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Interview with Nathaniel Davis, Peace Corps Director in Chile, and later Ambassador to Chile during the coup against Salvador Allende
Interview with Nathaniel Davis, Peace Corps Director in Chile, and later Ambassador to Chile during the coup against Salvador Allende
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INTERVIEW WITH NATHANIEL DAVIS
INTERVIEWER: This is the continuation of tape number 10844, the beginning of the interview with Mr. Nathaniel Davis. Mr. Davis could you please tell me your full name and some of your career where its relevant to Latin America.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well I was at my full name is Nathaniel Davis and I served in Latin America. Actually I should mention that I went down as the Peace Corps director shortly after I joined the Peace Corps and became Sergeant Shriners special assistant in 1962 and then went back to Latin America to Venezuela where I was an Embassy officer in Caracas. And then I went as ambassador to Guatemala from 1968 to 1971 and was then ambassador in Chile from 1971 to 1973.
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Davis what is your perception of the Munroe and its relevance, or was it relevant when the Cold War arrived in Latin America?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well I think that President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger had a rather more, what they would regard as strategic view of what was going on in the world and the power of the Soviet Union, and in that sense I'm not
INTERVIEWER: Someone's knocking at the door
INTERVIEWER: You were talking about the Munroe doctrine and its relevance.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Yes what I would say is that if I understand the way that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger viewed the situation in Latin America, they viewed it as part of a larger context of strategic relationships between the superpowers and I doubt if the fact that the Munroe Doctrine was so important in our history made them view events in Latin America very differently from the way they viewed events in Africa and Asia for example. So that I think that the context thought of our leaders was that here was the Soviet Union and we were engaged in a world wide confrontation in some sense, and that that their concern was that communist power would particularly in Chile that the communist would take power and then there would be a second nation in the hemisphere that was under communist control. That would be a problem to us.
INTERVIEWER: But it was still after all in America's backyard, which do you think there was just a little bit more edge to the fact that it was creeping closer to the American frontier?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Certainly people were concerned now at one point Henry Kissinger made the rather wry comment that Chile is a dagger pointed to the heart of Antarctica. And what he was saying essentially was that at that point it was a long way away.
INTERVIEWER: Chile in the early 60s when you got there, what was it like, what was the place like?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well it was, there was a lotta hope, there was a, this was when I went down I was of course went down to take over the peace corps contingent, this was one of the very first of the, of the peace corps efforts which was established largely as a result of Father Ted Hepsburg's initiative from Notre Dame. And the result is that the Peace Corps volunteers were marvelously enthusiastic and of course Chile is a stupendously beautiful country, and I went all the way through the countryside from North to South and was able to see this, this marvelous country and I made a number of friends there, including a number of young Christian democrats who were at that point very much hoping that Eduardo Freyer would be successful and would take the presidency and that would bring in reforms and great progress.
INTERVIEWER: In what year, could you tell me what year it was in the context of when you went there if you could just say it was in 19.. but also if you could just catch the statement in terms of how long it was before you went back as ambassador.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Yes well I went to Chile in 1962 and so but I spent the winter there, and there was a number of tasks that I needed to do for the Peace Corps and then went back to rejoin Mr. Sharver and was assisting him and his and his organizing of the peace corps.
INTERVIEWER: The arrival of the Kennedy plan alliance for progress. Do you remember how that affected the continent?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well of course that also, my interest in that touches my service in Caracas. Because Theodore Moscoso was my ambassador at the time and he went down to Punta del Este for the founding of the alliance for progress and once again it was a very, it was a very hopeful and optimistic time, we could make a real difference in the hemisphere, and I had a great admiration for Theodoro Moscoso, now I think that it ran into trouble for a number of reasons, one of which was the, the coming on of the Vietnam war. And of course that meant that we seemed, or at least we thought we no longer had the resources to make the alliance for progress into the kind of success it might have been.
