White House

Nixon, Brazil dictator discussed overthrowing Castro, Allende

In 1971, President Richard Nixon and Brazil's military dictator discussed coordinating efforts to help Cubans and Chileans overthrow Fidel Castro and Salvador Allende respectively, according to a recently declassified White House memo on their meeting.

Gen. Emilio Garrastazú Médici first raised the issue of helping anti-Castro Cubans.

"These men claimed that they had forces and could overthrow Castro's regime. The question arose, should we help them," said the memo written by national security advisor Henry Kissinger.

Nixon "pondered this question and said he felt we should, as long as we did not push them into doing something that we could not support, and as long as our hand did not appear," the document noted. Médici agreed, it added.

Kissinger's account of the Dec. 9, 1971, White House visit by Médici was written "for the president's file" and classified Top Secret. It was declassified Sept. 4, 2008, and made public in July as part of a State Department publication on U.S. foreign policy.

The National Security Archive (NSA), a private research institute in Washington, posted the memo and related documents Sunday on its website, www.nsarchive.org.

The rightist Médici, who ruled Brazil from 1969 to 1974, died in 1985. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal and died in 1994.

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