6. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile1

65403. Subject: Operation Condor.

1. The CIA has prepared the following summary of the status of Operation Condor as of March 1977 which we are passing for your information only.

2. QTE: Operation Condor is a Cooperative Effort by Security Services of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil to counter terrorism and subversion. As it was first envisaged, the operation was to bring about an exchange of information among the participating services on subversive groups, but later discussions included consideration of mounting assassination operations abroad, security services of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay agreed to send teams to Europe, but apparently Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay did not commit themselves to this aspect of the operation. A training course was later set up in Buenos Aires for the teams that were to be sent to Europe, and [less than 1 line not declassified] a Condor team of Uruguayans and Argentines was sent [less than 1 line not declassified] against Uruguayan terrorists. This team was unsuccessful in carrying out its objectives and its failure was attributed to the operation having been leaked to the terrorists. As a result of the supposed leak, the Uruguayans were having second thoughts about the desirability of participating in further joint Condor operations.

3. According to one report [less than 1 line not declassified],2 the activities of the Condor Operation outside of Condor countries are confined to the collection of information on extremists. [less than 1 line not declassified] said that if information is obtained revealing the whereabouts of an extremist abroad, a Condor team might be sent to the location, but only to verify the extremist’s presence and to determine his future travel. If unspecified actions against a particular extremist were desired, the Condor service would ask a security service of the country where the extremist resides to carry out these actions. It should be noted that [less than 1 line not declassified], once a Condor country refuses to participate in a Condor program, that country is no longer included in further discussions related to this program.

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4. Recent reporting3 suggests that the Condor Operation may be shifting more to non-violent activities. At a meeting of Condor in December 1976 the principal subject of discussion was the planning of coordinated psychological warfare operations against leftist and radical groups. Sometime earlier a program had been approved whereby one member country would publish propaganda useful to another member so the country of major interest would not be revealed as the source. Extensive use was to be made of the communications media in carrying out this psychological warfare program. Another Condor meeting is to be held in [less than 1 line not declassified] which may clarify the future direction of the operation. End quote.

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Roger Channel, Asunción 1969–1979. Secret; Roger Channel. Drafted by Zimmermann, cleared by Luers and in INR/DDC/OP-F, and approved by McAfee.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. Not further identified.