Through Rogers, Kissinger allowed Falcoff to view copies of some of the private transcripts of his 1970s telephone conversations, which at that time were not generally available. (Under pressure from the news media and from Kornbluh's archive, Kissinger agreed last year to allow the Library of Congress to release the transcripts for general consumption.)
Falcoff used them for an article he wrote and tried to place in Foreign Affairs. But Hoge did not accept it.
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976. Questions linger about the U.S. role in the Pinochet-led coup.
"It tried to sum up the story [of Chile] before the story can really be summed up," says Hoge. (Falcoff, a friend of Maxwell's since their student days at Princeton, believed for several months thereafter that Maxwell had rejected his piece. He broke off their friendship as a result.)
Instead, Falcoff placed his piece in Commentary, where it ran in November 2003 under the headline "Kissinger and Chile: The Myth That Will Not Die."
In it, he quotes from the Kissinger transcripts -- or rather, he misquotes them.
It is a Sept. 16, 1973, chat between Kissinger and Nixon, discussing the anti-Allende coup that occurred five days earlier. The actual telephone transcript reads:
Nixon: "Well, we didn't -- as you know -- our hand doesn't show on this one though."
Kissinger: "We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. ________ created the conditions as great as possible."
But Falcoff ended Kissinger's quote at "We didn't do it."
Falcoff, who had seen the full quote, said he was not trying to alter history, not trying to create a myth of his own.
"I made a mistake," he said when asked repeatedly. "I should have put that part of the quote in the article. I should have done that."
Feuding in Print
Rogers, meanwhile, geared up to battle Maxwell. He submitted a rebuttal for Foreign Affairs to publish in its January/February 2004 issue.
In criticizing the so-called "case against Kissinger," Rogers wrote that the "myth" of U.S. involvement in Chile was "lovingly nurtured" by the Latin American left and "refreshed" by people like Maxwell and Kornbluh.
("The Case Against Henry Kissinger" was the title of a two-part 2001 Harpers magazine article by Christopher Hitchens that ultimately became a book and the basis for the 2002 documentary "The Trials of Henry Kissinger.")
Rogers called it "mischievous nonsense" for Maxwell to mix the Letelier car bombing into a discussion of U.S. foreknowledge or complicity in Chile. He characterized as "circumstantial at best" any evidence of U.S. responsibility for the Allende coup. And he rejected that the United States had approved of and helped plan the effort to kidnap Schneider.
Hoge printed Rogers's rebuttal, with a response from Maxwell that glibly observed that the dossier of declassified documents "cuts very close to home."
He accused Rogers of "overreaching" and suggested that a "truth commission" could probe the unanswered questions of Chile, rather than answers being "extracted painfully, like rotten teeth."
But what indeed cut close to home was this charge by Maxwell: The Letelier bombing "was a tragedy that might have been prevented."
Rogers shot back hard. In the March/April 2004 issue, he accused Maxwell of "bias." He called it "outrageous" to suggest that the United States could have prevented the bombing.
"One would hope at least that Maxwell's views are understood to be his own and not those of the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is a senior fellow," Rogers wrote.
Calling a Cease-Fire
The debate had grown uglier than Hoge anticipated. Now the council itself was being dragged into it.
Caught between competing views on Chile, Hoge sought the advice of a close friend, William H. Leurs, who also happens to be the State Department official who drafted Kissinger's 1976 cable warning the Condor nations about their activities. Basically, Hoge wanted to talk things through with someone who knew the issues.