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  • President Salvador Alleden during the swearing-in ceremony, Santiago, Chile, 1970.

    President Salvador Alleden during the swearing-in ceremony, Santiago, Chile, 1970. | Photo: Twitter/ @CancilleriaVE

Published 12 November 2020
Opinion

Declassified White House records show how Richard Nixon planned to overthrow Chilean leader Salvador Allende as soon as the election result that gave him victory was known.

The U.S. National Security Archive declassified documents that provide further evidence of President Richard Nixon's administration plan to overthrow Salvador Allende's socialist government (1970-1973).

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In a conversation, Nixon and some of his officials evaluated what role Washington should play in the face of Allende's victory in the September 4, 1970 election, one document revealed.

In that regard, then-U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger alerted Nixon to "the adverse effects that the Allende presidency could have, both on the relationship between Chile and the U.S., and its possible influence in the hemisphere."

Another document shows how the Nixon administration discussed how it should carry out the plan to overthrow the Chilean government. 

While Secretary of State William Rogers proposed promoting Allende's downfall "without being counterproductive," Defense Secretary Melvin Laird bluntly suggested "doing everything possible to hurt Allende and bring him down."

Finally, "Nixon maximized pressure on the Allende government to prevent its consolidation and limit its ability to implement policies contrary to the U.S. and hemispheric interests," the documents revealed.

The U.S. coordinated with other governments in the region, such as Argentina and Brazil, to promote intervention. Their efforts led to the coup d'état and the assassination of Chile's socialist leader on September 11, 1973.

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