by Peter Kornbluh

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Kissinger/KissingerTranscriptsChile.html

[...]

"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.