Business As Usual: Britain’s Heath Government and Chile’s 9/11

An exploration of the British government’s policy towards Chile following the Pinochet coup of 1973

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the coup d’état of 11 September 1973 that overthrew president Salvador Allende of Chile and the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular) government he headed. Richard Nixon infamously referred to Allende as “that son of a bitch”[1] and much is known about the unrelenting attempts by the US government to overthrow Allende, which culminated in its support for the coup and General Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship that followed. Yet there is less information on how the British Conservative government of the day under Prime Minister Edward Heath responded to the coup.

Britain and Chile’s 9/11

On 13 September 1973, in a meeting of ministers of the Heath government, the Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home “proposed that the question of recognising the new regime should be determined in accordance with the usual criteria”.[2] What qualifies for “usual criteria” was hinted at by Douglas-Home in a letter three days after the coup, wherein he explained that though he “greatly regret[s] the violence that has overtaken the country”, “[w]e also have substantial interests in Chile which do require us to maintain working relations with the government of the day”.[3] On 22 September the British government recognised the Pinochet dictatorship.[4]

“[I]t is not for us to pass judgement on Chile’s internal affairs” argued Julian Amery, Minister of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), in the House of Commons on 7 November; “We shall seek to maintain good relations with the new Chilean Government as we did with its predecessor” (albeit whilst “regretting that a long-established constitutional régime should have been overthrown by force”). The junta, he added, “have assured us that everything will be carried out in accordance with the due processes of Chilean law”, apparently unaware of the logical contradiction of this statement.[5]

Correspondence in late January 1974 – amongst other evidence – appears to prove that Amery’s faith in the junta was naïve at best: the accompanying letter of an Amnesty International report sent to David Spedding (who was “[a]ttached to the British embassy in Chile between 1972 and 1974”, and would in 1994 become Chief of the British secret intelligence service, MI6)[6] in Santiago, said that the report “is fairly hostile to the Junta, an attitude which I suppose is to be expected”. The letter ended by saying that “While few can seriously doubt that considerable injustice and torture occurred in the immediate aftermath of the coup, one can only hope that the abuses have diminished”.[7]

The Pinochet dictatorship’s assurance was meaningless, given that it had come from a junta that – by Amery’s own admission – had “overthrown by force” “a long-established constitutional régime”. Meanwhile a state of siege had been declared the day after the coup,[8] while, in the words of the British ambassador in Chile, Reginald Seconde only a few days after, “it is likely that casualties run into the thousands, certainly it has been far from a bloodless coup” – so bloody even that the ambassador believed “it would not be in anyone’s interests to identify too closely with those responsible for the coup”.[9] Indeed, the Santiago morgue was struggling to cope with all the bodies two weeks afterwards.[10] General Pinochet’s own orders on the day reflect this: “That whole pile of pigs there … They must be seized and up, into the plane, without clothes, with whatever they have, out!”[11] A US Defence Intelligence Agency report described methods employed as “straight out of the Spanish Inquisition”[12] – an observation with which Pinochet himself happened to agree.[13]

British Interests

In December 1962 President John F. Kennedy’s Special Advisor on NATO Affairs, Dean Acheson, stated that in the years following the Second World War, “Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role”.[14] Contrary to this view, writes Cold War scholar Matthew Grant, “Britain had a role”, which “was essentially simple: to pursue national interests wherever they might be found”.[15] What constituted British national interests in Chile was made explicit by the Heath government. In defence of the government’s recognition of the junta, for example, Julian Amery stressed that “We have substantial economic interests in the country, both in trade and investment”.[16] “For British interests”, explained the Foreign Secretary in a “guidance” memo sent to certain embassies on 21 September,

“[T]here is no doubt that Chile under the junta is a better prospect than Allende’s chaotic road to socialism, our investments should do better, our loans may be successfully rescheduled, and export credits later resumed, and the sky-high price of copper (important to us) should fall as Chilean production is restored. The junta have inherited an economy in ruins but given Western and especially American goodwill, and if internal peace can be maintained, there are prospects for steady recovery: under Allende there were none”.[17]

Consider further a draft response by the Foreign Office to a parliamentary question: “Our priorities in Latin America are determined largely by our trading and investment interests”.[18]

Such concerns are not new. In May 1950, an MP addressed the House of Commons at length on British interests in the region:

“[T]he twin pillars of our policy towards Latin-America should accordingly be, first, to endeavour to fortify the position of those Republics as members of the free community of nations, and, second, to increase our trade and commerce with them […] We should approach the problems of Latin-America with vigour and in a constructive spirit, for by so doing we can make a real contribution to the standard of living of our people”.

Note “our people”, not the people of Latin America.[19]

Turning back to Pinochet’s Chile, one Foreign Office document explains that “our major interest in Chile is copper” – accounting for one third of UK imports – and “[w]e therefore have a major interest in Chile regaining stability, regardless of politics”.[20] “For ‘regardless of politics’”, writes Mark Curtis in his study of British policy toward Chile, “read: ‘regardless of the people of Chile’”. Disruption in Chile and “fear for the future” (in the words of the Foreign Office document cited above) had led to an increase in copper prices adding £500,000 to the UK in foreign exchange, and as Curtis observes: “That the loss of half a million pounds was deemed more important than the overthrow of a largely successful democratically elected government – recognised even by British officials as improving the conditions of the poor – says a lot about the priorities and values of British elites”.[21]

Selling British

One way of promoting perceived “interests” is the use of “information activities” intended to, among other objectives, “assist in our efforts to increase our exports”, in the words of an “Information Policy report on Chile” from the British embassy in Santiago, dated August 1971. Activities involve promoting press, radio, film and television content, including that of the BBC; visits to the Embassy; and sponsored visits to Britain (“very worthwhile” and “does much to foster good contacts and enhance British prestige”) – all of which are conducted by graded staff. This report commented that in light of the “new Marxist President” – Salvador Allende – “the Soviet Bloc and the Chinese must be expected to step up their propaganda efforts very substantially, while the US activities are likely to be considerably reduced”. That being the case, Western European embassies “cannot reduce their operations too much”.[22]

