22 February 2011

Ch 58: Haldeman Interview: Leaving the Country

 Santiago, Chile

Leaving the Country

Haldeman: I went to the office the next day, everything normal. Last
night I had called a lady in a travel agency here who I had
known for years. She usually arranged my tickets through the
office in Rancagua--the company. I had all these clerks who did
this for me and got my permit to leave the country, the
salvoconducto. Of course everybody in the company would know I
would be leaving that night. So I asked the travel agent
directly, "I want you to get my tickets, and don't let the
company know. Here is my credit card; charge it to that, and
I'll bill the company after wards. You get me my salvoconducto
[police safe conduct permit], and don't let anybody know." I
explained to her, "I'm in trouble." She got it all ready.

Usually three or four times a week I would invite two
lawyers and another fellow in the office to a men's lunch bar,
shoot liar's dice, have a good lunch, a lot of good wine, and
then come back to the office. That day, my last day in the
office, I went through all my normal routine. I called up the
boys and said, "Let's go and have lunch," and we walked out of
the office. I took a little folding leather briefcase that you
carry under your arm--it wasn't one with a handle with the few
papers I wanted to keep. I left everything in the office just
exactly as it was, and we went over and shot the dice. I
couldn't play very well, and the lawyers knew exactly what I was
doing. Mr. Grant knew; I had advised him.

I went from there back to the office and called my wife to
tell her about the "dinner engagement" we had. That morning I
had told the two secretaries, my secretary and Blanca, and asked
the lawyer, "I want permission to have the two girls go out to
the house and make an inventory. My wife said she wanted to
give things to charities down here." I had a basement full of
liquor; I did a lot of entertaining. I had told these girls in
the morning to take their notebooks and go over to the house- -
not tell anybody where they were going; just say they were out
on sick leave. They went over, and all morning they were with
Doris. In the afternoon I got there, and they were pretty well
finished with their job. I had all these records and tapes, and
I said to Blanca and Amala, "You girls can have all the whiskey
and food that you want." They said they didn't drink that much,
and I told them to give it to their friends.

They left about six o'clock. I had a chauffeur, who had
worked for the company from time to time, come and pick me up
under sworn secrecy. I got to the airport, got through security
police with no problem. My two lawyers were out there, waiting
for me. They were watching as I went through International
Police. I walked out to the plane, walked up the little steps,
and got in the plane. It was wintertime, clear, a moon,
snow-capped mountains (that was the last time I saw them for
about three years). I sat down in first class, and the girl
asked, "Can I offer you something?"

I said, "You better bring a double whiskey, and when you go
back, bring another one."

I had a nice whiskey and sat back. One motor started, and
then another motor started up. They pulled the steps away and
closed the door. They were just about to rev up and move the
plane, and all of a sudden, as I looked out the window toward
the terminal, I saw two guys in white shirts, black hats, and
black pants. They were Braniff employees with some documents in
their hands. The pilot slowed the motors down, and I thought,
"Oh, mother of Christ. Now what happened?" 

I called the stewardess and said, "Give me another
whiskey." I thought it might be the last one I would have for a
while. They put the ramp up again, opened the door, the guys
came in and looked up and down the aisle, and they went and
talked to the pilot. Apparently they had forgotten to transfer
the proper papers into the plane. They went out, closed the
door, the motors revved up again, and the plane took off.

Well, that ended twenty-nine years in Chile.

Index to Haldeman Interview

No comments: