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Kissinger and Chile: The Declassified Record on Regime Change

September 12, 2013
The Pinochet File By Peter Kornbluh, The New Press, Updated edition (September 11, 2013).

The Pinochet File
By Peter Kornbluh, The New Press.

In September 1973  the US backed a Chilean military coup d’état that overthrew Salvador Allende’s democratically elected government. The coup became a decisive moment in Chilean history and an important milestone in the Cold War. For their involvement, the coup’s US backers, namely Henry Kissinger, effectively sanctioned the destruction of “democracy and rise of dictatorship in Chile,” according to Peter Kornbluh, director of the Archive’s Chile Documentation Project.

In commemoration of the coup’s 40th anniversary the Archive is posting the top ten documents it has obtained on Kissinger’s role in the regime change. According to the Archive posting, “[t]he documents, which include transcripts of Kissinger’s “telcons” — telephone conversations — that were never shown to the special Senate Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in the mid 1970s, provide key details about the arguments, decisions, and operations Kissinger made and supervised during his tenure as national security adviser and secretary of state.”

One of the 'top docs' on Kissinger's role in the Chilean coup, a September 12, 1970, telephone conversation between Kissinger and CIA director Richard Helm's about a preemptive coup in Chile. "We will not let Chile go down the drain," Kissinger declared.

One of the ‘top docs’ on Kissinger’s role in the Chilean coup, a September 12, 1970, telephone conversation between Kissinger and CIA director Richard Helms about a preemptive coup in Chile. “We will not let Chile go down the drain,” Kissinger declared.

At a special “Tribute to Justice” on September 9, 2013, Peter  Kornbluh received the Charles Horman Truth Foundation Award for the Archive’s work in obtaining the declassification of thousands of formerly secret documents on Chile after Pinochet’s arrest in London in October 1998. The Chile Documentation Project’s singular achievement is the declassification of 24,000 U.S. records, which provide a ready database for ongoing prosecutions of Chilean secret police and military officials, and provide a foundation for a new generation of scholarship on Chile, the U.S., and Pinochet.

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