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The NED in Action: US Democracy Promotion in Chile and Nicaragua, 1988 – 1989

Mara Sankey

U.S. Studies Online   Forum for New Writing

July 7, 2014

Throughout the Cold War, the United States regularly intervened directly and covertly in Latin American politics. However, from the late 1970s US foreign policy rhetoric began to focus on promoting democracy abroad, and the National Endowment for Democracy was established by Congress in 1983 as an autonomous organisation with the aim of “[creating] new opportunities for democratic assistance”.[1] Although its funding came in the form of a block grant from Congress, the NED board was made up of private citizens with no formal connection to the US government. Before 1988, the Congress did not dictate how the grant was spent, it was to be used in whatever way the NED board saw fit according to their personal and organisational priorities and without reference to short term US-foreign policy. However, in 1988 and 1989 Congress granted the NED two special appropriations specifically to assist democratic movements in Chile’s 1988 plebiscite[2] and in Nicaragua before the 1990 elections.[3] Under the guise of promoting democracy, these appropriations furthered US policy and influence within the two countries.

Image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24014501

General Pinochet’s controversial period of rule (1973-90) Image source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24014501

Since 1973, Chile had been ruled by a military junta led by General Pinochet. The 1988 plebiscite was part of the junta’s timetable for transition; if the regime lost, elections would be held the following year. The plebiscite provoked an international response, with foreign governments, including the Reagan Administration, calling for democratic transition and financial and technical aid pouring into Chile from international NGOs and political foundations.[4]However, NED support of Chilean democratic opposition groups had begun before the $1 million Congressional appropriation was granted in 1988. In 1986, the Endowment began providing support to the Central Democrática de Trabajadores (CDT), a small union affiliated with Chile’s Christian Democratic Party, whose strong anti-communist line made it a more favourable candidate for funding than the more influential but militant Comando Nacional de Trabajadores (CNT).[5] Although the American Institute for Free Labour Development, which administered this NED grant, stated that through funding the CDT it sought to “contribute to the restoration of the democratic political structure of Chile[6]”, the funding of this less influential organisation suggests that the NED’s key priorities were countering militancy and building US influence within the centre-right of the opposition movement.

The 1988 appropriation for Chile, although part of a concentrated effort by the US government to distance itself from the Pinochet regime, was the first time Congress had dictated how the NED spent its budget. This caused suspicion amongst NED beneficiaries in Latin America and worry within the grantee organisations through which it channelled funds. The Chairmen of one grantee suggested that the appropriation called the NED’s status as an independent private sector group into question.[7] Similarly, the NED’s president worried that the appropriation would cause controversy in beneficiary nations.[8] Their worries were not unfounded as the sudden involvement of Congress gave the impression of, if not a loss of independence, then at least a strengthening of the relationship between the NED and the US government. In Chile, this made beneficiaries reluctant to accept funding from NED grantees.[9] A member of the Christian Democrat Party suggested that NED funding contained “moral dilemmas” and, while this attitude did not stop opposition organisations from accepting NED aid, it did make it difficult for the NED to find new beneficiaries.[10]

The funding programme was designed to counteract restrictions placed on the opposition including restrictions on assembly rights, harassment and, perhaps most importantly, restricted access to television slots.[11] While NED funding assisted the No Campaign in reaching a wider cross-section of Chilean society and in strengthening the infrastructures of many of the moderate opposition organisations, it also opened the opposition up to criticism from the Pinochet government and anti-US groups (particularly on the left).

 Source: http://www.julioetchart.com/portfolio_chile.html

‘While NED funding assisted the No Campaign…it also opened the opposition up to criticism from the Pinochet government and anti-US groups.’ Image source: http://www.julioetchart.com/portfolio_chile.html

In June 1988, El Mercurio, La Tercera and La Nacióncriticised the NED’s programmes.[12] El Mercurioaccused the NED of interfering in Chilean domestic politics, stating that the assistance was “not a neutral and impartial option to promote democracy”.[13] In addition, the Chilean Ambassador to the US wrote a letter to the House of Representatives which questioned why the NED was attempting to promote democratic values in Chile when that was the purpose of the plebiscite.[14] Thus, the NED’s perceived closeness to the US government allowed the Pinochet regime to paint its beneficiaries as co-opted by foreign aid. Moreover, the close relationship the NED was attempting to build with moderate opposition groups led many Chileans to question its bipartisan commitments.

