The United States and Chile have agreed on procedures for Chile to pay compensation to the family of a former Chilean diplomat who was assassinated in Washington in 1976, the State Department said yesterday.
Orlando Letelier and an associate, Ronni Moffitt, died in a car bombing, and U.S. authorities blamed agents of the military government that then ruled Chile.
Chile's new, 3-month-old government has agreed to pay compensation for the deaths of Letelier and Moffitt without admission of official liability by the previous government.
The military government ignored a 1980 order by a U.S. federal district judge to pay families of the victims $2.9 million.
An international commission, set up years ago to help settle bilateral disputes, will determine the amount of compensation to be paid, the State Department said. The Chilean Congress will then be asked to approve the request.
The bilateral agreement outlining the procedure was signed Monday.
Letelier, an outspoken opponent of the military government, had served as foreign minister and held other high posts in the government of leftist President Salvador Allende.
The State Department statement referred only briefly to the question of culpability for the murders.
"Both governments recognize that bringing to trial those responsible for the murders of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt is of utmost importance," it said.
During the administration of President Augusto Pinochet, Chilean authorities refused to turn over three security officers wanted in the United States for the killings. But a few weeks after Pinochet turned over the presidency to an elected successor, Patricio Alwyn, the Chilean Supreme Court decided to reopen the case.