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Cryptonym: FUBELT

Definition:
Operation to prevent Salvador Allende from coming to power in Chile, or to unseat him.
Status:
Documented
Sources:

The Chile Coup -- The U.S. Hand by Peter Kornbluh, iF magazine, Oct. 25, 1998

Ambassador Edward Korry began sending frantic, minute-by-minute commentaries about the last days of Chile's 1970 campaign. Korry's cables became known inside the State Department as "Korrygrams" because of their unusual language and undiplomatic opinions. On election day, Korry sent no fewer than 18 updates. He reported that he could hear "the mounting roar of Allendistas acclaiming their victory" from the streets. Korry wrote: 'We have suffered a grievous defeat.' The next three weeks, Korry flooded Washington with lurid reports alleging a communist takeover. In one cable, he announced that 'there is a graveyard smell to Chile, the fumes of a democracy in decomposition. They stank in my nostrils in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and they are no less sickening here today.' Allende's victory also sent Nixon into a rage and started the president's men plotting how to stop Allende's inauguration. Cables focused on a scheme to derail formal ratification of Allende's victory by Chile's congress on Oct. 24, 1970. According to one idea, the congress would defy the electorate and pick the runner-up, Jorge Alessandri, 'who would renounce the presidency and thus provoke new elections in which [outgoing president Eduardo] Frei would run' On Sept. 12, Korry and Assistant Secretary of State John Richardson met secretly with Frei at the presidential palace. While much of the conversation remains classified, Korry reported that Frei saw only a 'one in 20 chance' to stop Allende, but added that he could not 'afford to be anything but the president of all Chileans at this time.' Despite the odds, Nixon ordered the CIA to try. The covert action to reverse the results of the Chilean election -- by political or military means -- took the code name, "Project FUBELT." On Sept. 16, CIA director Richard Helms informed his senior covert action staff that 'President Nixon had decided that an Allende regime in Chile was not acceptable to the United States,' according to one declassified CIA memo."

104-10059-10210: LETTER/MEMO RE GENESIS OF PROJECT

9/16/70 Memorandum for the Record: "On this date the Director (of CIA) called a meeting in connection with the Chilean situation. Present in addition to the director was (General Robert Cushman) DDCI, Col. White, ExDir-Compt, Thomas Karamessines, DDP, Cord Meyer, ADDP, William V. Broe, Chief WH Division, James Flannery, Deputy Chief, WH Division, Thomas Polgar, REDACTED, REDACTED, Chief, Covert Action, WH Division, and Raymond Warren, Chief, WH/4. The Director told the group that President Nixon had decided that an Allende regime in Chile was not acceptable to the United States. The President asked the Agency to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him...it was decided that Thomas Karamessines, DDP, would have overall responsibility for this project...the chief of the task force would be Mr. David Phillips..."

Contributors:
Bill Simpich

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