The Information Policy report released by the UK government after the coup, dated 27 November 1973, is instructive: it gives insight into both the restrictive policies of the junta and perspectives on British objectives inside the county.[23] The “present information stance may be summed up”, the report concluded, “as keeping a small foot in the commercial door, quietly waving the flag and cultivating our contacts”. Opportunities to wave the flag increased after the coup: “We have now re-established our links with all [television] channels and are once again placing TV clips and documentary films from the combined Embassy/British Council film library”. “Fortunately, there are, so far, no signs of cultural jingoism on the part of the military, neither is there talk of limiting the foreign content of programme schedules”, and thus “[t]here should be good prospects for the sales of British programmes”. Furthermore, the already “substantial permanent audience” interested in the BBC World Service “will grow if self-censorship continues”. “From my experiences of military supervision of the press in Peru”, the report’s author wrote, “I would expect editors anxious to avoid controversy to turn to foreign affairs”, whilst “[t]he rules of self-censorship are even more strictly applied on the small screen than elsewhere” which was made “quite obvious” by “[t]he dull uniformity of the news bulletins”. However, all this led to an increase in demand for British content; indeed, “we are luxuriating in a sellers[’] market for our television and radio material”. There was mention also of “politically delicate areas where British advice would be carefully listened to, were it available”, but these were “perhaps … better pursued in separate correspondence”. Similarly, “[t]here is a strong pro-British tide in public opinion running [in Chile] that leaves us well-placed to put over HMG’s [Her Majesty’s Government’s] policies”. Perhaps this is why the author of the report believed, as he wrote in a separate correspondence, that “[t]he events of 11 September and after have totally changed the media scene – to our potential advantage”. [24]

With regard to the work of British journalists in the country, the report stated:

“On the whole the British press handling of Chile seems to have given less offence to the military than reporting in the US and the rest of Europe. There has been some private muttering to me about the reports of Richard Gott and Hugh O’Shaughnessy – but no public recriminations. It would be comforting to believe that the hours of Embassy briefings and the gin and tonics on the patio had achieved the desired steadying effect”.[25]

A response to this report to ambassador Seconde described it as “very useful”, assuring staff in Chile that “[w]e will certainly do our best to meet any special requests for material and are mindful of your problem on guiding sensation-oriented visitors from the British media and of your attempts to gloss over their more blatant distortions”.[26]

Arms

British Hawker Hunter jets had been used in the coup of 11 September, and as a BBC diplomatic correspondent observed in 1998: “British arms sales have been a major source of trade with Chile in the past with much of the military hardware used in General Pinochet’s 1973 coup provided by UK manufacturers”.[27] The government were, though – irrespective of the uses to which they had been put – reluctant to halt the sale of arms. “What would happen to the ships and the aircraft if we were to suspend the sale of arms?” asked Amery in a Commons debate on the subject. “What about the jobs of the people concerned?” “I can see no reason why we should suspend these sales of arms and why we should suspend the contracts into which we have entered”.[28] A similar perspective was put forward years later by Alan Clark, a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government: “My responsibility is to my own people and my own constituents, and I don’t really fill my mind with what one set of foreigners is doing to another” (Clark was referring to arms to Indonesia, which were being used in Indonesian-occupied East Timor). [29]

Such an issue did arise internally, however. A paper by a member of the FCO’s Latin America Department, dated 22 October, in addressing the “problem” of “Should we object to the sale of 1400 small arms to Chile?”, observed that “the small arms will be of direct use to the army against left wing extremists”. That said, “we are keen to build up our sales to Latin American armies, in line with our successful sales to navies and air forces”.[30] In the Commons meanwhile, Julian Amery went still further: “the only logical reason that I can find for embargoing the sale of arms to Chile”, he exclaimed, “is that the Opposition are anxious to encourage internal resistance or foreign intervention” in the country.[31]

Ambassador Seconde meanwhile advised that Britain “make the most of the opportunities which will be presented by the change in government”[32] – a recommendation to which the suspension of trade in arms would plainly be contrary. In the words of Mark Curtis: “The Heath government defied calls from the Labour party to impose an arms embargo on Chile; all the Hawker Hunters [awaiting delivery] had been delivered by the time of the 1974 general election”.[33]

It is worth briefly observing, as does John Pilger in a documentary on the arms trade,[34] that British interest in the promotion of arms sales in fact dates back to the Labour government of the 1960s, with the creation of the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO; later renamed Defence Export Services Organisation [DESO] in 1985), which was tasked with just that. Indeed, the desire for commercial gain was outlined by Defence Secretary Denis Healey in 1966, when announcing the establishment of the organisation.[35] “While the Government attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament,” he told the House of Commons, “we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable commercial market”. Healey spoke of “want[ing] to see . . . a world in which there is no public or private sale of armaments”, but followed up by observing that the international arms trade was a billion pound a year industry which “British industry has the same right to a share … as the industry of any other country”.[36]

Heath and the Allende Government

While the Heath government had no major issues with the Pinochet dictatorship, it was not enthusiastic about the Allende government. In fact, there was a conscious desire to treat the Allende government less so than it had done the Frei government that preceded it. This is illustrated by a dilemma regarding the sending of a representative to Allende’s inauguration in 1970.