While the impact of NED funding on the outcome of the plebiscite is difficult to assess, it did alter the power and influence structures within the democratic opposition. Although the funding programme was designed to tip the balance of the plebiscite towards the No Campaign, the NED acted to support broader US foreign policy concerns by helping Washington develop stronger relationships with moderate centre and centre-right Chilean opposition groups before the transition. Democratic transition in Chile was of interest only as far as the outcome benefitted the US and, as a result, the NED channelled money into organisations which were US-friendly over organisations which may have been more effective at promoting transition.

In 1989 Nicaragua, unlike Chile, was undergoing a democratic experiment. The leftist Sandinista government, which had taken power after the 1979 revolution, had held and won international validated elections in 1984; however, it controlled the Council of State, a national council made up of representatives of different political and functional groups, and had a strong influence over Nicaraguan civil society.[15] Since 1982, as part of its anti-communist crusade, the Reagan administration had sought to destabilise the Sandinista regime by funding an armed coalition of Nicaraguan opposition forces, the Contras, to wage an extensive guerrilla war in Nicaragua. Although the US withdrew most of the aid in 1988 after a scandal concerning the illegal methods by which the administration secured funds for the Contras and repeated accusations of human rights abuses, the administration continued to voice support for the Contras and to attempt to discredit the Sandinista government.

Image source http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id327.htm

Part of the Reagan administration’s ‘anti-communist crusade’. Image source http://eightiesclub.tripod.com/id327.htm

Given the interventionist and aggressive nature of US policy towards Nicaragua in the 1980s, the 1989 NED appropriation appeared to be an abrupt shift; however, it did not mark a policy change but rather a new method of implementing this policy.

Although the 1989 appropriation was modelled broadly on that given for Chile, it differed in several key ways. First, the NED had received $1 million to provide aid in Chile whereas it was given $5 million to provide the same type of programme in Nicaragua, reflecting differences in US priorities in the region. Opponents of the appropriation suggested that this quantity of aid would distort the election process. Unlike in Chile, where political parties had received no direct aid, Nicaragua’s opposition coalition, the UNO, received a large proportion of the appropriation directly. This proved controversial since the NED was forbidden from funding parties or political candidates. To work around this, it never gave the UNO unrestricted cash grants. Instead, it organised education programmes for leaders of the coalition parties, provided assistance to improve communication between parties[16] and funds for vehicle maintenance, salaries and office equipment.[17] These grants were justified with the claim that they were not funding the campaign but rather helping to “[build] party infrastructure”.[18]

Congressional opponents of the appropriation did not believe that the US had a responsibility to assist the opposition further because they believed that by damaging Nicaragua’s economy through prolonging the Contra war, blocking international bank lending and placing a trade embargo on the country, the US had already tipped the balance of the election.[19] Moreover, accusations of NED partisanship were corroborated by the organisation’s long-standing relationship with the UNO presidential candidate, Violeta Chamorro and the NED and the antagonistic relationship between the US government, the NED and the Sandinistas throughout the 1980s. The US had refused to recognise Nicaragua’s 1984 election and, in the mid-1980s, PRODEMCA, an organisation through which the NED channelled funds was found to have openly advocated funding the Contras, while the Sandinistas had repeatedly accused the NED of being a CIA front and of trying to provoke civil unrest to justify US action against Nicaragua.[20]

The primary aim of the NED’s Nicaraguan programme for Nicaragua was to remove the Sandinistas rather than to support free and fair elections. The US focus on Nicaragua during the 1980s resulted in a significantly larger appropriation than that given for Chile and, instead of funding civic education or technical programmes as in Chile, the NED-funded programmes in Nicaragua provided direct aid to the UNO. This direct funding of the UNO coalition, combined with the NED’s close relationships with opposition leaders, suggests that it was operating primarily in the interests of US national security to remove the Sandinista government.