INTERVIEWER: It has often been referred to as sort of some part carrot and stick approach. We'll help you if you do this, but we won't help you if you don't do this.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well I think that the inspiration for the alliance for progress came after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and there was a very deep concern in the American government that that leftists would be, would be threatening to take power in other countries of the hemisphere and of course the Kennedy program was not only the economic development embodied in the Alliance For Progress. But also the public safety program and the police academy in Washington and the organization of what Kennedy viewed as the if you wanna call it that that the other half of the program was to prevent urban terrorism from taking over the place.
INTERVIEWER: Talk to me a little about the circumstances that led you to go into Guatemala as ambassador what had happened? And when did it happen?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well the, what happened was that first the hand of the American military group and then the American naval group and then the ambassador John Gordon Meen, was assassinated by leftist terrorists in Guatemala. And the result is that that it was, that I went there in circumstances that were somewhat tense. And it is said that the hope of the FAR, the Fuerces armantas rebelles, or the rebel armed forces, was that they could drive the American embassy and the American leadership from the scene. And actually when I was in Guatemala the terrorists also killed the German ambassador and in a sense they almost achieved that, the Germans were absolutely outraged at this attack on Ambassador Von Sprechte who was a wonderful man but I consider one of the greater of my accomplishments in the Foreign Service that this did not succeed in destroying the relationship between the Guatemalan government and the United States.
INTERVIEWER: What was it like then in terms of the political climate, life on the street, life in general.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Of course Guatemala had a tragedy which certainly was an ongoing tragedy since 1954 and the overthrow of the Arbenz government. That both sides were engaged in a, in a struggle and there was hardly a prominent Guatemalan family that had not lost either a son or an uncle or somebody in the ongoing violence of that country on both sides. And of course as it was on both sides it produced an emotional and psychological sense of hurt, that permeated the society.
INTERVIEWER: Did you consider it as a cold war outpost?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I'm not sure that I would have described it as a cold war outpost no and now it is true that the, that there are actually two leftist organizations, both called the FAR it is all a little confusing, the Fuercas armadas rebellas and fuercas armadas revolucionaras, and the latter were closer to the Soviet position and the rebel armed forces were closer to Fidel Castro's position. And they did receive some degree of support from the, from both Cuba and to some degree from the Soviet Union, not, not on a large scale. But whether one could call that, Guatemala becoming a focus of the cold war, I'm not so sure it was.
INTERVIEWER: But you then left it for a place that definitely was I think a
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Certainly the perception of president Nixon and Henry Kissinger was that this was a problem in superpower relationships and a set back that in their view required action.
INTERVIEWER: So you went to Chile wheAllende had been in power for I would think 15 months.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: He had been in power for just about a year, in fact a little less than a year. The Salvador Allende the elections were in early September and then there was the developments when it went to the congress and he was elected by the congress and so on and was elected in November as I remember and I arrived in Chile on the 13th of October.
INTERVIEWER: Did you know about the so-called track ones and track twos when you arrived as ambassador. This is something when the congressional hearings later on revealed.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: No, I first learned of track 2 when a an investigator of the Church committee, Senator Frank Church's committee told me about it in Washington about two years after I came home in 1975.
INTERVIEWER: So how was it when you arrived in Chile, what was the situation and tell me about I think when you referred to your time there as your long visit with Mr. Castro. When you arrived, what were your first impressions of life in Santiago, how, what was it like with Allende there?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I think that first one has to say it was still a free society and the Congress was in session and the congress was powerful. And the once again Chile is a wonderful place to live and the Chileans are a very attractive people, and so that that in that sense, when I arrived there Salvador Allende had of course been had promoted an immense spending spree for consumer goods and so that life was not so bad.
INTERVIEWER: But when Castro arrived there were already demonstrations, the women were out with their pots and pans. There was this sort of first glimmers of protest against this regime not just from the people you would expect if from but from other sectors of the community. Do you remember how you reacted to that, and what you were telling Washington?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I remember that the march of the empty pots I got caught in it, in my car and that that the this was one of the very early signs, this was the housewives of course protesting, the dip down of the economic situation and so that what I was reporting for, as actually as luck would have it, Jack Anderson was able to purloin a copy of one of my earliest telegrams there and so that it is on the public record of what I was reporting at least in that instance and I, it certainly with the situation was complicated.
