Kissinger blocked demarche on international assassinations to Condor States

(see Condor States on wikipedia) – RESCINDED ORDERS TO WARN MILITARY REGIMES DAYS BEFORE LETELIER BOMBING IN WASHINGTON D.C., Overruled Aides who Wanted to Head Off a Series of International Murders

Published on Nationa Security Archives, Electronic Briefing Book No. 312, edited by Peter Kornbluh (202/994-7116 office, 202/374-7281 cell, e-mail), Posted April 10, 2010.

Washington, DC, April 10, 2010 – Only five days before a car-bomb planted by agents of the Pinochet regime rocked downtown Washington D.C. on September 21, 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger rescinded instructions sent to, but never implemented by, U.S. ambassadors in the Southern Cone to warn military leaders there against orchestrating “a series of international murders,” declassified documents obtained and posted by the National Security Archive revealed today.

The Secretary “has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter,” stated a September 16, 1976, cable sent from Lusaka (where Kissinger was traveling) to his assistant secretary of state for Inter-American affairs, Harry Shlaudeman. The instructions effectively ended efforts by senior State Department officials to deliver a diplomatic demarche, approved by Kissinger only three weeks earlier, to express “our deep concern” over “plans for the assassination of subversives, politicians, and prominent figures both within the national borders of certain Southern Cone countries and abroad.” Aimed at the heads of state of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, the demarche was never delivered.

“The September 16th cable is the missing piece of the historical puzzle on Kissinger’s role in the action, and inaction, of the U.S. government after learning of Condor assassination plots,” according to Peter Kornbluh, the Archive’s senior analyst on Chile and author of the book, The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability. “We know now what happened: The State Department initiated a timely effort to thwart a ‘Murder Inc’ in the Southern Cone, and Kissinger, without explanation, aborted it,” Kornbluh said. “The Kissinger cancellation on warning the Condor nations prevented the delivery of a diplomatic protest that conceivably could have deterred an act of terrorism in Washington D.C.”

Kissinger’s September 16 instructions responded to an August 30, 1976 secret memoranda from Shlaudeman, titled “Operation Condor,” that advised him: “what we are trying to head off is a series of international murders that could do serious damage to the international status and reputation of the countries involved.” After receiving Kissinger’s orders, on September 20, Shlaudeman directed his deputy, William Luers, to “instruct the [U.S.] ambassadors to take no further action noting that there have been no reports in some weeks indicating an intention to activate the Condor scheme” …

… In response, Kissinger enlisted two wealthy members of the Council to pressure the editor of FA, James Hoge, to allow Rogers to have the last word. In a second letter-to-the-editor, Rogers accused Maxwell of “bias,” and of challenging Shlaudeman’s integrity by suggesting that he had countermanded “a direct, personal instruction from Kissinger” to issue the demarche, “and to do it behind his back” while Kissinger was on a diplomatic mission in Africa. When Hoge refused to publish Maxwell’s response, Maxwell resigned from his positions at FA and the Council.

In the letter that his own employer refused to publish, Maxwell wrote that, to the contrary, “it is hard to believe that Shlaudeman would have sent a cable rescinding the [demarche] without the approval of the Secretary of State who had authorized [it] in the first place.”He called on Kissinger to step forward and clarify the progression of policy decisions leading up to the Letelier-Moffitt assassination, and for the full record to be declassified.

The declassification of Kissinger’s September 16th cable demonstrates that Maxwell was correct. It was Kissinger who ordered an end to diplomatic attempts to deliver the demarche and call a halt to Condor murder operations.

Documents: … (full long text).

Comments are closed.