MEMO: CHILE - A STATUS REPORT

Created: 9/21/1970

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

MEMORANDUM SUBJECT:

tatus Report

approved for release0

Situation

political situation in Chile istate ofPresident Frci waiting for the military to make itsthe military waiting for the politicians to lead the way. apparent certainty is that Frci, the key to any politicaleffort to deny Allende the presidency, remains Prior toeptember Frei believed he could controlnumber of Christian Democratic Party (PDC)to have Alessandri elected in thectoberelection instead of Allende. Since Alessandri, thein the presidential election, had publicly indicatedwould resign if chosen in the run-off, his selection byopen the door for new elections in which Frei could be a Although the PDC National Convention will not meetOctober to decide which candidate to support, Frciindicated that he could controlf thePDC votes required to elect Alessandri. Having lostcontrol of the PDC Frei now favors military intervention_

Recent Santiago Station reports indicateoup plan is being discussed among the military wKich calls for:

two-thirdb of the voters of Chile an opportunity to chooseovernment led by Popular Unity forcesemocratic regime. No time table has been Pet for this coup maneuver.

While reports about this coup possibility persist, there arc several potentially critical flaws which our-COS has pointedts initiation depends entirely upon Frci's willingness to incur the risk of civil war and his steadfastness in seeing that plan through. Furthermore, the plan does not indicate clearly the role of Army high command, or whether General Schneider, Army Commander-in-Chief, will support it fully. Although neither Frci nor Schneider have distinguished themselves in feats of bravery in the past, both recognizeommunist takeover is clearly in the offing. As0 hours,he same sources who provided the information on thecoup plan have expressed their concern that the talkilitary takeover is occurring at second echelon levels and not at the command levelC Army Schneider,of Navy Porta, and CINC Air Force Guerraty).

f

II. Actions Taken Underommittee Authorization A. Propaganda:

1. All Latin American Stations and selectedtations have been instructed to generate press comments and editorials which are intended to:

create an atmosphere of hopearxist government in Chile will

premature acceptance by theof an Allende fait accompli;

Chileansajority ofLatins are concerned, watchful, andan appropriate solution can be found;

. d. generate support for the efforts ol Eland publishers to continue to fight to bringdefeat;

e. publicize the attempt by the Communists to-iiitin tjijij! urtiic

mentary run-off.

ta statement by the Intcr-AmericanAssociation (SIP) which describes the Communist attemptcontrol of the media in Chile and protests this effortand muzzle the free press. This statementoneptember and carried in the Washingtonattachment for full statement) oneptember. statement that the press in Chile isby Communist and Marxist forces andignificant impact in Latin Americanwhich we hope will result in increased coverageproblem Allende poses for Chile. The endorsementtop SIP leadership of this statement plus the broad(Knight Newspapers, Scripps-IIoward, New Yorkwell as leading South American papers Like La Prensamembers of the LATIN, the new iivmj

get the word out.

have been taken to:

activities and anti-Allende developments in Chile;

filing

and other coverage of "Communism vs Democracy" la Chile.

of the response to our firstSeptember) is the placement and replay report forperiod endingeptember which showsin eleven different dailici

5. Selected special correspondents from Latin American newspapers and news services with whom we arc in touch, as well as other area newspapers, arc being sent to Santiago for an on-thc-sitc coverage and developing their 'own stories. Some are already there with others on their way.

0. Ti.i' iu;.Jlu if uuiip'uign have Been

excellent thus far. This willontinuing effort with new

information and trends being sent to Jhose^

from Our Santiago Station by immediate precedence.

' B. Political Economic

we have learned that there is clear evidenceossible coup which calls for President Frei's authorization to lake the following steps:

of the Cabinet;

of the new Cabinet composedmilitary figures;

by Frei of an acting President;

departure from Chile.

The success ofoup would ultimately depend on Frei's total commitment to follow through.

'wo are

tq.pin down the" reasons whj

Reactions to Chilean Elections

GOA is deeply concerned about theelection results.

President LevingMon said the election wasatastrophe" for Argentina and noted that he already feels "blockaded" by hostile forces.

Ministry and military officials arebeing "concerned" and even "alarmed" by thehowever, our Embassy reports that theproposed to take no initiatives at this time."

Allende's victory has been generally well received in Peru. Although members of the Velasco government have refrained from making any public comment, maoy arc known to share the views of Rear Admiral Vargas Caballcro, who believes an Allcnde government ".will'be auspicious

;u- 'ii.ii i^nynow-ever, and there are some generals as well as more mod-erate Cabinet member* whd are worried about having

a Communist slate on Peru's southern border.

President Ovandoeptemberconference said thatit is possible for Bolivia to live

in friendshiparxist regime that doesn't use violence to impose its" and expressed the belief that the Chilean Congress should declare Allende winner.

military leaders, however, view anwith considerable alarm; they fear thatterrorists and guerrillas will receive covertan Allcnde-

President Medici is most concerned over the prospectarxist government in Chile and has referred to Frei as "the Kerensky of Chile." Medici believes that Chile willecond Cuba despite AUende's promises and has indicated that he will sever diplomaticf Chilerastic turn toeit as Cuba did in"

. fc .

I. Venezuela's President Calderaress conference

oneptember saidmuch can be learned from the Chilean elections, both by those who celebrate and those whond added that he believes President Freitill the most popular political figure in Chile.

2. COPEI leaders were badly shakenesult of the Allende victory,7 September UPI article in El Mcrcurio quotes COPEI International Affairs Secretary, ernardo Level Osuna as saying that it would be "dangerous and foolhardy" for the Chilean PDC to elect Allcnde onctober.

A News Release

Freedom of the press in Chile is being strangled by Communist and Marxist forces and their allies.

The Intcr-Araerican Press Association has received information from Chile that threats of violence and intimidation are causing the resignation of news officials, the sale of newspapers and radio stations, the dismissal of anti-Marxist editors and reporters from newspapers, radio and television stations and upheaval within press-related trade unions.

Those practicing intimidation have already gained control over all of Chile's non-government television channels.

IAPA has learned that emissaries from one political factiondeal" to representatives of Augustin

*

Edwards, published of El Mcrcurio, one of Chile's and the

hemisphere's most distinguished news'papersthe oldest

i

Spanish language newspaper in continuouswas founded*

crcuriq would drop its opposition to the seating of Salvador Allendo, as President of Chile, the emissaries said, the new government would nationalize only the newspaper properties of owner Augustin Edwards, but would permit Edwards to retain other business holdings in Chile.

Mr. Edwards and the exocutive of El Mercuric, flatly rejected the offer.

It is evident in reports from Chile that certain political forces are attempting to smother free speech In that country and to thwart free political dialogue.

The Intcr-American Press Association must protest these activities in the strongest possible terms. IAPA does not prcsuae to interfere in Chilean partisan politics The choice of leadersesponsibility only of the Chilean people and the Chilean Congress.

But .the IAPA must raise Its voice against this attempt to intimidate, coerce andargef the established press in an American' Ration.

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