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Correction to This Article
A Feb. 27 Style article incorrectly said that a reporter asked then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in 2003 for a retrospective view of U.S. relations with Chile. It was a student, James Doubek, who asked the question during a BET Youth Town Hall meeting.
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A Plot Thickens

In the case of Operation Condor, Maxwell wrote, the United States was aware of the broad conspiracy that involved the intelligence services of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia (as well as Brazil, Peru and Ecuador somewhat later).

In August 1976, Kissinger issued a cable to U.S. ambassadors in the Condor nations, instructing them to warn the heads of states that the United States had heard rumors about Condor actions and that there would be "a most serious moral and political problem" if those rumors were true.


Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976. Questions linger about the U.S. role in the Pinochet-led coup. (Upi)

But the demarche for Pinochet apparently was not delivered, according to cables quoted in "The Pinochet File," because of concern about his reaction.

A month later, Letelier was rounding Sheridan Circle on Embassy Row in his Chevrolet Chevelle when a remote control bomb was detonated beneath the car, killing him and one passenger and injuring another.

Kissinger Calling

Kissinger read Maxwell's piece in Foreign Affairs. He was not pleased.

He called Peterson, the council chair, and complained.

Peterson then called Hoge to pass on the complaint.

"I am chairman of this organization," Peterson said in an interview. "This is a member organization. Members pay dues. And people call me and say, 'I'm not pleased,' with one thing or another. I have immense respect for Jim Hoge and even more for the fundamental independence of that magazine. On the other hand, as chairman, when somebody calls me and complains and says, 'I didn't like something,' I turn it over to the people that are responsible."

According to Peterson, his brief conversation with Hoge went this way:

"I said, 'Jim, Henry just called me and he's not happy about some review. I must tell you I haven't read the review. But you're in charge and you're editor.' "

Hoge described the phone call as "an alert" that did not affect his editorial judgment.

"Pete calls when he thinks there's something I ought to know and take into account. It was simply informational," says Hoge.

Kissinger declined to be interviewed about the Maxwell controversy. He wrote in "Years of Upheaval," the 1982 installment of his voluminous autobiography, that allegations about U.S. involvement in Chile's chaos are mere "political mythology."

William D. Rogers, a confidant, business partner and sometime lawyer for Kissinger, believes that too. And he doggedly works to counter the myths.

A respected former diplomatic deputy to Kissinger and semi-retired senior partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter, Rogers speaks derisively of those he calls the "myth makers." They include the Latin American left and, in the United States, they include Kornbluh and Maxwell.

In 2003, Rogers even took on Secretary of State Colin Powell. A reporter had asked Powell for a retrospective view on U.S. policy toward Chile in the 1970s.

"It is not a part of American history that we are proud of," Powell responded.

Rogers was outraged.

"He was implying that the U.S. was morally responsible for what happened in Chile," Rogers says heatedly in his office. "He bought the myth. And I thought that was unfortunate. I called Will Taft" -- the State Department's legal counsel -- "who is an old friend, and I said, 'Gee, get him off this.' " Taft does not dispute Rogers's account.

The State Department issued a statement clarifying Powell's comments: The United States "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973."

Rogers's friend Mark Falcoff, a historian and then a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was also outraged by the Powell comment. Falcoff knows Chile well. He authored "Modern Chile 1970-1989: A Critical History." And he too has been working hard to counter the "mythology" of Chile.

In 2003, he worked in tandem with Rogers and Kissinger.


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