FeaturedImage

Interventions in domestic politics were ‘under the pretence of democracy promotion’. Image source: http://www.american.com/archive/2009/march-2009/slouching-to-populism/

The NED’s involvement in these transitions is an example of the US using non-state electoral aid as a foreign policy tool. Both programmes attempted to generate outcomes favourable to US interests by intervening in domestic politics under the pretence of democracy promotion. The partisan approach to aid distribution and the NED’s apparent loss of independence through the appropriations led to distrust of the organisation and contributed to confrontations with local governments. Furthermore, in many cases accepting NED funds hindered beneficiaries by enabling their opponents to paint them as dependent on foreign aid and co-opted by the US. Although, legally, autonomous from the US government, in both Chile and Nicaragua the NED’s programmes constituted a key aspect of US foreign policy. Through special appropriations, the US was able to channel money to friendly organisations and exert subtle influence over the two countries without risking an international incident.

Footnotes

[1] Library of Congress, US Congress House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Authorising appropriations for fiscal years 1984 and 1985 for the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, the Board for International Broadcasting, the Inter-American Foundation and the Asia Foundation, to establish the National Endowment for Democracy and for other purposes, Bill(98) H.R. 2915 (1983), p 87

[2] National Endowment for Democracy, Annual Report 1988, Library of Congress, JC421.N37a (1988)

[3] Library of Congress, National Endowment for Democracy Records, Series 2, Box 2, Folder 35, Summary of Programs for Nicaragua Funded by the Special Appropriation (1989)

[4] For information on the involvement of European groups in the plebiscite, see Grugel, Jean “Supporting Democratisation: A European View: European Political Parties and Latin America” in European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, No. 60, (June 1996)

[5] Library of Congress, National Endowment for Democracy, Annual Report 1985, JC421.N37a, p 14

[6] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 3.1, Box 7, Folder 33, AIFLD-NED Quarterly Report (July – September 1986)

[7] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 3.1, Box 7, Folder 27, Letter from Edward Donley to William Brock III (Apr 29 1988)

[8] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 2, Box 1, Folder 4, Memo from Gershman to NED Board of Directors (May 29, 1990)

[9] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 3.1, Box 7, Folder 27, Letter from Edward Donley to William Brock III (Apr 29 1988)

[10] For full lists of organisations funded by the NED year on year see the NED Annual Reports.

[11] For further information on the restrictions context of the plebiscite see Chile: Human Rights and the PlebisciteAn Americas Watch Report (New York: The Americas Watch Committee, 1988)

[12] US State Department, Santiago Embassy to the State Department, El Mercurio Editorialises on NED Funding, Heavy Press Coverage Continues, <http://foia.state.gov/searchapp/DOCUMENTS%5CStateChile3%5C00007A3A.pdf&gt; (7th June 1988) 

[13] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 3.1, Box 8, Folder 22, Translation of El Mercurio Editorial: NED Assistance (5 June 1988)

[14] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 3.1, Box 8, Folder 22, Letter from Hernán to Norman Shumway (15 June 1988)

[15] For further information on the Council of State and the structure of the Nicaraguan political system at this time see Vanden, H. E. and Prevost, G., Democracy and Socialism in Sandinista Nicaragua (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1993), pp 49 – 71

[16] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 2, Box 7, Folder 35, Summary of Programs for Nicaragua Funded by the Special Appropriation (1989)

[17] Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus, Updated Alert: Aid to the Nicaraguan Opposition <http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com/nsa/documents/NI/03201/all.pdf&gt; (Oct 1989) p 2

[18] Ibid, p 3

[19] Ibid, p 4

[20] Library of Congress, NED Records, Series 2, Box 1, Folder 3, Cables concerning the Sandinista attack on the NED (1985)

Mara Sankey

s200_mara_sankeyMara Sankey is a final year PhD student at University College London. Herthesis, provisionally entitled “Promoting Democracy? The Role of Non-State Actors in inter-American Relations 1980 – 1993”, will focus on the involvement of three US-based non-state actors in US policy towards Latin America under the governments of Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Her research interests include, the role of NGOs, political foundations and other non-state actors in US inter-American policy, authoritarian government and democratic transition in Latin America and the role of social movements and civil society in US and Latin American politics.

