In some of the areas, like the smelter, you had a bunch of bohunks who were running the converters and the reverberatory furnaces and the roaster building. The first time I put a Chilean in the converter section, the whole converter group- -Americans and Canadians (and these were not university graduates; they were practical men) got word to the superintendent: "You tell Haldeman, that new man in the management, that we're going to quit if they put the Chilean in the same job as we are." I told the superintendent to ask them when they wanted their plane tickets to go home; I'd have them delivered to them. Two of them picked it up, and I filled the jobs immediately. Everybody became quiet; they suddenly realized that I wasn't fooling around. They had a Chilean engineer, a college graduate, in there running the shift. He ran it much better than the bohunks--the practical men. That started the thing going in management. About this time we had a tremendous breakthrough, and the remaining expatriates realized that they had to compete with the Chileans. It made a very healthy atmosphere [for the Chileans] to get up the management ladder, because they had really worked their tails off. The Americans figured they were down for three years, and they could do almost what they wanted. No way.
So it was very helpful. Then it became the place to go for the Chilean engineer, and we then had requests of the best people around to get on the dollar payroll. We started to hand-pick the people out of the industry [laughs], and we picked up an excellent team. I'll get to that later on. Swent: This you could do on your own authority? The board in New York didn't know what was going on? Haldeman: I didn't consult them; I told them. There was myself and Mr. Grant, and then we had a manager of operations, manager of service departments, and manager of personnel. We had the equivalent job in purchasing and accounting. Accounting was always held with an American under Kennecott's American accounting system; they have the hands on the cash box. I don't have any problem with that; that's perfectly right. But the fellow they had down there went along with us and hired Chileans under him. About '63 or '64, we had an opening for a manager in the service departments. I didn't have anybody I could put in that I would be satisfied with who could compete with a Chilean fellow, Nelson Pereira. He had been educated at the University of Illinois in the United States and at one time was 110-, 220- , and 440-meter AAU track champion. A Chilean! So we made him the first Chilean gerente. Well, that was earth-shaking. [laughs] Then he turned around and married the daughter of my Mr. Casarotto, and they had four children. Their daughter is the girl who married a son of my friend who worked in the Bethlehem Steel mines. Small world, eh?
Index to Haldeman Interview