15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (34)

Now we're drifting to '63 and '64. The political scene became
very intense. Mr. Frei was one of the candidates, and Allende
was another. There was another candidate, but he didn't have
any votesa Perot, you might say, as far as attracting votes.
Frei's Christian Democrat Party had built up quite a bit of
reputation at this time, and they were real good politicians out
in the boondocks . They went right to the little towns and
established offices, and they had a lot of hard workers,
how they consolidated their vote basis.

Eduardo Frei Montalva, President of Chile, 1964-70

Mr. Frei started to talk about Chileanization of copper, 
with a lot of political gobbledy-gook that I didn't quite 
understand. The copper companies were asking, "What is this 
fellow after?" He'd make some statements, but they were 
semi-vague and broad. They wanted to have a voice and a vote in 
their destiny in copper. Well, if you're worried, that means 
taking it away from you, whatever it is.

Just before elections, in July or August of '64, I arranged 
for a meeting through my Mr. Illanes. I said, "I want to talk 
to Mr. Frei and understand exactly what he means about this 
thing." So we went to see Mr. Claro, one of the directors up 
there [in a photo], the guy sitting down on the left, the bald 
fellow. He was married to one of [President] Gonzalez Videla's 
daughters. He was in the [political] party of Frei. 

Swent: What was his name? 

Haldeman: Jose Claro. Jose said, "I'll arrange to have Mr. Frei over at 
my house for a drink." 

Swent: The picture is interesting, because it's directors of-- 

Haldeman: That's the first board meeting of the company when we sold 
51 percent. I'll get to that later on. 

The industrial relic that was the Braden copper mine 
at the ghost town of Sewell, Chile, a World Heritage site

So I had a drink at his house and Mr. Frei was there. I 
asked him exactly what it was he wanted. He had had lunch 
before at my office, and I knew him very well. He was a 
senator, and one of the invited men, so I knew him by first 
name. That's how those things pay off. He said, "Bob, let me 
explain it to you. We have to have something to say in the 
industry," and he more or less repeated what Ibanez (my advisor) 
had told me, who was not a Christian Democrat; he was extreme 
Right. But it was the general feeling. 

Frei said, "I call it Chileanization, but what it is 
really there are two things that I would like and am going to 
ask the companies for. One is that you kick up production, one 
way or the other; I need more revenues. The second thing is 
that I want to buy some equity. I don't want to be given 
anything; I want to buy in the company, be on your board, and be 
able to give our opinions on what is happening to the industry. 
Because, after all, 70 or 80 percent of all of our foreign 
exchange comes from these companies . " 

Index to Haldeman Interview 

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