INTERVIEWER: To what extent was the, how much were you aware of both President Nixon and Henry Kissinger's antipathy to Allende and the regime. Did you go there feeling that your bosses as it were didn't like this regime.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I think that I would have been pretty obtuse if I felt that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were fond of the Salvador Allende machine. Clearly they weren't.
INTERVIEWER: And were you aware of, at that time the funding that was, that had been for some time and continued to opposition groups whether they be political parties, opposition newspapers, whether they be via various agencies in American government, or by big business interests there.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: The phase in which American big business interests were active, ITT and the copper company and so on, was pretty well over by the time I arrived, so that I had no contacts for example with Henrichs and Borales of ITT and so on, they had long since left. Well not long since, but they were gone. Now the so far as track 2 was so-called. Which was the effort that Richard Nixon told our CIA people to mount. That by the time I went to Chile, had essentially petered out, it was no longer being pursued. Now what was being pursued when I went there, was the covert providing of funds for what the US government regarded as the democratic opposition parties, the Christian democratic parties and the national party and the covert funding to keep the great newspaper El Mercurio afloat. Now that was, was going on, and it was the conviction of the US government that if we did not help the democratic forces at that at the Univers popular, Allende's coalition was making a, a very concerted attempt to drive the opposition press into the ground and the great struggle over the immense paper company that provided newsprint for example to newspapers, was part of the effort of L'unidad popular, the popular unity forces to seize control of the newsprint so that they could withhold it from the opposition press, or they could drive, drive the prices up. And they could by their own efforts of course control both wages and salaries. And they could also control what a great newspaper could charge for its publication and they also could of course largely control advertising, which was falling increasingly in the hands of the government. So that the calculation of the US government was that without some assistance to keep the opposition parties and the opposition press afloat that they now can't stay afloat.
INTERVIEWER: How alarmed were you as you witnessed Cuban and to some extent Soviet influences at work in Chile?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: The, there were quite a few Cubans that were there assisting, the Salvador Allende's daughter Beatrice was actually married to a member of the Cuban embassy. And high level Cuban visits took place. The Allende at one point went to Moscow to try to get very substantial aid from the Soviet government. I believe the Soviets in the first place were finding the, amount of money that they had to pour into Cuba an awful lot, and the Soviets were not altogether anxious to take on a commitment of the magnitude that they had taken on in Cuba and so that Allende returned with some assistance but less than I think he had hoped for.
INTERVIEWER: I think it was on that trip that he also visited the United Nations and made by what are all accounts is a pretty spectacular speech. It is true isn't it, and could you therefore expand a little on it, that you tried to arrange for him to see, either Dr Kissinger or Nixon or somebody in authority on that trip.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I would have liked to have had that happen, yes and I'm sorry it didn't.
INTERVIEWER: But can you remember, how did you, did you propose that knowing that he was going to the United Nations, or did you, had you proposed it before you knew Allende was going to be travelling there?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I, my recollection is not absolutely clear in this regard. I think I knew that he was going to go to New York.
INTERVIEWER: And what was the response, was there a response, or was it just "don't even bother."
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Pretty clear that that was not something that my superiors in Washington welcomed as a suggestion.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think that was unwise?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I would have liked to have, yes I think that we could have we could have perhaps done more than we did.
