The United States, in a new rebuke to Chile for its human-rights record and lack of progress toward democracy, is expected to abstain when the World Bank votes later this week on an $11 million loan to help Chile improve management of its state-run enterprises.
The abstention would continue the U.S. stance taken last month when the Inter-American Development Bank approved a $130 million loan to Chile.
U.S. officials said the purpose is to make a display of concern over Chilean President Augusto Pinochet's maintenance of a state of siege and his refusal to negotiate with opposition parties about replacing Chile's 11-year-old military dictatorship with civilian rule.
The decision to abstain was described by some officials as a tilt toward the tactical approach advocated by Elliott Abrams, assistant secretary of state for human rights.
He has said publicly that because "quiet persuasion" has failed to bring about a change in Chile's rights policies, the Reagan administration must use its leverage to demonstrate its displeasure with Pinochet's hard-line course.
Abrams' position prompted speculation about whether he and Langhorne A. (Tony) Motley, assistant secretary for inter-American affairs, disagreed over Chile. In the wake of Abrams' remarks last month about the need for a tougher U.S. position, Motley met with Pinochet in Santiago, but acknowledged afterward that he did not press for an easing of the repression that has seen six opposition newspapers closed and thousands of people arrested.
The outlines of U.S. policy also have been blurred by signs that Secretary of State George P. Shultz may encounter opposition to his plan to send Harry G. Barnes Jr., a veteran career diplomat who is ambassador to India, to Santiago to replace James Daniel Theberge, a political appointee considered sympathetic to Pinochet.
State Department sources said congressional conservatives, suspicious that Barnes' move might be part of a drive to force out Pinochet, have been digging into the ambassador's background and have threatened a possible fight to block his confirmation by the Senate.
The sources said they cannot gauge whether the opposition to Barnes' transfer is serious.
While noting that Shultz has shown no sign of backing away from his desire to put Barnes in Santiago, some sources said the processing of his nomination papers through the White House appears to have been held up, at least temporarily.
U.S. officials also acknowledged that Abrams and Motley have what one called "different constituencies that give them different perspectives on the problem."
In contrast to Abrams' call for a show of toughness, they said Motley prefers trying to stimulate dialogue between all important sectors in Chile through moves such as his visit to Santiago and another made last week by Nestor D. Sanchez, a deputy assistant secretary of defense.
But the officials also asserted that Abrams and Motley agree that the United States, which has little influence on Chile's government, must combine public and private measures, some critical and some conciliatory, in its effort to stimulate a dialogue.
They said the loan abstention was part of this approach, and they added that it is likely to be applied to all Chilean loan requests that do not involve "basic human needs."