A third series of secret documents open now to the public by the United States government prove that the USA was involved in the coup d’йtat in 1973 which overthrew Salvador Allende’s regime and gave power to the Fascist dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, currently under investigation for crimes against humanity. White House spokesman, Jake Siewert, said: “The actions approved by the US government in this period increased the political polarization and affected the long tradition of democratic elections, the respect for constitutional law and the state of law in Chile”. The 16,000 documents are from files opened by the CIA (1,550 documents), the FBI (620), the Department of State (13,500) and the Defence Department (370). Most of these documents date from between 1978 and 1991 but some of them cover the period before 1973. One of the most important is a document which contains the minutes of a White House meeting, in which President Richard Nixon states that “we should do everything within our reach to overthrow Allende”, to avoid Chile’s deepening relationship with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A direct action of the CIA in the coup is excluded but an indirect involvement is admitted. William Colby, Director of the CIA, sent a message to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the time: “ If the Agency played a part to allow the opposition parties and media to survive and provide active resistence to Allende’s regime, the CIA did not have a direct role in the events which gave rise to the new military government taking power”. The question remains as to what is “direct” or “indirect” involvement? Obviously, one hopes, US soldiers did not actively shoot Allende’s guards but as with any operation, planning and logistics are 95% of a battle won.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Lisbon

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