The British Ambassador in Chile, David Hildyard, telegrammed on 15 October 1970 that there was pressure from Allende “to request high level delegations but I think that President Frei, the Christian Democrats and of course business circles would be put out if just great efforts were made for Allende as in 1964”. Hildyard discussed the issue with colleagues from other countries and it was “agreed that we should aim at representation less than in 1964 but sufficient not to offend Allende”. The ambassador believed a “recently retired” senior ambassador to be “the best solution”.[37]

A response to this pointed out a critical point: “we still hope to be able to do business” with Allende. It spoke also of “a very recent precedent” set by the sending of a particular representative to a Colombian inauguration earlier in the year. “It is true”, it continued, “that a [erased] Minister will attend the Presidential inauguration in Mexico City in due course. But the President there will not be a communist-supported Marxist (or near-Marxist) and we have a bigger stake in Mexico than in Chile anyway”.[38] Sir Robert Marett, a former ambassador to Peru, was chosen to attend Allende’s inauguration.

On 16 November Ambassador Hildyard informed those concerned that “[T]here was greater emphasis on “popular” participation” in the event – though this “was to be expected”. Allende’s audience was “enthusiastic”, though the President “proved to be reasonably moderate and was at pains to stress Chile’s traditional devotion to democratic procedures and institutions.” The ambassador also described Allende’s plan for nationalisation of foreign industries. Representative Marett “conveyed good wishes from the government and the people of the United Kingdom”, and Marett’s appointment, the ambassador believed, “together with the admirable way in which he carried out his programme, made a good impression on the more influential circles”. Note the desire to impress “business” and “influential” circles.[39] (Amery himself later mentioned “substantial economic interests” in the context of recognising the junta).[40]

Human Rights and ‘Presentational Purposes’

On 28 November 1973, Amery emphasised to the House of Commons that though “The coup itself may or may not be regarded as illegal” – and the instance of which the government “naturally” regret – “The process of law is still continuing”; “Chilean law still remains, and a number of people are being charged in accordance with Chilean law”.[41] This was an audacious claim. One study of the period observes that

“With a handful of exceptions, judges turned a blind eye to abuses by security forces and docilely collaborated as the law was transformed from a shield for individual rights into a weapon of persecution. Evidence of kidnapping and torture at the hands of police agents or rightist vigilantes was summarily rejected, while officials’ versions of events were accepted without question”.[42]

Regarding physical repression, a Conservative Party briefing paper two months after the coup, stated that the junta “is hunting down the former leaders of the Left in order to, in the words of [junta member, Air Force General] General Leigh, “extirpate the Marxist cancer from the country””.[43]

The levels of repression being unleashed in Chile troubled the British government, but not necessarily for admirable reasons. One note of December 1973 from Hugh Carless, head of the Latin America Department of the FCO, to ambassador Reginald Seconde, states: “unfortunately, there is (as you have pointed out to us) a good deal of fact behind the atrocity stories and that alone makes it impossible for us to counter the propaganda”.[44] Thus it was unfortunate that the atrocity stories were true only because they could not be denied, not because they had actually taken place.

Nevertheless, perhaps it was pronouncements such as Julian Amery’s in the House of Commons that served to justify the government’s policies of refusing asylum in the embassy in Santiago and “rigorously processing applications for entry into the UK from Chileans (as opposed to non Chileans)”, which “had the effect of isolating our Mission in Santiago from other … Embassies”, in the words of Hugh Carless, as well as potentially rendering the ambassador “a target for revolutionary counter action should a violent backlash to the Junta occur”. Indeed, this fear was such that the ambassador declined a rendezvous at the Italian Embassy Residence.[45]

Carless’ department “therefore suggested to the Home Office that for presentational and publicity purposes we should consider sending an officer out to Santiago”. The Home Office, he explained, were only prepared to put this before the Home Secretary “with the proviso … that the despatch … would be purely for presentational purposes and would not lead to any increase in the number of Chileans likely to be admitted into this country”. The department added that it had discussed the proposal with Amery, “who commented that the gambit might be worth considering. It could be represented to the Opposition as evidence that we were doing our bit and showing concern, while supporters of the government could be told in private that the immigration officer would be helping to apply the strictest vetting standards to applications for admission to Britain”.[46]

This presents the British concern for human rights as nothing more than a public relations tool. The same day, Hildyard informed the Foreign Office of his meeting with a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who noted “what they described as the continuing executions” (amongst other concerns). Hildyard “said that we were much concerned by oppression anywhere”, had expressed said concern to the junta, and “had always supported the Red Cross both morally and materially”. “Speaking personally, however”, he went on, “I wondered if the Chilean government might not react badly to proposals which implied a lack of confidence in their administration of justice”.[47] This would appear to infer the preference of a tacit acceptance of executions by the Chilean dictatorship, ahead of potentially upsetting the government accused of committing the crime. Less than a week after the Latin America Department’s position on asylum was put forward, its head – Carless – effectively reiterated it, asking “Can we – without changing our policies – present our action in a light which has the effect of showing that we are more concerned about the Chilean refugee problem than our detractors allege?” This was one of four “presentational advantages”, which included “seeming to be a gesture to the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees]”. At the risk of the hypothetical immigration officer being seen through as an “empty gesture”, “[h]e should therefore not stay long in Santiago”.[48]

Conclusion

While the British government speaks of a commitment to democracy and human rights, such a proclamation does not stand up to scrutiny. As this article has outlined, British “interests” – typically trade and investment – trump any concern for human rights or the democratic process – and, in fact, a sincere concern is difficult to come by. Indeed, Mark Curtis, whose work formed part of the inspiration for this study, has written:

“humanitarian concerns do not figure at all in the rationale behind British foreign policy. In the thousands of government files I have looked through for this [book, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses] and other books, I have barely seen any reference to human rights at all. Where such concerns are invoked, they are only for public-relations purposes”.[49]

Indeed, when troubled with the stigmatisation of the British embassy in Chile, having refused asylum to Chileans fleeing the terror of the junta – which was conceded to by the government – it was suggested that certain steps be taken for “presentational purposes”. That such considerations were taking place internally should raise severe scepticism in the minds of anyone engaging with public pronouncements made by government officials. “The culture of lying to and misleading the electorate is deeply embedded in British policy-making”, writes Curtis.[50]

So, while the warm relationship of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government towards Pinochet’s Chile is well known, the Heath government’s support for the coup and Pinochet’s regime is perhaps less so. The British response to the coup in September 1973 is worth recollecting as the 40th anniversary comes around, not merely because 40 years have passed, but because it so clearly unmasks both the underlying motivations that dictate British foreign policy, and the blatant disparity between public pronouncements and the documentary record.