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The democratically-elected Arbenz government hoped for economic prosperity through economic reform and a highway to the Atlantic.

United States Interventions What For?

By John H. Coatsworth 

Revista Harvard Review of Latin America 

Spring/ Summer 2005

In the slightly less than a hundred years from 1898 to 1994, the U.S. government has intervened successfully to change governments in Latin America a total of at least 41 times. That amounts to once every 28 months for an entire century (see table).

Direct intervention occurred in 17 of the 41 cases. These incidents involved the use of U.S. military forces, intelligence agents or local citizens employed by U.S. government agencies. In another 24 cases, the U.S. government played an indirect role. That is, local actors played the principal roles, but either would not have acted or would not have succeeded without encouragement from the U.S. government.

While direct interventions are easily identified and copiously documented, identifying indirect interventions requires an exercise in historical judgment. The list of 41 includes only cases where, in the author’s judgment, the incumbent government would likely have survived in the absence of U.S. hostility. The list ranges from obvious cases to close calls. An example of an obvious case is the decision, made in the Oval Office in January 1963, to incite the Guatemalan army to overthrow the (dubiously) elected government of Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes in order to prevent an open competitive election that might have been won by left-leaning former President Juan José Arévalo. A less obvious case is that of the Chilean military coup against the government of President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. The Allende government had plenty of domestic opponents eager to see it deposed. It is included in this list because U.S. opposition to a coup (rather than encouragement) would most likely have enabled Allende to continue in office until new elections.

The 41 cases do not include incidents in which the United States sought to depose a Latin American government, but failed in the attempt. The most famous such case was the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961. Allvadorso absent from the list are numerous cases in which the U.S. government acted decisively to forestall a coup d’etat or otherwise protect an incumbent regime from being overthrown.

Overthrowing governments in Latin America has never been exactly routine for the United States. However, the option to depose a sitting government has appeared on the U.S. president’s desk with remarkable frequency over the past century. It is no doubt still there, though the frequency with which the U.S. president has used this option has fallen rapidly since the end of the Cold War.

Though one may quibble about cases, the big debates—both in the public and among historians and social scientists—have centered on motives and causes. In nearly every case, U.S. officials cited U.S. security interests, either as determinative or as a principal motivation. With hindsight, it is now possible to dismiss most these claims as implausible. In many cases, they were understood as necessary for generating public and congressional support, but not taken seriously by the key decision makers. The United States did not face a significant military threat from Latin America at any time in the 20th century. Even in the October 1962 missile crisis, the Pentagon did not believe that the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba altered the global balance of nuclear terror. It is unlikely that any significant threat would have materialized if the 41 governments deposed by the United States had remained in office until voted out or overturned without U.S. help.

In both the United States and Latin America, economic interests are often seen as the underlying cause of U.S. interventions. This hypothesis has two variants. One cites corruption and the other blames capitalism. The corruption hypothesis contends that U.S. officials order interventions to protect U.S. corporations. The best evidence for this version comes from the decision to depose the elected government of Guatemala in 1954. Except for President Dwight Eisenhower, every significant decision maker in this case had a family, business or professional tie to the United Fruit Company, whose interests were adversely affected by an agrarian reform and other policies of the incumbent government. Nonetheless, in this as in every other case involving U.S. corporate interests, the U.S. government would probably not have resorted to intervention in the absence of other concerns.

