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December 22, 2016
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January 19, 2012
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March 3, 1985
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ST Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5 AP ?P`LF.. APPEARED Q 71 i,r" CHILE'S PRESIDENT Salvador Allende died in a bloody coup d'etat that abruptly ended his country's ex WASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE 3 March 1985 several chapters of the book. The article opens with Davis' account of the attack on the Moneda, the presidential palace in Santiago: penment w[th Marxist This article is excerpted from The government on Sept. 11, 1973. Nearly Last Two Years of Salvador Allende 12 years later, Chile continues under themilitaryovernm t c' by Nathaniel Davis, to be published g en of en. Augusto Pinochet, who recently extended a state of siege designed to quell unrest. At the time of Allende's fall, Nathaniel Davis was in the Chilean capital of Santiago as U.S. ambassador. An outspoken man who I in May by Cornell University Press. Copyright ?1985 by Cornell University. The excerpts were selected by Don Podesta of the The Washington Post Foreign Service staff. has attracted both praise and S WE APPROACHED criticism, he was characterized in the the downtown area, film "Missing" as a partisan of U.S. perhaps 20 blocks from business interests in Chile who was the Moneda and the involved with the military officers embassy, we saw cara- who engineered the coup. Davis and bineros systematically several others are suing the makers A hlo cking off stree I ts In his forthcoming book, The Last "?W.L% w we center Two Years of Salvador Allende, with orange traffic cones. We raced along g Davis, now retired from the Foreign parallel to the line of S 11 .. ervice and Hixon professor of barriers and managed -'manities at Harvey Mudd College to find a section that in Claremont, Calif.. discusses U.S. was not yet blocked. In we went. We policy toward Allende'sgovernment, got to within three or four blocks of mciudiri~ CIA aid to the opposition the embassy before we had to park and his role in it. He also examines the car because of the fighting and Allende's personality and style. proceed on foot. By then it was about What follows is excerpted from a.m., and the army was moving into action in the center of the city. We heard the crack of rifles, the chugging of tear-gas guns, and the burping of automatic weapons a block or two away. At about that time Orlando Letel- ier was brought out of the Ministry of Defense in custody. Chilean television broadcast this scene, and my wife viewed it. She recalls that Letelier had always been positive and upbeat, his faith in the future manifest. He looked very changed. Except for newspaper photos, that was the last time my wife or I saw him. The president, reportedly in a state of considerable excitement, inspected the defensive arrangements, had the carabineros' small-arms magazines opened, and had some gas masks dis- tributed. He received an added blow when Alfredo Joignant telephoned to report that investigative police head- quarters had been seized by troops. It is alleged that alcohol flowed freely within the Moneda, and well it might have, for alcohol helps dull anguish- as the president had long known. Ac- cording to Allende's daughter Isabel, the president never lost his human touch: "The last picture I have of my father in my mind's eye is as a com- batant, going from window to win- dow, raising the spirits of his guards, joking with them ..." At about 11:30 am., Socialist ~V~I II~,~L~41? Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5 Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5 deputy Erich Schnake broadcast a dramatic but fruitless appeal to the Chilean people to march to the center of Santiago. Outside the Moneda the action resumed. Tanks of the Second Ar- mored Regiment were drawn up north of the palace across Constitu- tion Square. Soldiers of the Infantry School were on Teatinos Street, be- tween the Hotel Carrera and the U.S. Embassy offices. Troops of the army's Noncommissioned Officers' School were on Morande Street, east of the Moneda. The Tacna Regiment was to the south, on the Alameda O'Higgins. All these troops were exchanging fire with the [president's guard] in the Moneda and with the snipers on the higher floors of surrounding build- ings. The junta's renewed demands that Allende and his people surrender were met by the president's contin- ued refusal to do so. Pinochet urged that the air bombardment commence without further delay, as he feared that Allende was trying to gain time for the workers of the industrial belts to come to the center of the city. Finally the aerial attack com- menced. The first pass came at 11:52, followed by six more in the ensuing 21 minutes. The planes turned be- hind San Cristobal hill, went into a very steep dive and launched their rockets when they were over the Mapocho railroad station. Their aim was perfect. The rockets went straight into the doors and windows of the north side of the Moneda Palace. Those of us in the embassy felt the tremor of the explosions beneath our feet. In a letter a day or two later my wife described the scene as it looked from four miles away, on the ridge on which the embassy residence sat "Shortly before noon we heard the jets. It was an eerily beautiful sight as they came in from nowhere. The sun glinted on their wings. There were I only two. Still in formation, they swung gracefully through the sky in a great circle, and then they tipped and dove ... one bomb each . . . then, a gentle curve upwards. Sun glistened on the wings again, and there was an- other run." The president and his entourage had taken refuge in the side cellars of the Moneda, on the theory that the pilots would hit only the central por- tion of the palace in order to avoid damaging surrounding buildings. The bombardment set fires in the Moneda, and the conflagration soon spread, filling much of the north side of the building with smoke, flames and gases. The defenders' gas masks apparently were