INTERVIEWER: So when, with the coming of the economic crisis in Chile I guess that would have been happening already, and the scarcity of food and what we call the vital elements of a reasonable life, like gasoline, bread, flour eggs etc., and therefore the rumors of coup or are the army going to do something. Talk to me a little bit about how you approached your days with this situation-gathering pace, what was it like trying to gather information and report back to Washington about the daily state of affairs?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well Chile remained an open society until the 11th of September, so in that sense the, the job of embassy officers and my own job in terms of making contacts with people and trying to understand the situation and talking with people I had served earlier in Eastern Europe in both, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union and in both areas, and it was not that kind of a situation in Chile. Now if one is in a position where one can gain information then it became, it becomes a little like the situation of a foreign ambassador in Washington in which there is so much information that you are thrown back on their own resources of perception, analysis and understanding.
INTERVIEWER: And the coup rumors how were you treating those, how were they coming to you?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Every correspondent, everyforeign diplomat, the there were the place was awash in rumors of one kinor another for months.
INTERVIEWER: And from your own people in the Embassy, military attachés and other people, what was their information did they, were they equally unsure of what the army might do?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well I think that it is perhaps worth bearing in mind that the actual decision to carry out the coup détat on the 11th of September as best we know right now as well, is that it was sealed at a meeting that Sunday which would have been the 9th of September, in General Augusto Pinochet's house. Which means that that this was not a plan that if we had smart intelligence that we would have known the date and that would have known the plans and the circumstances long ahead, that they, they themselves had really made up their minds long ahead.
INTERVIEWER: Because you, you have the unfortunate, sort of various people have written, because you were recalled to Washington, shortly before this date, it always looked like "well the American ambassador went home to discuss with his boss exactly what was going to happen in Chile." Can you tell me about that and why you actually were recalled to Washington.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well I was recalled to Washington on probably about the 7th of September I think I flew up on Friday and the, this Henry Kissinger had been named Secretary of State he had not yet taken office and he was putting together a team of collaborators, and he was interviewing possible people that he would take onto his team and that included me and he did name me as Director General of the United States Foreign Service. And that was his reason for calling me to Washington. So that, the other thing I would have to say in that regard is that Henry Kissinger is a smarter man than to publicly as Secretary of State designate call the ambassador to Chile and to Washington to hatch plans for a coup d'état, two days before the coup d'etat is about to take place. It isn't the way the world works.
INTERVIEWER: But it is very good as a conspiracy theory.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Yeah, but it was not his reason for calling me out to Washington.
INTERVIEWER: On the day of the coup itself. Do you remember that day, how you heard the news.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Vividly, we did have intelligence about the plans of the coup plotters, that we, had indications after I, I guess I flew back to Santiago, it was either Sunday night or Monday morning, I forget which, but the certainly the situation was getting more and more ominous and then we did have the possibility of learning something about it. Not because we were in touch with the plotters we were not, and General Pinochet, a Chilean officers are proud men and he said afterwards to Sy Salzburg of the New York Times that "I wasn't going to consult any ambassador, least of all the United States, because this is our business, it's not theirs". But we did learn something about it and made the arrangement that our two actually recently assigned officers of the of the anti-drug international, anti-drug effort who lived quite close to me that they could simply swing by and pick me up. And they did, and so in the morning we drove down and got about oh 5 blocks from our embassy offices, they there was already firing in the streets and tear gas and so on and so forth because of course the embassy is right across the square from the Mondeo palace, which is where the, the presidential office is. So we walked on foot to the embassy and got in and got up to the embassy offices which were on a rather high story in the office building, several high stories and then put mattresses against our windows. because there was a, our windows were being shot out, the glass was being shot out, and watched developments.
INTERVIEWER: What did you see going on?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: A lot of fighting in the street.
INTERVIEWER: Did you see the planes coming in?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Yes we did, and I guess I am also reminded that my wife and our children were at the house and they had a marvelous view of the of these planes winging over and then dipping down and sending their bombs in to the Mondeo. We were not in a position to see them that clearly but
INTERVIEWER: [Coughs] I was hanging onto that. Are we at the end of the roll?