The private correspondence between government ministers speaks volumes. Unpleasant as it is, it is somewhat liberating to read the intimate ponderings of British government officials as they purposefully plan to feign concern over atrocity stories that they would otherwise hope to “counter” as “propaganda”. So as we commemorate the 40 years since democracy was butchered in Chile, let us not forget our own government’s reaction to this first 9/11.

NOTES

[1] Richard Nixon, cited in Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 127.
[2] Meeting of the Cabinet, 13 September 1973, CM(73) 40th, CAB128/53/1, The National Archives (henceforth TNA); also in Mark Curtis, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses (London: Vintage, 2004), p. 271.
[3] A. Douglas-Home, 14 September 1973, FCO7/2433, TNA.
[4] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 07 November 1973, vol. 863 cc965, Hansard.
[5] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 07 November 1973, vol. 863 cc965-7, Hansard.
[6] Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Obituary: Sir David Spedding’, Guardian, 14 June 2001, http://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/jun/14/guardianobituaries.politics;
‘Obituary, Sir David Spedding’, Telegraph, 14 June 2001,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1309010/Sir-David-Spedding.html
[7] D. Crabbie to D. R. Spedding, 28 January 1974, ‘Internal Political Situation in Chile’, FCO7/2595, TNA.
[8] Pamela Constable & Arturo Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet (New York & London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1993 [1991]), p. 19.
[9] Reginald Seconde, cited in Mark Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, pp. 268-9.
[10] Phil O’Brien & Jackie Roddick, Chile: The Pinochet Decade (London: Latin America Bureau, 1983), p. 43.
[11] Augusto Pinochet, cited in Constable & Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 16.
[12] Defense Intelligence Agency, cited in David F. Schmitz, The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 102.
[13] When faced with descriptions of torture in prisons, Pinochet commented that they sounded like “things of the Inquisition, not of today”, adding “I’m a soldier, not one of the SS troops” (Augusto Pinochet, cited in Constable & Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 79).
[14] Dean Acheson, cited in Matthew Grant, ‘Introduction: The Cold War and British National Interest’ in Matthew Grant (ed.) The British Way in Cold Warfare: Intelligence, Diplomacy and the Bomb 1945-1975 (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), p. 1.
[15] Grant, ‘Introduction: The Cold War and British National Interest’ in Grant, The British Way in Cold Warfare, 2007, p. 1.
[16] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, c478, Hansard.
[17] A. Douglas-Home, 21 September 1973, FCO7/2412, TNA; also in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 269.
[18] Cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 272.
[19] Peter Smithers, House of Commons Debate, 26 May 1950, vol. 475, cc2419-39, Hansard.
See also Robert Graham, ‘British policy towards Latin America’, in Victor Bulmer-Thomas (ed.) Britain and Latin America: A Changing Relationship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1989), and the author’s comments regarding a 1945 paper by Victor Perowne, then head of the South America division of the Foreign Office.
[20] FCO brief to Secretary of State, 19 September 1973, FCO7/2412, TNA; also in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 271.
[21] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 271.
[22] D. H. T. Hildyard, ‘Information Work in Chile’, 10 August 1971, FCO26/718, TNA.
[23] Antony Walter, ‘Chile: Information Policy Report, 1973’, 27 November 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[24] Antony Walter to A. E. Clarke, 3 October 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[25] Antony Walter, ‘Chile: Information Policy Report, 1973’, 27 November 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[26] D. N. Brinson to R. L. Seconde, 9 January 1974, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[27] David Loyn, ‘UK Pinochet release talks continue’, 30 November 1998, BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/224498.stm
[28] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
[29] Alan Clark, cited in Mark Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 29.
[30] P. G. P. D. Fullerton, 22 October 1973, ‘ Supply of rifles and machine guns to Chile’, FCO7/2433, TNA.
[31] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
For the record, when in opposition in March 1974, Amery – in the face of the suspension of aid and future export licenses, and review of existing contracts – asked “what the effect of employment in British shipyards will be if there are no future contracts?” (Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 27 March 1974, vol. 871, c425, Hansard).
[32] Alec Douglas-Home, cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, pp. 272-3.
[33] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 273.
[34] John Pilger, Flying the Flag, Arming the World, originally broadcast in 1994.
[35] See Mark Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), ch. 2 for details.
[36] Denis Healey, House of Commons Debate, 25 January 1966, Vol. 723, cc64-6, Hansard; also in Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964, 2000, p. 1; and Pilger, Flying the Flag, Arming the World, 1994.
[37] D. Hildyard to FCO, 15 October 1970, ‘Inauguration of President in Chile’, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[38] C. D. Wiggin, ‘Chile: Presidential Inauguration’, 16 October 1970, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[39] D. Hildyard to A. Douglas-Home, 16 November 1970, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[40] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc478, Hansard.
[41] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
[42] Constables & Vanelzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 122.
[43] Cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 268.
[44] Hugh Carless, cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 273.
[45] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees and Mr Seconde’s Safety’, 22 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[46] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees and Mr Seconde’s Safety’, 22 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[47] D. Hildyard to FCO, 22 November 1973, ‘Refugees from Chile’, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[48] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees’, 27 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[49] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 3.
[50] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 3.

An exploration of the British government’s policy towards Chile following the Pinochet coup of 1973

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the coup d’état of 11 September 1973 that overthrew president Salvador Allende of Chile and the Popular Unity (Unidad Popular) government he headed. Richard Nixon infamously referred to Allende as “that son of a bitch”[1] and much is known about the unrelenting attempts by the US government to overthrow Allende, which culminated in its support for the coup and General Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship that followed. Yet there is less information on how the British Conservative government of the day under Prime Minister Edward Heath responded to the coup.

