Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXI, Chile, 1969-1973

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXI, Chile, 1969-1973
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXI, Chile, 1969-1973
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This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford presidential administrations. The volume documents U.S. policy toward Chile from January 20, 1969 to September 24, 1973, when the Nixon administration announced its extension of diplomatic recognition to the military junta under General Augusto Pinochet. The primary focus of Volume XXI is on the attitudes adopted and actions taken by the U.S. Government toward the installation of two successive Chilean presidents: the election and inauguration of Salvador Allende in September 1970 and the military coup d’état of General Augusto Pinochet in September 1973. Although organized into five chapters, this volume is perhaps best surveyed in terms of three periods in Allende’s political career:

1) Before his election on September 4, 1970;
2) Between his election and inauguration on November 4, 1970;
3) After his inauguration until his over-throw and death on September 11, 1973.

The first period also corresponds to the final two years of the administration of President Eduardo Frei, which, in terms of U.S. policy, continued largely along lines established during his first four years in office. Frei, for instance, received substantial political and economic support, including covert assistance during the 1964 election from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Since the deliberations on whether to provide similar assistance to any of the major candidates in the 1970 election were heavily influenced by the decision-making process six years earlier, as well as by political developments in the intervening years, readers should consult the compilation on Chile in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XXXI, South and Central America; Mexico.

Allende’s narrow victory in the 1970 election represented a decisive break in this continuity, a break that is clearly represented in the pace of documentation, as the Nixon administration sought to block Allende’s confirmation and inauguration.

The second period, covering these intervening two months, is the heart of the volume, documenting day-to-day decisions in a series of meetings, memoranda, and backchannel messages on Track I and Track II, attempting to block Allende, either by constitutional means or by military coup d’etat, respectively.

The third period, which picks up the story after Allende’s inauguration, demonstrates how the Nixon administration adopted and implemented its “cool and correct” policy to destabilize the Chilean Government while simultaneously strengthening ties with the Chilean military. This policy was largely determined less through covert operations and more through the formal interagency process on economic affairs, including discouraging favorable terms in international lending and foreign assistance to Chile, while encouraging a favorable settlement in the nationalization of copper and other Chilean industries, previously dominated by U.S. multinational corporations. The volume concludes with the events of September 1973: the coup d’etat under General Pinochet, Allende’s suicide, and U.S. diplomatic recognition of the military junta.

Other print titles available within the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series can be found here:

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Abbreviations and Terms
Note on U.S. Covert Actions Chile, 69–73
A “Noisy Democracy”: The Decline of Eduardo Frei, January–December 1969
A Spoiling Operation: The 1970 Chilean Presidential Election, January 1–September 4, 1970
Two Tracks: U.S. Intervention in the Confirmation of the Chilean President, September 5–November 4, 1970
Cool and Correct: The U.S. Response to the Allende Administration, November 5, 1970–December 31, 1972
“That Chilean Guy May Have Some Problems”: The Downfall of Salvador Allende, January–September 1973 840


High School students, as well as undergraduate and graduate political science, international relations, and foreign policy students, undertaking research about President Nixon’s administration, especially foreign affairs negotiations would be interested in this primary source reference volume. Additionally, presidential scholars, political scientists, historians, and public and academic libraries may be interested in this historical reference volume.

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State Dept., Bureau of Public Affiars, Office of the Historian
  • McElveen, James
Editors: James McElveen; James Siekmeier. General Editor: Adam M. Howard.
Key Phrases:
  • Chile, 1969-1973
  • Presidents, Chile, Election
  • Chile, Politics and government
  • Chile, Social conditions, 20th century
  • Democracy, Chile, History, 20th century
  • Pinochet Ugarte, Augusto
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