INTERVIEWER: This is tape 10845 continuation of the interview with Mr. Nathaniel Davis. Talk to me a little bit about your personal memories of Salvador Allende the man, what was he like when you met him and what sort of, you know did you have a relationship with him that you could relate to that you could call a friendship or was it purely diplomatic?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I liked Salvador Allende, he was a very attractive personality, and had a fine sense of humor. He was relaxed in his relationships including his relationship with me. He I remember on one occasion when he went down to the inauguration of some public work and he invited me and the Chinese ambassador, I think he thought that he would kind of twit me because we didn't have relations with China and he piled up a little, tiny little Chilean car he piled me in on one side, the Chinese ambassador on the other, because he wanted to see what would happen. Well he I don't know whether he was disappointed but it didn't bother me talking to the Chinese ambassador. He in that sense he was perhaps teasing and he, we had a good deal of contact in one way or another.
INTERVIEWER: Was he a communist?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Salvador Allende was a socialist and of course his aspiration was the so called Chilean way, which means that one could can carry Chile through a socialist regime, institutionally, and this is one of the reasons why he spent all the money he did in a consumer goods import program, because he was struggling to get the necessary 50% in the elections of the spring of 1972. Because if he had it, if he had a referendum, he could have changed the whole political structure of the country. And he came very close. He got almost 50%.
INTERVIEWER: What did you think personally about the manner of his death and the ferocity of the aftermath of the Chilean
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Of course if affected me. Now so far as Salvador Allende's death it is I think quite clear and I think it is recognized also by virtually everybody in Chile including the Chilean left that he did in fact commit suicide. Now how much I would say, but there is a Latin American tradition that makes that a little, it makes it much better from the point of view of his legacy if he had gone down killed with the guns blazing, but he did I think there is no question that he committed suicide. Now I also in the days after the coup did my best to influence General Pinochet and the Chilean regime to moderate their actions and to observe human rights in a way that I'm sorry to say they did not do. But it was tragic.
INTERVIEWER: I would like, I can't remember although I read your book but I can't remember you were replaced shortly afterwards.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Yes the what happened was you remember that I went up to Washington and Henry Kissinger selected me to be Director General of foreign Service and so then I went up to take up my new responsibilities and the actually left Chile on the last day of October and the coup was the 11th of September.
INTERVIEWER: Looking back on it with the benefit of hindsight, it was an unfortunate piece of timing given the conspiracies that surfaced later about American involvement in the coup which has never been proven, given that what was established was the early attempts to prevent Allende's election and 3 years later after the coup had been successful, there is no evidence of America command. Your replacement for 5 or 6 or 7 weeks later as if thanks for the job well done, and then the conspiracy theories and we've read the books and seen the movies, so do you think that was another ,with the benefit of hindsight, do you think it would have been better handled in a different way?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: By that do you mean I should have stayed in Chile longer? its hard to know I'm not sure if I had stayed in Chile longer that it would have affected the varconspiracy theories that surfaced. It and incidentally the Church Committee, Senator Church's committee access to the most secret of the papers that they discovered track 2 and they came to the conclusion that the United States was not implicated in the coup plot.