Britain and Chile’s 9/11

On 13 September 1973, in a meeting of ministers of the Heath government, the Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home “proposed that the question of recognising the new regime should be determined in accordance with the usual criteria”.[2] What qualifies for “usual criteria” was hinted at by Douglas-Home in a letter three days after the coup, wherein he explained that though he “greatly regret[s] the violence that has overtaken the country”, “[w]e also have substantial interests in Chile which do require us to maintain working relations with the government of the day”.[3] On 22 September the British government recognised the Pinochet dictatorship.[4]

“[I]t is not for us to pass judgement on Chile’s internal affairs” argued Julian Amery, Minister of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), in the House of Commons on 7 November; “We shall seek to maintain good relations with the new Chilean Government as we did with its predecessor” (albeit whilst “regretting that a long-established constitutional régime should have been overthrown by force”). The junta, he added, “have assured us that everything will be carried out in accordance with the due processes of Chilean law”, apparently unaware of the logical contradiction of this statement.[5]

Correspondence in late January 1974 – amongst other evidence – appears to prove that Amery’s faith in the junta was naïve at best: the accompanying letter of an Amnesty International report sent to David Spedding (who was “[a]ttached to the British embassy in Chile between 1972 and 1974”, and would in 1994 become Chief of the British secret intelligence service, MI6)[6] in Santiago, said that the report “is fairly hostile to the Junta, an attitude which I suppose is to be expected”. The letter ended by saying that “While few can seriously doubt that considerable injustice and torture occurred in the immediate aftermath of the coup, one can only hope that the abuses have diminished”.[7]

The Pinochet dictatorship’s assurance was meaningless, given that it had come from a junta that – by Amery’s own admission – had “overthrown by force” “a long-established constitutional régime”. Meanwhile a state of siege had been declared the day after the coup,[8] while, in the words of the British ambassador in Chile, Reginald Seconde only a few days after, “it is likely that casualties run into the thousands, certainly it has been far from a bloodless coup” – so bloody even that the ambassador believed “it would not be in anyone’s interests to identify too closely with those responsible for the coup”.[9] Indeed, the Santiago morgue was struggling to cope with all the bodies two weeks afterwards.[10] General Pinochet’s own orders on the day reflect this: “That whole pile of pigs there … They must be seized and up, into the plane, without clothes, with whatever they have, out!”[11] A US Defence Intelligence Agency report described methods employed as “straight out of the Spanish Inquisition”[12] – an observation with which Pinochet himself happened to agree.[13]

British Interests

In December 1962 President John F. Kennedy’s Special Advisor on NATO Affairs, Dean Acheson, stated that in the years following the Second World War, “Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role”.[14] Contrary to this view, writes Cold War scholar Matthew Grant, “Britain had a role”, which “was essentially simple: to pursue national interests wherever they might be found”.[15] What constituted British national interests in Chile was made explicit by the Heath government. In defence of the government’s recognition of the junta, for example, Julian Amery stressed that “We have substantial economic interests in the country, both in trade and investment”.[16] “For British interests”, explained the Foreign Secretary in a “guidance” memo sent to certain embassies on 21 September,

“[T]here is no doubt that Chile under the junta is a better prospect than Allende’s chaotic road to socialism, our investments should do better, our loans may be successfully rescheduled, and export credits later resumed, and the sky-high price of copper (important to us) should fall as Chilean production is restored. The junta have inherited an economy in ruins but given Western and especially American goodwill, and if internal peace can be maintained, there are prospects for steady recovery: under Allende there were none”.[17]

Consider further a draft response by the Foreign Office to a parliamentary question: “Our priorities in Latin America are determined largely by our trading and investment interests”.[18]

Such concerns are not new. In May 1950, an MP addressed the House of Commons at length on British interests in the region:

“[T]he twin pillars of our policy towards Latin-America should accordingly be, first, to endeavour to fortify the position of those Republics as members of the free community of nations, and, second, to increase our trade and commerce with them […] We should approach the problems of Latin-America with vigour and in a constructive spirit, for by so doing we can make a real contribution to the standard of living of our people”.

Note “our people”, not the people of Latin America.[19]

Turning back to Pinochet’s Chile, one Foreign Office document explains that “our major interest in Chile is copper” – accounting for one third of UK imports – and “[w]e therefore have a major interest in Chile regaining stability, regardless of politics”.[20] “For ‘regardless of politics’”, writes Mark Curtis in his study of British policy toward Chile, “read: ‘regardless of the people of Chile’”. Disruption in Chile and “fear for the future” (in the words of the Foreign Office document cited above) had led to an increase in copper prices adding £500,000 to the UK in foreign exchange, and as Curtis observes: “That the loss of half a million pounds was deemed more important than the overthrow of a largely successful democratically elected government – recognised even by British officials as improving the conditions of the poor – says a lot about the priorities and values of British elites”.[21]

Selling British

One way of promoting perceived “interests” is the use of “information activities” intended to, among other objectives, “assist in our efforts to increase our exports”, in the words of an “Information Policy report on Chile” from the British embassy in Santiago, dated August 1971. Activities involve promoting press, radio, film and television content, including that of the BBC; visits to the Embassy; and sponsored visits to Britain (“very worthwhile” and “does much to foster good contacts and enhance British prestige”) – all of which are conducted by graded staff. This report commented that in light of the “new Marxist President” – Salvador Allende – “the Soviet Bloc and the Chinese must be expected to step up their propaganda efforts very substantially, while the US activities are likely to be considerably reduced”. That being the case, Western European embassies “cannot reduce their operations too much”.[22]

