15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (28)

Swent: At this point were you paying discriminatory rates? 

Haldeman: Yes. We were at 65 or 70 percent, and of course they can diddle 
you all the ways they want --exchange and everything. 

You negotiate that and get an agreement with the president, 
and then the president sends it to the Congress and says, "Take 
it or leave it. Don't negotiate and start to change commas and 
this and that," which they will do a little bit, but it's a 
package deal. 

We went over and talked to the president and told him what 
we had in mind. 

Presenting the Plan to President Alessandri 

Did you talk directly with the president? 

Oh, yes. Mr. Milliken, Michaelson, and myself. Milliken didn't 
speak any Spanish, and Michaelson said, "You talk to him, Bob." 

You weren't speaking with his representatives? 
speaking directly with the president? 

We went directly to him, and he congratulated us on our bold 
plan. He was an engineer himself, and he realized it was a bold 
plan. At the time, 1956, we estimated the cost at $200 million. 
If you take inflation and put it in present value, as the 
economists do, that's about a $1.2 billion investment. 

The president appointed the minister of finance, 
Mr. Figueroa, to strike a deal with us. Well, '57 passed, '58 
passed, '59 passed. We just couldn't seem to come to an 
agreement. What really was behind it was that Mr. Alessandri 
didn't feel he wanted to take that package to the Congress. 

I refer you to a book, [Frederick B.] Pike's Chile and U.S. 
Relations, 1880-1962, Notre Dame, 1963. This tells you why the 
Chilean leading class doesn't like the United States, by names. 
It's very understandable. 

American "gunboat diplomacy" ?  Baltimore became the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron on 24 May 1890, and, from 15-23 August, 
conveyed the remains of the late Captain John Ericsson from New York City to Stockholm, Sweden. After cruising in European and Mediterranean waters, 
she arrived at Valparaíso, Chile on 7 April 1891 to join the South Pacific Station. She protected American citizens during the
 Chilean revolution, landing men at Valparaíso on 28 August. The events around this became known as the Baltimore Crisis. 
(click image for larger view)  
Don't forget that Chile at that time 
was an agricultural country. All of the gentry had big farms, 
were absentee landlords, and paid miserable wages to the people. 
They left the mining to the foreigners, the gringos. Of course, 
anything that upset their apple cart, they had to tax the 
gringos. Remember President Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, 
which ended in Frei's expropriation of large farms. 

Index to Haldeman Interview

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