My story: 1976 Kissinger told Pinochet he supported anti-Allende coup

Reading another of the “Kissinger the killer” stories, I came across a link in Rolling Stone to a piece I wrote in 1999 that revealed for the first time how Kissinger met with Pinochet and told him he though what he was doing was great to fight the Communists. I had discovered links to documents in the Ford Presidential Library and gotten them through a FOIA request.

Kissinger met with Pinochet in Santiago in June 1976. It was a time of rising U.S. congressional anger at Pinochet’s reign of terror. Kissinger informed the general that he was obliged to make an anodyne criticism of Pinochet to forestall adverse legislation. “My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world,” Kissinger said, according to a declassified cable, “and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government which was going Communist.” 

“Declassified cable” linked to my story in The Guardian.

I wrote more detail in the story I did for The Progressive.

My story ran also in the Spanish daily, El País.

Years later at the Council on Foreign Relations I confronted Kissinger, who was, of course, the honored speaker.  At the reception I approached him and said that the State Department report of his conversation with Pinochet showed that he supported the dictator’s coup to overthrow Allende and his murder of masses of Chileans. He replied that it is what he had to say to the Chilean head of state. We went back and forth on what he actually said. He walked away and then he came back. Finally, he said I should write about it. I said, “I did.” My story ran in UK’s “The Observer,” Spain’s “El País” and US’s “The Progressive.” He said, “I know.” Made my day!

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