INTERVIEWER: The unfortunate tragedy for Chile was that it had rather from being this I think a country with the longest tradition of democracy in the whole region with the exception of the United States and suffered quite a nasty dose of the cold war, to which many neutral observers of which I may be one think it is not over yet, because society is still polarized.. Do you think that in countries that are, albeit, some thousands of miles away, but they still are part of Uncle Sam's backyard, that America should still have it's attention in the old Munroe way now that there is no Soviet Union about political happenings in these countries?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well of course the great contribution of Franklin Roosevelt with his good neighbor policy was essentially to say that we will not try to run the affairs of the other countries of the hemisphere, that's one reason why Franklin Roosevelt and the good neighbors policy became so popular. Now the situation in the events of Eastern Europe in 1989 and the events in the soviet union in 1991, have transformed the, the geo-political situation in the world and the strategic situation of the world, so that the fact that Fidel Castro is still in power does not have the significance that it might have had earlier.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think that America should have taken care of Castro in the way that other places were I'd say handled to exorcise the threat of the spread of communism, or socialism, or Marxism or marxist-leninism.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: I think that certainly the way things have come out, we can be very happy that we did not perpetrate another action such as the action against Arbenz in 1954.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much. Do you want to add anything Brian? Yeah its the one that we ask everybody, the end of the cold war, looking at the Latin American Caribbean region it has a pretty ferocious time in terms of the body count, the victims on both sides and the cost in money, was it worth it? Are you running?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Well once again I think that now, I think we have to make some allowance for the fact that life is lived forward and not backward. But looking back on the result in Eastern Europe and in the soviet Union I think that that the outcome of the cold war was decided there, it was not decided in the in the fields of Nicaragua or Central America, and so that in that sense if we had been able to avoid the human tragedies and human costs it would have been a good thing. But also, the same thing could be said of course in a greater extent in Vietnam, because in Vietnam the once again the Vietnam did not turn out to be the determining event in the unfolding relationship of the superpowers and it was Vietnam in that sense was looking back on it, could have been regarded as something that we would have been better off to avoid it.
INTERVIEWER: Coming back to Chile for one second on that theme, if Salvador Allende had been able or had finished his term, do you think he would have been reelected.
NATHANIEL DAVIS: No I think that if it had been possible for the democratic institutions to manage to survive through til 1976 then and to continue free elections and have free elections in 76, then Allende would have been booted out of office. It was pretty clear that he was losing his support and did not have the majority.
INTERVIEWER: What was the danger that that might not have happened? Did you see him as a threat to the democratic process?
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Certainly Unidad Popular and some of the Lemere for example and the followers of Carlos Alto Perano and so on , they were quite prepared to use violence. Not Allende himself.
INTERVIEWER: Allende was in their spell as it were or they were liable...
NATHANIEL DAVIS: Allende had a very complex set of relationships within his coalition and of course Allende ultimately had the aspiration of a member of the worlds left and it was very difficult for him to curb the ambitions and the machinations of some of the people like Altaberano and his own party and Lemere and so on and so forth and he was all, not always completely decisive in his handling of things. He was famous for what was called his munecho, or his flexible wrist, which in some ways was an immense advantage to him, but also it meant that sometimes he didn't show the steadfastness and decision that might have saved him.
INTERVIEWER: 20 secs atmos. We now need to record the sound of silence.
When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:
This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?
Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."
In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.
Read the stories and leave your comments.
|By Anonymous (pc-75-162-47-190.cm.vtr.net - 220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 8:56 pm: Edit Post|
In relation to your article "February 21, 1999: Headlines: COS - Chile: Country Directors - Chile: Intelligence Issues FOIA: Freedom of Information Act: George Washington University: Interview with Nathaniel Davis, Peace Corps Director in Chile, and later Ambassador to Chile during the coup against Salvador Allende", why was Mr. Davis not questioned on the death of US citizen Charles Forman?
Probably even more important was that he was not asked why the US Embassy in Santiago withheld information regarding the whereabouts of Mr. Forman to his wife and family, when they clearly knew he was shot in National Stadium.
I think this gentleman is an embarassment to the Peace Corps and am absolutley astonished to see that you would interview him on these grounds and the fact that it is widely known to Chileans(contrary to what your interview misleads readers to believe) the indepth involvement of the USG and CIA in encourging the coup d etat in Chile.
On these grounds and in taking into consideration that Mr. Davis had more than one face to face chat with Kissinger, it is very hard to believe that he had no knowledge of what was precisley going on at the time. This gives conspiracy theorists alot of ammo to work with.
As an indirect consequence to the super powers struggle for supremacy during the cold war years, one of the fiercest dictators (Pinochet) was encouraged to topple a democratically elected government and assasinate thousands. Included among those, two american citizens.
One final comment, as this interview took place in 1999, I would like to suggest a follow up interview question:
Is it not true that the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile denied protection and/or asylum for its own citizens (living in Chile at the time) during the 1973 coup?