3 November 2020 — Origin: National Security Archive
Salvador Allende’s Historic Inauguration 50 Years Later
Declassified White House Records Show How Nixon-Kissinger Set Strategy of Destabilization—And Why
Washington D.C., November 3, 2020 — Several days after Salvador Allende’s history-changing November 3, 1970, inauguration, Richard Nixon convened his National Security Council for a formal meeting on what policy the U.S. should adopt toward Chile’s new Popular Unity government. Only a few officials who gathered in the White House Cabinet Room knew that, under Nixon’s orders, the CIA had covertly tried, and failed, to foment a preemptive military coup to prevent Allende from ever being inaugurated. The SECRET/SENSITIVE NSC memorandum of conversation revealed a consensus that Allende’s democratic election and his socialist agenda for substantive change in Chile threatened U.S. interests, but divergent views on what the U.S. could, and should do about it. “We can bring his downfall, perhaps, without being counterproductive,” suggested Secretary of State William Rogers, who opposed overt hostility and aggression toward Chile. “We have to do everything we can to hurt [Allende] and bring him down,” agreed the secretary of defense, Melvin Laird.