not effective. Part of the roof caved in, and pieces of plas- ter, splintered furniture, curtains and office materials were strewn about. Apparently Allende died between 1:50 p.m. and 2:20 p.m.; accounts dif- fer as to the time. Leftist descriptions of Allende's death have Chilean sol- diers gunning the president down in a i firefight. But Salvador Allende prob- ably died by his own act in the Inde- pendence Salon from bullets from Fidel Castro's gift submachine gun. That conclusion does not diminish Allende's real courage in his last hours. I AM REASONABLY confident that it was not U.S. policy during my time in Chile to "destabilize" Allende and bring him down. I cannot say with the same confidence, however, that all personalities in Washington were of the same mind. Seymour Hersh has explicitly charged that there were sharp differences- within the Nixon administration. On 8 Sep- tember 1974 .quo ti irector of Central teIligence William lbv Indirectly and other reliable U.S. offi- cials as his sources, he descricri the lineup as follows: agency's gyrations from 1970 to 1973 were considered a test o e to g of hea cash a ents to brig down a government vie as an o- nistic toward the Uni fates. State Department ... wanted to stretch out any clandestine activities t o permit t h e r e g i m e to _ come to a political end. The argument was be. tween those who wanted to use force and end it quickly rather than to play it out. Henry [Kissinger) was on the side of the former-he was for consid- erable obstruction."' Hersh's description of a kind of laboratory test of a technique seems implausible. From all we know about their feelings, both Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger had deeply held emo- tions and convictions about Chile. A judgment about U.S. covert financial in tervention has to take some account of what others were doing. In Chile, as in most democra- cies, the continuation of constitu- tional government depended on the t survival of a constitutional opposition and the, UP [Allende's ruling Unidad Popular coalition) government was attempting to asphyxiate its adver- saries. There were all too many thumbs pushing to unbalance the Chilean political scales. Not only did the Al- lende government try to cripple the opposition, but UP leaders and their foreign backers also financed progov- bring Chile to socialism through legal and institutional means? Was he sin- cere when he presented his vision of the Chilean Way in his May 1971 ad- dress to the Congress? I believe that the answer is "Yes"; Allende wanted these things. More than two decades previously, in 1948, Allende had criti- cized the Soviets' restriction of indi- vidual liberty and their negation of "rights which we deem inalienable to , the human personality." During the intervening years most of his posi- tions were consistent with this asser- tion. It was only the road to socialism, however, that Allende wanted to i make democratic and institutional. He did not envisage the Chilean peo. ple voting exploitative and capitalist 'institutions back into power. Once "the people" took over in the com- plete sense, Allende believed that they would continue to rule. Allende's enemies could truthfully point to many flaws. He fully partici- pated in government by legerdemain and condoned the violation of Chile's liberties, laws and constitution. His propensity to renege on commit- ments, his willingness to let -dirty work be done, his dissembling-all were part of Salvador - Allende. -But Allende was also called by some "the First Dreamer of the Republic"; and he dreamed marvelous, soaring dreams. His aspiration was for a bet- ter Chile and for happiness and ful- fillment for his compatriots. Few peo- ple are altogether consistent in out- look, and Salvador Allende revealed more contradictions and anomalies than most. Nonetheless, he was an extraordinary leader and a pro- foundly impressive human being. It is true that the Chilean Way led across a sea of troubles. At first high and broad, the road was progressively Qi(NIJRUed Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5 Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5 eaten away by turbulent waters, with' waves of leftist assault and UP folly undermining one bank as rightist at- tacks washed at the other. The cause- way got narrower and more treacher- ous, and the prospect ahead more ob- scure. By the early months of 1973, thinking people could not help but see that the constitutional road to 1976 was crumbling. Nevertheless, Allende and his trusted collaborators could have made wiser decisions. Had they been more resolute, consistent and farsighted they could have faced the necessity of a clear choice of policy and made the commitments essential to it. It might have been painful, but it would not have been impossible. All this matters because it is im- portant that hopes of social transfor- mation through democracy and law be kept alive if possible, across the spectrum of the left. The Chilean Way was the highest expression we have yet seen of central-core Marxists trying to follow the peaceful road to socialism. Socialism may not be the best or even a good way to order a society's affairs, but the ability of free citizens to choose socialism, or capi- talism, or some other economic sys- I tem is beyond price. Too many peo- ple in the world share Allende's so- cialist convictions for democrats to abandon that aspiration to men with guns who preach bloody revolution as the only road to social justice. Too many of the world's people live out their lives in the dust of poverty, hun- ger, sickness and ignorance and op- pression for democratic socialists to facilitate the task of the totalitarians of the left. It should not be necessary for those who share Salvador Allen- de's dream to accept the secret police- man's boot on the stairs at night as a necessary price for the achievement of their economic and social values. If the possibility of a Chilean Way should be decisively ruled out for the world's leftists, we would all have rea- son to be sorry. 0 3, Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/01/19: CIA-RDP90-00965R000201400003-5