The Information Policy report released by the UK government after the coup, dated 27 November 1973, is instructive: it gives insight into both the restrictive policies of the junta and perspectives on British objectives inside the county.[23] The “present information stance may be summed up”, the report concluded, “as keeping a small foot in the commercial door, quietly waving the flag and cultivating our contacts”. Opportunities to wave the flag increased after the coup: “We have now re-established our links with all [television] channels and are once again placing TV clips and documentary films from the combined Embassy/British Council film library”. “Fortunately, there are, so far, no signs of cultural jingoism on the part of the military, neither is there talk of limiting the foreign content of programme schedules”, and thus “[t]here should be good prospects for the sales of British programmes”. Furthermore, the already “substantial permanent audience” interested in the BBC World Service “will grow if self-censorship continues”. “From my experiences of military supervision of the press in Peru”, the report’s author wrote, “I would expect editors anxious to avoid controversy to turn to foreign affairs”, whilst “[t]he rules of self-censorship are even more strictly applied on the small screen than elsewhere” which was made “quite obvious” by “[t]he dull uniformity of the news bulletins”. However, all this led to an increase in demand for British content; indeed, “we are luxuriating in a sellers[’] market for our television and radio material”. There was mention also of “politically delicate areas where British advice would be carefully listened to, were it available”, but these were “perhaps … better pursued in separate correspondence”. Similarly, “[t]here is a strong pro-British tide in public opinion running [in Chile] that leaves us well-placed to put over HMG’s [Her Majesty’s Government’s] policies”. Perhaps this is why the author of the report believed, as he wrote in a separate correspondence, that “[t]he events of 11 September and after have totally changed the media scene – to our potential advantage”. [24]

With regard to the work of British journalists in the country, the report stated:

“On the whole the British press handling of Chile seems to have given less offence to the military than reporting in the US and the rest of Europe. There has been some private muttering to me about the reports of Richard Gott and Hugh O’Shaughnessy – but no public recriminations. It would be comforting to believe that the hours of Embassy briefings and the gin and tonics on the patio had achieved the desired steadying effect”.[25]

A response to this report to ambassador Seconde described it as “very useful”, assuring staff in Chile that “[w]e will certainly do our best to meet any special requests for material and are mindful of your problem on guiding sensation-oriented visitors from the British media and of your attempts to gloss over their more blatant distortions”.[26]

Arms

British Hawker Hunter jets had been used in the coup of 11 September, and as a BBC diplomatic correspondent observed in 1998: “British arms sales have been a major source of trade with Chile in the past with much of the military hardware used in General Pinochet’s 1973 coup provided by UK manufacturers”.[27] The government were, though – irrespective of the uses to which they had been put – reluctant to halt the sale of arms. “What would happen to the ships and the aircraft if we were to suspend the sale of arms?” asked Amery in a Commons debate on the subject. “What about the jobs of the people concerned?” “I can see no reason why we should suspend these sales of arms and why we should suspend the contracts into which we have entered”.[28] A similar perspective was put forward years later by Alan Clark, a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government: “My responsibility is to my own people and my own constituents, and I don’t really fill my mind with what one set of foreigners is doing to another” (Clark was referring to arms to Indonesia, which were being used in Indonesian-occupied East Timor). [29]

Such an issue did arise internally, however. A paper by a member of the FCO’s Latin America Department, dated 22 October, in addressing the “problem” of “Should we object to the sale of 1400 small arms to Chile?”, observed that “the small arms will be of direct use to the army against left wing extremists”. That said, “we are keen to build up our sales to Latin American armies, in line with our successful sales to navies and air forces”.[30] In the Commons meanwhile, Julian Amery went still further: “the only logical reason that I can find for embargoing the sale of arms to Chile”, he exclaimed, “is that the Opposition are anxious to encourage internal resistance or foreign intervention” in the country.[31]

Ambassador Seconde meanwhile advised that Britain “make the most of the opportunities which will be presented by the change in government”[32] – a recommendation to which the suspension of trade in arms would plainly be contrary. In the words of Mark Curtis: “The Heath government defied calls from the Labour party to impose an arms embargo on Chile; all the Hawker Hunters [awaiting delivery] had been delivered by the time of the 1974 general election”.[33]

It is worth briefly observing, as does John Pilger in a documentary on the arms trade,[34] that British interest in the promotion of arms sales in fact dates back to the Labour government of the 1960s, with the creation of the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO; later renamed Defence Export Services Organisation [DESO] in 1985), which was tasked with just that. Indeed, the desire for commercial gain was outlined by Defence Secretary Denis Healey in 1966, when announcing the establishment of the organisation.[35] “While the Government attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament,” he told the House of Commons, “we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable commercial market”. Healey spoke of “want[ing] to see . . . a world in which there is no public or private sale of armaments”, but followed up by observing that the international arms trade was a billion pound a year industry which “British industry has the same right to a share … as the industry of any other country”.[36]

Heath and the Allende Government

While the Heath government had no major issues with the Pinochet dictatorship, it was not enthusiastic about the Allende government. In fact, there was a conscious desire to treat the Allende government less so than it had done the Frei government that preceded it. This is illustrated by a dilemma regarding the sending of a representative to Allende’s inauguration in 1970.

The British Ambassador in Chile, David Hildyard, telegrammed on 15 October 1970 that there was pressure from Allende “to request high level delegations but I think that President Frei, the Christian Democrats and of course business circles would be put out if just great efforts were made for Allende as in 1964”. Hildyard discussed the issue with colleagues from other countries and it was “agreed that we should aim at representation less than in 1964 but sufficient not to offend Allende”. The ambassador believed a “recently retired” senior ambassador to be “the best solution”.[37]

A response to this pointed out a critical point: “we still hope to be able to do business” with Allende. It spoke also of “a very recent precedent” set by the sending of a particular representative to a Colombian inauguration earlier in the year. “It is true”, it continued, “that a [erased] Minister will attend the Presidential inauguration in Mexico City in due course. But the President there will not be a communist-supported Marxist (or near-Marxist) and we have a bigger stake in Mexico than in Chile anyway”.[38] Sir Robert Marett, a former ambassador to Peru, was chosen to attend Allende’s inauguration.

