14 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (19)


COPPER COMPANY, 1954-1967 

Haldeman: Where were we? 

Swent : 
Turton died, and Michaelson moved to Santiago. 

Haldeman: As he moved to Santiago, I became general manager in 1954. 

Swent: Did this mean that you moved down to Coya? 

Haldeman: Yes, I moved to Coya, but I was there only seven months. I had 
furnished Mr. Turton 's house, and it was beautiful. Now fate 
comes in again. In the United States, Cox and Milliken had 
hired a man to be manager of the Western Mine Divisions. I 
forget his name. They didn't realize that the man had a bottle 
problem. About the third time he got off the plane in Salt Lake 
City, Utah, and fell down the stairs, they decided that they had 
to let him go. So they called Mr. Michaelson and said, "Mike, 
you come up to the States and take over the job, and tell 
Mr. Haldeman that he has to move into Santiago. He will be the 
chief executive officer." 
Haldeman:  Here I was, thrown into politics.

Swent: This was in '54?

Haldeman: The end of '54 or the beginning of '55. I was thirty- seven
years old, the youngest general manager in the company's
history. Mr. Ibanez was president, and he was a very weak
president. He was a general of the army and had a second term.
The first term he had a military coup and took it over, but he
was voted in again for president, because all the people
remembered that bread only cost twenty centavos a loaf at that
time, and he'd probably get the food prices down. Inflation was

Haldeman: Anyway, the general got in, and the government floated along
from '52 to '58. In the middle of that, in 1957 I became vice
president of Braden Copper. It was another title and a raise in
pay, and then I became a member of the Braden board in New York
but still staying in Chile. I received a decoration, the Orden
Al Merito Bernardo O'Higgins from the Chilean government, with
the rank of official. There was a ceremony with the minister of

Swent: That must have been a big thrill.

Haldeman: Very big thrill. It raised my posture and stature in local

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