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December 22, 2016
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July 6, 2010
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June 13, 1985
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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/06: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201460003-7 WALL STREET JOURNAL A ErjLE APPEARED 13 June 1985 043 PAG"r --- ' Chile: Debunking the Myths By MARK FALLOFF In 1973 Chile's Marxist president, Salva- dor Allende, died in a-violent coupid'etat that installed a military junta, still in power, whose record on basic freedoms is one of the worst in Latin America. In 1972 it was discovered that Interna tional Te en one g- Te e - nived (unsuccessfully) with the Central In tP 1 nce AE ncv to nr v nt Alh ndP from taking office. And .in 1974 and 1975 the Church committee of the U.S. Senate found &F-Me U.S. had played an important co- faced shortages, hyperinflation, strikes and. violence from both left and right. Much of this is known, but Mr. Davis sheds new light on the story. The opposi- tion to Allende was slow to grow, he says. Although from the start there was serious doubt about Allende's commitment to con- _ stitutional process, the Chilean right wing would never have acquired the force it did had not land and -property seizures and government evasion of basic legal issues frightened many ordinary citizens. Mr. I Bookshelf "The Last Two Years STAT of Salvador Allende" By Nathaniel Davis Did the U.S. play a direct or indirect role in the coup itself-even by way of communications assistance, .indirect en- couragement, or foreknowledge? Mr. Davis concludes that it did not. While new evidence may yet- surface, 12 years of "in- vestigative reporting" have failed to find a smoking gun. The U.S. policy in Chile could not be called a whopping success. The price paid to avoid a civil war or the fate of Cuba or Nicaragua was very high. But it would be a tragedy twice compounded if misconcep- tions about the U.S. role in Chile prevented us from aiding beleaguered democrats in .other parts of the world. vert role m events nrecedm? All ne de_s Davis shows, too, how the Communist overthrow. Party, which had been the "moderating" These revelations gave rise to the myth element in Allende's coalition, was finally that the U.S. worked to destroy Chile's de- drawn toward a more clearly insurrection- mocracy and replace it with a fascist dic- ary position. Above all, he establishes that tatorship. Today this myth serves-by the Chilean generals "did not rush to their analogy-to cripple U.S. foreign policy, in- task of overthrowing the President." Time hibiting our support of anti-Communist and again, he writes, they went-to Allende struggles elsewhere. and asked him "to reconsider his policies It would seem, then, that we still have and to control the extremists." something to learn about Chile under Al- The role of the U.S. in these events oc- lende. To that end, Nathaniel Davis's "The cupies nearly half of this long book. There Last Two Years of Salvador Allende" (Cor- is no doubt that behind a facade of diplo- nell University Press, 480 pages, $24.95) is matic correctness President Nixon and Na- the first book on Chile in nearly a decade tional Security Council adviser Henry Kis- that has . something fresh to say. Its author singer were actively hostile to the Allende served as U.S. ambassador in Santiago government. However, they had too many during the Allende period, and he retraces other concerns to be able to pursue Allende his steps and those of the U.S. government single-mindedly. Also, negotiations over with meticulous care. most of the main economic issues never Although this book is mainly a huge completely broke down. work of scholarship, Mr. Davis has a per- Far more controversial was covert as- sonal interest in it as well. After an Ameri- sistance to the Chilean opposition-at least can film maker, Charles Horman, disap- $6 million worth disbursed over a three- peared following the coup, Horman's par- year period to political parties, newspa- ents filed suit against Mr. Davis for alleg- pers, radio stations and magazines. The edly failing. to use the resources of his aim was to keep the opposition alive until embassy to find their son (an action they the next presidential election, scheduled subsequently withdrew). Also, author ` for 1976. This assistance was not gratui- l d Thomas Hauser and Greek film maker Constantine Costa-Gavras broadly sug- gested in "Missing" (book and film) that Mr. Davis and his staff colluded with the Chilean military in young Horman's mur- der.because he supposedly had evidence of a U.S. role in the coup. (In response, Mr. Davis and several other plaintiffs have filed legal action against Mr. Hauser, Mr. Costa-Gavras and Universal Pictures.) Nonetheless, this book is civilized and fair. If anything, Mr. Davis is generous to Allende. He accurately describes the Chilean president as both a democrat and a revolutionary socialist who saw no con- tradiction between these two roles. To achieve a consensus he never won from the electorate, Allende brought military offi- cers into his cabinet. Ultimately, the gen- erals grew tired of bridging the gap be- tween Allende and a citizenry that by 1973 Mr. Falcoff is a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. STAT - ia A tous: Toward the independent me lende pursued a policy of asphyxiation.. In- stead of outright censorship, he used. wage and price controls to try to bankrupt such enterprises, and as the circle of national- ized companies grew, he was better able to withhold advertising revenues. The nation- alizations also put the opposition parties at a disadvantage in competing with a gov- ernment that disposed of perhaps the ulti- mate electoral resource-the. capacity to give employment. The choice facing the U.S. was not, Mr. Davis writes, "between CIA intervention and a hands-off posture that would leave -Ahe Chilean political process to function un-. disturbe Ramer, was a ween co- vert action and abstention in a skewed po- litical struggle," Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/06: CIA-RDP90-00552R000201460003-7