15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (42)

The next day we met at ten o'clock, and I took the notes 
down. It didn't quite fill two pages, double- spaced, and that 
was the agreement we struck for a $240 million business. We 
sold 51 percent of the company, and I was managing it for them. 

Swent: When exactly was this, Bob? 

Haldeman: It was between January and February of 1964. That memo was 
given to the president, and they immediately made a press 
release of the results of the agreements with the three 
companies. He said, "I have drafted legislation that I needed 
enacted to make these things become effective." 

Swent: These three companies were all announced simultaneously? 

Haldeman: Yes. The word leaked out a little bit, but then the president 
went over national radio. 

Swent: And you had heard what the results of the other two meetings 

Haldeman: The next day, when the president went over the radio, the phones 
started to jingle. Anaconda called up: "You s.o.b.'s. You 
dirty so-and-so's." 

Bob Koenig called up and said, "Congratulations. I think 
it was brilliant. I should have thought of it myself; I could 
have gotten some cash out of this investment." [laughter] 
Anaconda was furious. 

Swent: Had you been aware of what Anaconda and Koenig had done? 

Haldeman: Yes. Chile is a large country, relatively speaking, but it's a 
small one--Peyton Place; you know what that means. 

Swent: How had you heard? 

Haldeman: There are leaks of information all over the place. It's very 
hard to keep a secret in Chile. I knew in general what they 
were talking about. 

Swent: Was there a club where you met people and this sort of gossip 
was circulated? 

Haldeman: No. A fellow like Mr. Illanes and some of the Chilean 

supervisors that I raised up into key positions have an awful 
lot more information sources than a foreigner. They pick it up 
at cocktail parties. It leaks around. Then they can report to 
me. I needed those; I didn't have the ears. My intelligence 
service. Everybody had it. 

Swent: I was just wondering if there was a country club or a downtown 

Haldeman: No, nothing like that. Oh, there are, but usually they don't 
leak it to you there. They wouldn't have said anything to us. 
Of course, it took them by surprise; it took everybody by 
complete surprise. It was very bold and very good. 

At that time Michaelson and I were talking, and we came to 
the conclusion that this would probably last two 
administrations- -Frei and the following. Twelve years. 

Swent: They never gave you credit for having thought of this? 
Haldeman: Let's wait until a little later to talk about that.
Abandoned barracks at the ghost town of Sewell, Chile

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