SANTIAGO, CHILE, MAY 29 -- President Patricio Aylwin has ordered army commander and ex-ruler Gen. Augusto Pinochet to hand over records of the disbanded secret police and told him to keep the army out of politics.
After the meeting Monday, Pinochet told reporters he would provide the "necessary information," but later denied holding any such records. "What files? I don't have any," said Pinochet. He was summoned to the government palace.
A statement issued later by Aylwin's office said he asked Pinochet for details on the dissolving of the National Information Center, a secret police agency that human rights groups say was involved in the torture and killing of dissidents during Pinochet's 16 1/2-year rule.
According to the statement, Aylwin ordered that secret police files "be put at the government's disposition, to help prevent and combat terrorism."
The National Information Center was legally disbanded shortly before Pinochet relinquished power. In recent weeks, however, there have been newspaper reports that former secret policemen have been caught conducting surveillance of officials of the new government.
The general described the meeting as "very friendly" and said Aylwin asked for his help in fighting terrorism. The government is hunting for leftist guerrillas involved in the recent shootings of ex-officers.
Aylwin also complained about the "political connotation" of an army statement that expressed concern about the creation of a special commission to investigate human rights abuse during Pinochet's rule.
Aylwin said the army had no authority to question the panel's creation and should be trying to cooperate with it, according to the statement. Pinochet replied that he did not mean to question Aylwin's authority.