is now President of the Council of State. Alessandri, a rightist with his own ambitions [Page 609] to consider, is unlikely to try to accommodate a Frei-Pinochet rapprochement. However, it is possible that Frei anticipates this but expects Alessandri to pass along his proposal, which presents slightly less strong conditions than those Frei related to his own collaborators. These are: to reduce the state of siege, to remove DINA’s arrest powers, to make the government more representative, and to end the “persecution” of the Christian Democratic Party.

5. Frei also told [less than 1 line not declassified] that he had given U.S. officials his opinion of Clodomiro Almeyda, leader of the moderate sector of the Socialist Party (PS) in exile, whom he described as the most representative member of the Chilean leftist exile community and the only PS leader in exile who was still independent of Moscow and Havana. When questioned [less than 1 line not declassified] Frei said that Almeyda is not yet aligned with the Social Democratic movement, but that he believed Almeyda would be interested.

6. The above information indicates that Frei is trying to make the most of his trip to the U.S. Indeed, Benjamin Prado, left-wing leader of Frei’s Christian Democratic Party (PDC), said that Frei’s meeting with U.S. officials had had a unifying effect within the Party and had greatly increased Frei’s prestige in the PDC, especially with the left wing of the PDC, and among non-Marxist political parties, including the Radical Party and the Christian Left Party.

7. That Frei will succeed in bringing about modifications of key junta policies, however, is judged highly improbable, and his chances of arriving at any form of agreement with Pinochet are considered minimal.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, Job 80M00165A, Box 5, Folder 130: C-7: Chile. Secret. Drafted [less than 1 line not declassified] on July 1, concurrence by Wells on July 2. Printed from a copy which indicates that it was sent on July 5. The memorandum was attached to an undated covering memorandum from Turner to Mondale. See Document 199.