The capitalism hypothesis is a bit more sophisticated. It holds that the United States intervened not to save individual companies but to save the private enterprise system, thus benefiting all U.S. (and Latin American) companies with a stake in the region. This is a more plausible argument, based on repeated declarations by U.S. officials who seldom missed an opportunity to praise free enterprise. However, capitalism was not at risk in the overwhelming majority of U.S. interventions, perhaps even in none of them. So this ideological preference, while real, does not help explain why the United States intervened. U.S. officials have also expressed a preference for democratic regimes, but ordered interventions to overthrow elected governments more often than to restore democracy in Latin America. Thus, this preference also fails to carry much explanatory power.

An economist might approach the thorny question of causality not by asking what consumers or investors say about their preferences, but what their actions can help us to infer about them. An economist’s approach might also help in another way, by distinguishing between supply and demand. A look at the supply side suggests that interventions will occur more often where they do not cost much, either directly in terms of decision makers’ time and resources, or in terms of damage to significant interests. On the demand side, two factors seem to have been crucial in tipping decision makers toward intervention: domestic politics and global strategy.

Domestic politics seems to be a key factor in most of these cases. For example, internal documents show that President Lyndon Johnson ordered U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 not because of any plausible threat to the United States, but because he felt threatened by Republicans in Congress. Political competition within the United States accounts for the disposition of many U.S. presidentions

nts to order interventions.

The second key demand-side factor could be called the global strategy effect. The United States in the 20th century defined its strategic interests in global terms. This was particularly true after World War II when the United States moved rapidly to project its power into regions of the earth on the periphery of the Communist states where it had never had a presence before. In the case of Latin America, where the United States faced no foreseeable military threat, policy planners did nonetheless identify potential future threats. This was especially true in the 1960s, after the Cuban Revolution. The United States helped to depose nine of the governments that fell to military rulers in the 1960s, about one every 13 months and more than in any other decade. Curiously, however, we now know that U.S. decision makers were repeatedly assured by experts in the CIA and other intelligence gathering agencies that, in the words of a 1968 National Intelligence Estimate, “In no case do insurgencies pose a serious short run threat…revolution seems unlikely in most Latin American countries within the next few years.” Few challenged the idea that leftist regimes would pose a secutiry threat to the United States. threat…revolution seems unlikely in most Latin American countries

Thus, in a region where intervention was not very costly, and even major failures unlikely to damage U.S. interests, the combination of domestic political competition and potential future threats—even those with a low probability of ever materializing—appear to explain most of the 20th century US interventions.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that U.S. interventions did not serve U.S. national interests well. They generated needless resentment in the region and called into question the U.S. commitment to democracy and rule of law in international affairs. The downward trend in the past decade and half is a positive development much to be encouraged.

CHRONICLING INTERVENTIONS

U.S. DIRECT INTERVENTIONS 
Military/CIA activity that changed governments

COUNTRY YEAR EVENT SUMMARY
Cuba 1898-1902 Spanish-American War
1906-09 Ousts elected Pres. Palma; occupation regime
1917-23 U.S. reoccupation, gradual withdrawal
Dominican Rep 1916-24 U.S. occupation
1961 Assassination of Pres. Trujillo
1965 U.S. Armed Forces occupy Sto Domingo
Grenada 1983 U.S. Armed Forces occupy island; oust government
Guatemala 1954 C.I.A.-organized armed force ousts Pres. Arbenz
Haiti 1915-34 U.S. occupation
1994 U.S. troops restore constitutional government
Mexico 1914 Veracuz occupied; US allows rebels to buy arms
Nicaragua 1910 Troops to Corinto, Bluefields during revolt
1912-25 U.S. occupation
1926-33 U.S. occupation
1981-90 Contra war; then support for opposition in election
Panama 1903-14 U.S. Troops secure protectorate, canal
1989 U.S. Armed Forces occupy nation

