THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
Today the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Department of Justice are releasing newly declassified and other documents related to events in Chile from 1968-91. These documents are part of a discretionary review of U.S. government files related to human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence prior to and during the Pinochet era in Chile. National Security Council staff coordinated this interagency effort on behalf of the President.
Agencies made an initial release of approximately 5,800 documents on June 30, 1999, concentrating on the period from 1973-78, which corresponds to the period of the most flagrant human rights abuses in Chile. A second release of over 1,100 documents concentrating on the years 1968-73 followed on October 8, 1999. While the focus for this final release was on documents dated from 1978-91, additional documents from the earlier periods also are being released today.
This third and final release consists of more than 16,000 documents, including approximately 13,050 from the Department of State, 1,550 from the CIA, 620 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 370 from the Department of Defense, 310 from the National Archives, 110 from the National Security Council, and 50 from the Department of Justice. Information has been withheld from some of the released documents to protect the privacy of individuals, sensitive law enforcement information, and intelligence sources and methods; or to prevent serious harm to ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States.
One goal of the project is to put original documents before the public so that it may judge for itself the extent to which U.S. actions undercut the cause of democracy and human rights in Chile. Actions approved by the U.S. government during this period aggravated political polarization and affected Chile's long tradition of democratic elections and respect for the constitutional order and the rule of law.
The Chilean people deserve our praise and respect for courageously reclaiming their proud history as one of the world's oldest democracies. Healing the painful wounds of the past, Chileans from across the political spectrum have rededicated themselves to rebuilding representative institutions and the rule of law. The United States will continue to work closely with the people of Chile -- as their friend and partner -- to strengthen the cause of democracy in Latin America and around the world.
A complete set of the released documents is available for public review at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. They also are being released simultaneously in Chile. Copies of the documents will be available on the Internet at http://foia.state.gov. Also available at this website are copies of the September 2000 Hinchey Report on "CIA Activities in Chile" and the relevant 1975 Church Committee reports on Chile.