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Kissinger nixon discuss 1973 chile coup { May 26 2004 }

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New Transcripts Point to U.S. Role in Chile Coup
Wed May 26, 2004 08:30 PM ET

By Pablo Bachelet
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Henry Kissinger told President Richard Nixon days after the 1973 coup in Chile the United States helped create the conditions for the ouster of socialist President Salvador Allende, newly declassified transcripts showed on Wednesday.

The transcripts show Nixon and Kissinger relieved about the toppling of Allende, who killed himself the day of the coup. The transcripts quote Kissinger, then national security adviser, as saying newspapers were "bleeding because a pro-communist government has been overthrown."

"I mean instead of celebrating - in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes," Kissinger told Nixon on Sept. 16, 1973, five days after the bloody coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. About 3,000 people were killed or disappeared under Pinochet's 17-year rule.

"Well we didn't - as you know - our hand doesn't show on this one, though," Nixon told Kissinger in the Sept. 16 transcript.

"We didn't do it. I mean we helped them," Kissinger told Nixon, adding that "(deleted) created the conditions as great as possible," in an apparent reference to a person or institution.

"That is right and that is the way it is going to be played," Nixon responded.

A spokesman for Kissinger could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The National Security Archive, a Washington research institute that also serves as a library of declassified documents, released over 20,000 pages of taped telephone conversations on Wednesday involving Kissinger from 1969 to 1974.

Peter Kornbluh, Chile analyst for the National Security Archive, said the document was "damning proof, in Kissinger's own words, that the Nixon administration directly contributed to creating a coup climate in Chile which made the September 11, 1973, military takeover possible."

The coup against Allende would later become a symbol of U.S. Cold War intervention in Latin America.

Kissinger, appearing the week of the Sept. 16 conversations at Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination as secretary of state, denied any U.S. involvement in the coup.

A year later, after the leak of details of a CIA destabilization program, Kissinger told senators: "The intent of the United States was not to destabilize or to subvert (Allende). ... Our concern was with the election of 1976 and not at all with a coup in 1973 about which we knew nothing and (with) which we had nothing to do," according to a National Security Archive statement.

In the Sept. 16 text, Nixon tells Kissinger, "As far as people are concerned let me say they aren't going to buy this crap from the liberals on this one."

"They know it is a pro-communist government and that is the way it is."

Copyright Reuters 2004.

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