U.S. INDIRECT INTERVENTION
Government/regime changes in which U.S. is decisive

COUNTRY YEAR EVENT SUMMARY
Bolivia 1944 Coup uprising overthrow Pres. Villaroel
1963 Military coup ousts elected Pres. Paz Estenssoro
1971 Military coup ousts Gen. Torres
Brazil 1964 Military coup ousts elected Pres. Goulart
Chile 1973 Coup ousts elected Pres. Allende.
1989-90 Aid to anti-Pinochet opposition
Cuba 1933 U.S. abandons support for Pres. Machado
1934 U.S. sponsors coup by Col. Batista to oust Pres. Grau
Dominican Rep. 1914 U.S. secures ouster of Gen. José Bordas
1963 Coup ousts elected Pres. Bosch
El Salvador 1961 Coup ousts reformist civil-military junta
1979 Coup ousts Gen. Humberto Romero
1980 U.S. creates and aids new Christian Demo junta
Guatemala 1963 U.S. supports coup vs elected Pres. Ydígoras
1982 U.S. supports coup vs Gen. Lucas García
1983 U.S. supports coup vs Gen. Rios Montt
Guyana 1953 CIA aids strikes; Govt. is ousted
Honduras 1963 Military coups ousts elected Pres. Morales
Mexico 1913 U.S. Amb. H. L. Wilson organizes coup v Madero
Nicaragua 1909 Support for rebels vs Zelaya govt
1979 U.S. pressures Pres. Somoza to leave
Panama 1941 U.S supports coup ousting elected Pres. Arias
1949 U.S. supports coup ousting constitutional govt of VP Chanís
1969 U.S. supports coup by Gen. Torrijos
John H. Coatsworth is Monroe Gutman Professor of Latin American Affairs. Coatsworth’s most recent book is “The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America,” a two-volume reference work, edited with Victor Bulmer-Thomas and Roberto Cortes Conde – See more at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/157958#sthash.I6nAx9Oq.dpuf

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arbannsmU.S. Covert Intervention in Chile: Planning to Block Allende Began Long before September 1970 Election

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 470

May 23, 2014

For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh 202/374-7281 or peter.kornbluh@gmail.com

 

battleOfChileWashington, 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: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability. Kornbluh called on the State Department to continue to pursue the declassification of all relevant records on the U.S. role in Chile, including all records of CIA contacts with the Chilean military leading up to the September 11, 1973, coup; CIA funding for the truckers’ strike as part of the “destabilization” campaign, and CIA intelligence on the executions of two U.S. citizens in the wake of the military takeover, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.

The FRUS series is scheduled to release an electronic supplement of additional records in the fall, and to publish another volume,Chile, 1973-1976, next year. “The next volume could advance the historical record on CIA support for the Chilean secret police, DINA, CIA knowledge of Operation Condor, and Pinochet’s act of international terrorism in Washington D.C. that killed Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt,” Kornbluh suggested.

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. Some 23,000 NSC, State Department, Defense Department and CIA records were released. Some of those have been included in the new FRUS collection which contains a set of meeting memoranda of the “40 Committee” — an interagency group chaired by Henry Kissinger which oversaw covert operations in Chile, as well as dozens of formerly secret cables, including CIA communications.

The release of the records comes amidst renewed debate over the CIA role in supporting the military coup in Chile. The forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs contains an article by former CIA operative Jack Devine, “What Really Happened in Chile: the CIA, the Coup Against Allende, and the Rise of Pinochet,” which reveals that intelligence he obtained on September 9, 1973, alerted President Nixon in advance to the timing of the coup. “I sent CIA headquarters in Langley a special type of top-secret cable known as a CRITIC, which takes priority over all other cables and goes directly to the highest levels of government. President Richard Nixon and other top U.S. policymakers received it immediately. ‘A coup attempt will be initiated on 11 September,’ the cable read.”

Nevertheless, Devine asserts that the CIA “did not plot with the Chilean military to overthrow Allende in 1973.”

However, according to a transcript of the first phone conversation between Kissinger and Nixon following the coup, when the President asked if “our hand” showed in the coup, Kissinger explained that “we didn’t do it,” in terms of direct participation in the military actions: “I mean we helped them,” Kissinger continued. “[deleted word] created the conditions as great as possible.”

The Kissinger-Nixon transcript is reproduced in the 2013 edition of The Pinochet File.

Read the FRUS volume here

 

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