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Kissinger and 9/11(/1973)
By credited author on Tuesday 17 September 2013, 14:15 - Permalink
by Peter Kornbluh
"I want an appraisal of what the options are," Nixon told Kissinger. When
Kissinger told him that the State Department's position was to "let Allende
come in and see what we can work out," Nixon immediately vetoed the idea: "Like
against Castro? Like in Czechoslovakia? The same people said the same thing.
Don't let them do that."
But Nixon cautioned: "We don't want a big story leaking out that we are
trying to overthrow the Govt."
Secretary of State William Rogers, who Nixon and Kissinger largely excluded
from deliberations over Chile, was similarly sensitive to such a story leaking
out. Indeed, the transcript of his conversation with Kissinger two days later
underscored just how concerned the State Department was to the possibility that
Washington might get caught trying to undermine Chile's electoral democracy. In
their September 14th discussion, Rogers accurately predicted that "no matter
what we do it will probably end up dismal." He also cautioned Kissinger to
cover up any paper trail on U.S. operations "to be sure the paper record
doesn't look bad."
"My feeling--and I think it coincides with the President's--is that we
ought to encourage a different result from the [censored reference]," Rogers
conceded to Kissinger, "but should do so discretely so that it doesn't
backfire." Their conversation continues:
Kissinger: The only question is how one defines 'backfire.'
Rogers: Getting caught doing something. After all we've said about
elections, if the first time a Communist wins the U.S. tries to prevent the
constitutional process from coming into play we will look very bad.
Kissinger: the President's view is to do the maximum possible to prevent an
Allende takeover, but through Chilean sources and with a low posture."
The next day, during a 15 minute meeting at the White House attended by
Kissinger, Nixon instructed CIA director Helms that Allende's election was "not
acceptable" and ordered the agency to "make the economy scream" and "save
Chile," as Helms recorded in his notes. The CIA launched a massive set of
covert operations--first to block Allende's inauguration, and, when that
failed, to undermine his ability to successfully govern. "Our main concern in
Chile is the prospect that [Allende] can consolidate himself and the picture
projected to the world will be his success," Nixon told his National Security
Council on November 6, 1970, two days after Allende took office.