On 16 November Ambassador Hildyard informed those concerned that “[T]here was greater emphasis on “popular” participation” in the event – though this “was to be expected”. Allende’s audience was “enthusiastic”, though the President “proved to be reasonably moderate and was at pains to stress Chile’s traditional devotion to democratic procedures and institutions.” The ambassador also described Allende’s plan for nationalisation of foreign industries. Representative Marett “conveyed good wishes from the government and the people of the United Kingdom”, and Marett’s appointment, the ambassador believed, “together with the admirable way in which he carried out his programme, made a good impression on the more influential circles”. Note the desire to impress “business” and “influential” circles.[39] (Amery himself later mentioned “substantial economic interests” in the context of recognising the junta).[40]

Human Rights and ‘Presentational Purposes’

On 28 November 1973, Amery emphasised to the House of Commons that though “The coup itself may or may not be regarded as illegal” – and the instance of which the government “naturally” regret – “The process of law is still continuing”; “Chilean law still remains, and a number of people are being charged in accordance with Chilean law”.[41] This was an audacious claim. One study of the period observes that

“With a handful of exceptions, judges turned a blind eye to abuses by security forces and docilely collaborated as the law was transformed from a shield for individual rights into a weapon of persecution. Evidence of kidnapping and torture at the hands of police agents or rightist vigilantes was summarily rejected, while officials’ versions of events were accepted without question”.[42]

Regarding physical repression, a Conservative Party briefing paper two months after the coup, stated that the junta “is hunting down the former leaders of the Left in order to, in the words of [junta member, Air Force General] General Leigh, “extirpate the Marxist cancer from the country””.[43]

The levels of repression being unleashed in Chile troubled the British government, but not necessarily for admirable reasons. One note of December 1973 from Hugh Carless, head of the Latin America Department of the FCO, to ambassador Reginald Seconde, states: “unfortunately, there is (as you have pointed out to us) a good deal of fact behind the atrocity stories and that alone makes it impossible for us to counter the propaganda”.[44] Thus it was unfortunate that the atrocity stories were true only because they could not be denied, not because they had actually taken place.

Nevertheless, perhaps it was pronouncements such as Julian Amery’s in the House of Commons that served to justify the government’s policies of refusing asylum in the embassy in Santiago and “rigorously processing applications for entry into the UK from Chileans (as opposed to non Chileans)”, which “had the effect of isolating our Mission in Santiago from other … Embassies”, in the words of Hugh Carless, as well as potentially rendering the ambassador “a target for revolutionary counter action should a violent backlash to the Junta occur”. Indeed, this fear was such that the ambassador declined a rendezvous at the Italian Embassy Residence.[45]

Carless’ department “therefore suggested to the Home Office that for presentational and publicity purposes we should consider sending an officer out to Santiago”. The Home Office, he explained, were only prepared to put this before the Home Secretary “with the proviso … that the despatch … would be purely for presentational purposes and would not lead to any increase in the number of Chileans likely to be admitted into this country”. The department added that it had discussed the proposal with Amery, “who commented that the gambit might be worth considering. It could be represented to the Opposition as evidence that we were doing our bit and showing concern, while supporters of the government could be told in private that the immigration officer would be helping to apply the strictest vetting standards to applications for admission to Britain”.[46]

This presents the British concern for human rights as nothing more than a public relations tool. The same day, Hildyard informed the Foreign Office of his meeting with a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who noted “what they described as the continuing executions” (amongst other concerns). Hildyard “said that we were much concerned by oppression anywhere”, had expressed said concern to the junta, and “had always supported the Red Cross both morally and materially”. “Speaking personally, however”, he went on, “I wondered if the Chilean government might not react badly to proposals which implied a lack of confidence in their administration of justice”.[47] This would appear to infer the preference of a tacit acceptance of executions by the Chilean dictatorship, ahead of potentially upsetting the government accused of committing the crime. Less than a week after the Latin America Department’s position on asylum was put forward, its head – Carless – effectively reiterated it, asking “Can we – without changing our policies – present our action in a light which has the effect of showing that we are more concerned about the Chilean refugee problem than our detractors allege?” This was one of four “presentational advantages”, which included “seeming to be a gesture to the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees]”. At the risk of the hypothetical immigration officer being seen through as an “empty gesture”, “[h]e should therefore not stay long in Santiago”.[48]

Conclusion

While the British government speaks of a commitment to democracy and human rights, such a proclamation does not stand up to scrutiny. As this article has outlined, British “interests” – typically trade and investment – trump any concern for human rights or the democratic process – and, in fact, a sincere concern is difficult to come by. Indeed, Mark Curtis, whose work formed part of the inspiration for this study, has written:

“humanitarian concerns do not figure at all in the rationale behind British foreign policy. In the thousands of government files I have looked through for this [book, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses] and other books, I have barely seen any reference to human rights at all. Where such concerns are invoked, they are only for public-relations purposes”.[49]

Indeed, when troubled with the stigmatisation of the British embassy in Chile, having refused asylum to Chileans fleeing the terror of the junta – which was conceded to by the government – it was suggested that certain steps be taken for “presentational purposes”. That such considerations were taking place internally should raise severe scepticism in the minds of anyone engaging with public pronouncements made by government officials. “The culture of lying to and misleading the electorate is deeply embedded in British policy-making”, writes Curtis.[50]

So, while the warm relationship of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government towards Pinochet’s Chile is well known, the Heath government’s support for the coup and Pinochet’s regime is perhaps less so. The British response to the coup in September 1973 is worth recollecting as the 40th anniversary comes around, not merely because 40 years have passed, but because it so clearly unmasks both the underlying motivations that dictate British foreign policy, and the blatant disparity between public pronouncements and the documentary record.

