15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (29)

Alessandri just didn't feel he wanted to take our package 
to Congress, so in about 1962 we threw in the sponge and figured 
there was no need to talk any more about it. 

Chilean President Jorge Alessandri

Swent: You must have been terribly disappointed. 

Haldeman: Yes, very disappointed. When I had to leave the country, I had 
to leave so quickly that I didn't have time to go into the 
files. I don't know where that report was. I know somebody in 
the Copper Corporation has it in the government, but I can't get 
my hands on it. 

In 1962 the government was scrounging for money. They had 
problems with the copper price fluctuations- -every thing. Of 
course, no new investments. I became aware of the fact that now 
Mr. Allende is gaining more ground politically on the fact that 
they should take over copper. Well, we hadn't done anything for 
the government, but it wasn't because we didn't want to; we just 
couldn't. The political pressures were coming, and I could see 
the handwriting on the wall. I talked to Mr. Michaelson. I 
said, "Mike, time is limited. Like Gypsy Rose Lee, you have to 
find a gimmick to stay alive."
Haldeman: At this time Mr. Ibanez, who was a businessman, one of the chaps 
I invited to lunch from time to timethe coffee you had today 
is Nescafe; he started the Nescafe business in Chile. A 
landowner, a very charming person. He founded these Almac 
stores, a chain that you see everywhere. Today the poor fellow 
is a vegetable in bed on his farm. He must be eighty-plus. He 
called me over to his office one day and said, "Bob, I want to 
give you a little personal advice. Time is running out. As you 
know, you are a foreign company, and the political pressures are 
on. You people in copper are just too important to the nation's 
economy. When the price of copper goes down and there's too 
much inventory on the market, New York--both your companies- 
decide they're going to have to cut back production," which they 
did at one time when I was in the mine. I was the general 
superintendent in '52, and Mr. Stannard came down. Our prices 
were at rock-bottom; we were getting along with practically no 
profit at all. He said he couldn't see much future for the 
world business of copper, and they were on the borderline of 
deciding to shut down the mine, the whole property. That was at 
a tuxedo dinner at the Teniente Club. 

Club El Teniente
The El Teniente Club still stands at the ghost town of Sewell.  Almost all other
 traces of the American compound behind it were destroyed, apparently as a result
of the communist desire (they were in charge at the time) to wipe out any traces 
of the former American presence at Sewell.(click image for larger view)


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