U.S. Covert Intervention in Chile: Planning to Block Allende Began Long before September 1970 Election
Nixon Alerted in Advance to Date of Coup, Retired CIA Operative Writes in Foreign Affairs
Archive Commends Long-Awaited Release of State Department Compendium of Records on U.S. Involvement in Promoting Chilean Coup
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 470
Posted May 23, 2014
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The Pinochet File
By Peter Kornbluh, The New Press, Updated edition (September 11, 2013)
Washington, DC, May 23, 2014 – Covert U.S. planning to block the democratic election of Salvador Allende in Chile began weeks before his September 4, 1970, victory, according to just declassified minutes of an August 19, 1970, meeting of the high-level interagency committee known as the Special Review Group, chaired by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. «Kissinger asked that the plan be as precise as possible and include what orders would be given September 5, to whom, and in what way,» as the summary recorded Kissinger’s instructions to CIA Director Richard Helms. «Kissinger said we should present to the President an action plan to prevent [the Chilean Congress from ratifying] an Allende victory…and noted that the President may decide to move even if we do not recommend it.»
The document is one of a compendium of some 366 records released by the State Department as part of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. The much-delayed collection, titled «Chile: 1969-1973,» addresses Richard Nixon’s and Kissinger’s efforts to destabilize the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvador Allende, and the U.S.-supported coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973. The controversial volume was edited by two former officials of the State Department’s Office of the Historian, James Siekmeier and James McElveen.
«This collection represents a substantive step forward in opening the historical record on U.S. intervention in Chile,» said Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Chile documentation project at the National Security Archive, and is the author of The Pinochet File (…)
In the aftermath of General Augusto Pinochet’s arrest in October 1998, the National Security Archive, along with victims of the Pinochet regime, led a campaign to press the Clinton administration to declassify the still-secret documents on Chile, the coup and the repression that followed (…) The release of the records comes amidst renewed debate over the CIA role in supporting the military coup in Chile.
The Kissinger-Nixon transcript is reproduced in the 2013 edition of The Pinochet File. http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v21