The private correspondence between government ministers speaks volumes. Unpleasant as it is, it is somewhat liberating to read the intimate ponderings of British government officials as they purposefully plan to feign concern over atrocity stories that they would otherwise hope to “counter” as “propaganda”. So as we commemorate the 40 years since democracy was butchered in Chile, let us not forget our own government’s reaction to this first 9/11.

NOTES

[1] Richard Nixon, cited in Stephen G. Rabe, The Killing Zone: The United States Wages Cold War in Latin America (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 127.
[2] Meeting of the Cabinet, 13 September 1973, CM(73) 40th, CAB128/53/1, The National Archives (henceforth TNA); also in Mark Curtis, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses (London: Vintage, 2004), p. 271.
[3] A. Douglas-Home, 14 September 1973, FCO7/2433, TNA.
[4] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 07 November 1973, vol. 863 cc965, Hansard.
[5] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 07 November 1973, vol. 863 cc965-7, Hansard.
[6] Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Obituary: Sir David Spedding’, Guardian, 14 June 2001, http://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/jun/14/guardianobituaries.politics;
‘Obituary, Sir David Spedding’, Telegraph, 14 June 2001,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1309010/Sir-David-Spedding.html
[7] D. Crabbie to D. R. Spedding, 28 January 1974, ‘Internal Political Situation in Chile’, FCO7/2595, TNA.
[8] Pamela Constable & Arturo Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet (New York & London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1993 [1991]), p. 19.
[9] Reginald Seconde, cited in Mark Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, pp. 268-9.
[10] Phil O’Brien & Jackie Roddick, Chile: The Pinochet Decade (London: Latin America Bureau, 1983), p. 43.
[11] Augusto Pinochet, cited in Constable & Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 16.
[12] Defense Intelligence Agency, cited in David F. Schmitz, The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 102.
[13] When faced with descriptions of torture in prisons, Pinochet commented that they sounded like “things of the Inquisition, not of today”, adding “I’m a soldier, not one of the SS troops” (Augusto Pinochet, cited in Constable & Valenzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 79).
[14] Dean Acheson, cited in Matthew Grant, ‘Introduction: The Cold War and British National Interest’ in Matthew Grant (ed.) The British Way in Cold Warfare: Intelligence, Diplomacy and the Bomb 1945-1975 (London and New York: Continuum, 2007), p. 1.
[15] Grant, ‘Introduction: The Cold War and British National Interest’ in Grant, The British Way in Cold Warfare, 2007, p. 1.
[16] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, c478, Hansard.
[17] A. Douglas-Home, 21 September 1973, FCO7/2412, TNA; also in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 269.
[18] Cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 272.
[19] Peter Smithers, House of Commons Debate, 26 May 1950, vol. 475, cc2419-39, Hansard.
See also Robert Graham, ‘British policy towards Latin America’, in Victor Bulmer-Thomas (ed.) Britain and Latin America: A Changing Relationship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1989), and the author’s comments regarding a 1945 paper by Victor Perowne, then head of the South America division of the Foreign Office.
[20] FCO brief to Secretary of State, 19 September 1973, FCO7/2412, TNA; also in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 271.
[21] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 271.
[22] D. H. T. Hildyard, ‘Information Work in Chile’, 10 August 1971, FCO26/718, TNA.
[23] Antony Walter, ‘Chile: Information Policy Report, 1973’, 27 November 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[24] Antony Walter to A. E. Clarke, 3 October 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[25] Antony Walter, ‘Chile: Information Policy Report, 1973’, 27 November 1973, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[26] D. N. Brinson to R. L. Seconde, 9 January 1974, FCO26/1360, TNA.
[27] David Loyn, ‘UK Pinochet release talks continue’, 30 November 1998, BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/224498.stm
[28] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
[29] Alan Clark, cited in Mark Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 29.
[30] P. G. P. D. Fullerton, 22 October 1973, ‘ Supply of rifles and machine guns to Chile’, FCO7/2433, TNA.
[31] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
For the record, when in opposition in March 1974, Amery – in the face of the suspension of aid and future export licenses, and review of existing contracts – asked “what the effect of employment in British shipyards will be if there are no future contracts?” (Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 27 March 1974, vol. 871, c425, Hansard).
[32] Alec Douglas-Home, cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, pp. 272-3.
[33] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 273.
[34] John Pilger, Flying the Flag, Arming the World, originally broadcast in 1994.
[35] See Mark Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), ch. 2 for details.
[36] Denis Healey, House of Commons Debate, 25 January 1966, Vol. 723, cc64-6, Hansard; also in Phythian, The Politics of British Arms Sales Since 1964, 2000, p. 1; and Pilger, Flying the Flag, Arming the World, 1994.
[37] D. Hildyard to FCO, 15 October 1970, ‘Inauguration of President in Chile’, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[38] C. D. Wiggin, ‘Chile: Presidential Inauguration’, 16 October 1970, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[39] D. Hildyard to A. Douglas-Home, 16 November 1970, FCO7/1523, TNA.
[40] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc478, Hansard.
[41] Julian Amery, House of Commons Debate, 28 November 1973, vol. 865, cc482-5, Hansard.
[42] Constables & Vanelzuela, A Nation of Enemies, 1993, p. 122.
[43] Cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 268.
[44] Hugh Carless, cited in Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 273.
[45] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees and Mr Seconde’s Safety’, 22 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[46] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees and Mr Seconde’s Safety’, 22 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[47] D. Hildyard to FCO, 22 November 1973, ‘Refugees from Chile’, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[48] Hugh Carless, ‘Chilean Refugees’, 27 November 1973, FCO7/2422, TNA.
[49] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 3.
[50] Curtis, Unpeople, 2004, p. 3.

2017-07-19T15:24:28+00:00 10/September/2013|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , |
Josh Watts is the Alborada books editor. His writing covers Latin America and British foreign policy. He has been published by the Morning Star, New Left Project, News Unspun and Red Pepper. Twitter: @joshgwatts