15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (24)

Presidential Elections. 1958. Alessandri the Winner 

Haldeman: In 1958 we had presidential elections. At that time there was a 
great threat of Mr. Allende becoming elected. The other 
candidate was Mr. Alessandri. Of course, one of Allende 's major 
platforms was the expropriation of copper. It was painted on 
the walls all over the country. We were called every imaginable 
thing you can think of, having stolen I don't know what from the 
country, et cetera. Chile was still divided politically into 
thirds, and the Christian Democrat Party now started to bubble 
forth as a major faction in the center. 

Mr. Alessandri was the new president. At this point it 
seemed like new presidents were given the country with the 
coffers empty; they were broke. They looked for the greatest 
source of income--the copper companies, the major export. 
Sixty, seventy, eighty percent of their foreign exchange came in 
copper--two companies. 

Swent: Anaconda and Kennecott? 

Haldeman: Right. Of course, the president would call on you and ask you 
what you were going to do to for the country: if you can, 
increase production. We had been working it out in the 
engineering department since '55 or '56. I put it on a six-year 
presidential period, with a little bit for each president to 
satisfy him and increase the revenues. By the end of that term, 
they had already spent that, and you had to have something for 
the next president in the basket. We put it on the gantt chart 
and just programmed them- -something for each president. A gantt 
chart is a planning chart, where you put down critical path 
methods; it's an engineering tool. 

Mr. Milliken came down in the '56, '57, '58 period, and he 
said, "You know, we have a tremendous ore body here, but we're 
not really working it to its potential. It could generate much 
more." We were around 160,000 or 170,000 tons a year of copper. 
He said, "Why don't you put something on the board and see what 
you can devise. Let your imagination run away with you, even to 
dumping waste into the Pacific, 150 kilometers away, and see 
what alternates there are." 

Swent: Why would that help? 

Haldeman: If you expanded so big, there was no place to dump in the 

central valley, so you had to get out. Anaconda was dumping 
tailings in the ocean up north anyway. You have to get rid of 
them, and you can't put them on farm land. 

That was a think-tank arrangement. 
Swent: Bra ins terming. 

Haldeman: Yes, just to see what we could do. We had a lot of things on 
the board. Kennecott 's board of directors said, "Maybe it's the 
time we just take the step forward and make a bold move and 
present a very bold program to the government. Get our tax rate 
down and increase production, let the government have more 
revenues to keep them happy, and get some more profits out of 
the property." We worked out the figures. 

                                 Jorge Alessandri, President of Chile

Index to Haldeman Interview

No comments: