E. Howard Negroponte,
INTERVIEW WITH Paul Wimert
INTERVIEWER: This is the continuation of tape 10837 the beginning of the interview with Colonel Paul Wimert. Colonel will you please tell me your full name and your position in the United States government service in 1970.
COL. WIMERT: .... Colonel Paul J. Wimert Jr., in 1970 I was the Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago.
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me where?
COL. WIMERT: In Santiago
INTERVIEWER: going back to the time when the elections were coming in 1969, 1970 what do you remember of Salvador Allende, what were your impressions of him, do you remember the first time you saw him?
COL. WIMERT: We were down at the beach and this beautiful yacht with sails that were not white, but they were cream and green colored, came gliding across the water to hook up to the wharf there and this gentleman in a white hat and a white cravat with a blue admirals coat and white duck pants and white shoes, he looked as you say like one of the old wealthy people - the Vanderbilt's of America - I couldn't believe he was Allende. And people said hi to him and he waved...... he was beautifully groomed, and of course his sailing ship was one of the nicest ones there. It didn't sit right that he was supposed to be a communist or socialist he didn't it just didn't seem possible that ... ....... and what was waiting for him was a Mercedes Benz. But he wouldn't .....
INTERVIEWER: But the from the point of view of you and your colleagues at that time knowing what you did about the way the elections were moving were you worried about, how worried were the United States about the possibilities of Allende being elected?
COL. WIMERT: it all came out of ...... ..... .... talking, until Nixon got into it and this came after Kissinger and Colonel ........
INTERVIEWER: you mean Hague? Start again, start again and just put the whole piece together and if you can speak a little bit more slowly because of your speech so that we can get it all.
COL. WIMERT: Me you mean seeing him in his yacht,
INTERVIEWER: No the worries about the election coming and Allende>
COL. WIMERT: Yeah there was a lot of talk ......... ..... and when ..... came back he and "Fulmish" they were friends for a while, and when they voted, Alessander was here and they all ..... .... ..... ...... ..... .... was Allende. This was the first time that the extreme left group sided with the communists and socialists and that broke it up so poor old .... didn't have enough votes and you could see right away what was gonna happen, so then Allende came out ..... president and so the Congress .......... .... 33%. So then we got in the act and there came up with a lot of various studies and I was separating myself from the Embassy, for was the CIA and to try and find some way to keep Allende from taking office and the military ..... .... in, in January to confirm his elections as he didn't have enough votes to start with. And then things got, began to move on
INTERVIEWER: Can I just stop you for a minute, it was I believe it was in September, you said in January, could you start the statement again like Allende was elected and then there was gonna be this problem.
COL. WIMERT: Well Allende was elected .... ... I think he was far more powerful than anyone ever thought he was and the American Embassy had ... .. his hand so to speak, it had done a lot of talking but no real action, and then when the action got started, and ... ... .... General view ... ... .... mixed up in what was "Nassau", which people thought was going to do something but "Technassau" was just a series of "young" people doing "dumb" things. I laid out in the grass until about 5 o'clock in the morning with the troops we were supposed to be attacking the city and
INTERVIEWER: Can I just stop you because you are talking about 1973 now we wanna talk 1970, so its the election and the problem of Allende being ratified as the president, can you remember when did the, when did your instructions come from Washington about, do you remember how it happened that you got separated from the Embassy?
COL. WIMERT: Well I received a cable from Admiral Moore who was Chairman of the Joint Staffs who the attaches came under, there was a big fight but the Commander ..... .... joint staffs we worked for them, and I got a letter from signed by Admiral Moore, when I worked with him in some activities to accomplish. As it turned out, I'm gonna jump to this time now in the State department in 75 76, when I was tried and brought in like a common criminal, I found out then Admiral Moore had decided Hague was directing all this military activity in the correct procedure, recognized it came from United ...., ... the United States intelligence agency .... ... ... .... for last three months ... .... I said all kinds of things in it, and .... ... ... .... ... the Pentagon. The Pentagon didn't even know what was going on when I got there.
INTERVIEWER: But there was the initiative to try and prevent Allende's election as president, that had come from Kissinger, Nixon, Hague, but can you just, that's what we wanna concentrate on, we're going to try and go through it step by step. Try and tell me how serious the United States felt about the possibility of Allende being president. And what happened?
COL. WIMERT: It never really got started in a good straight line. The homework wasn't done on it Too many people jumped in and they brought in the famous five officers from Brazil you heard about that one. And here .... ... they looked like Brazilians, old fat and unshaved in dirty uniforms they looked like Brazilians. [!]. They didn't do anything mess things up. Allende of course big ... ... ... .... like it was all the arms on it, first ... ... to be armed and what then I go through customs ... ... ... . So that began the build. And then of course I went to Prats under direction from Nixon, so to speak, and if, if we got rid of Schneider, since he was the number two man in the army, he would then side with the United States and make them have another election. He said he would. So we had ... ... ... and in the mean time Schneider's daughter and son were very interested in the Communist youth group. Prior to this time I had become good friends with General Schneider because when I got Chile he was aide to the President, and we knew each other very well, he was also quite a painter and I got him for Christmas - through money from the CIA - a big beautiful complete paint set for him, which he said he enjoyed. But he told me, he said "I will not, will not repeat change anything against what the people vote for in this election. Allende was elected - Alessandri was out - he wouldn't bring the army out. The carabineros, the navy all said ' we'll go along with you ....as long as you get the army to go - they're too far ahead of us in strength and power.'
INTERVIEWER: So then think there was a movement of money from America to try to prevent Allende's ratification as president. Now some of that money we know went to political parties, some of that money went in other directions. Talk to me about what your experiences were.
COL. WIMERT: The money wasn't guided. It was like a Christmas party - throwing some here, some there and some place else. There was no real .....on our part as far as I could see..... leadership from the Washington area. Everybody was going to do something - nobody did anything. Once Schneider got shot , everything stopped. Everybody got scared, its terrible and the whole thing came to a screeching halt and I figured I had to get out.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think there was a, there was a lot of money, how much money do you think there was?
COL. WIMERT: I had...... they gave me $250,000 to spend and I didn't spend any of it, but I wasn't, I gave it to some people but I had to take it back. I didn't really feel they would use it and it would be bad publicity for the United States.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the money and how you got it and what you did with it, and how you hid it and what was it for.
COL. WIMERT: Henry Hecksler of the CIA gave me $250,000 to use on some military we knew we could on to help us get rid of Schneider - that was the key - get rid of Schneider. Whad some navy officers in there too, and Colonel Heightman of the air force, he was very much against this thing with Allende - he was very strong and he was a very good person to me because he influenced some other officers to come into these meetings we had at two or three o'clock in the morning.
INTERVIEWER: So the money, how did you keep it?
COL. WIMERT: Well I couldn't put it in my office safe because everybody used the safe, so I kept it my riding boots. The money was done in sausage shapes - long strips - and I kept it in my riding boots . No one used it but me. It would sit in the closet and when the time came to give it out to various people, I did. When I had to take it back - all but one give it back without any trouble.
INTERVIEWER: So when the money you kept in your riding boots and I think some time you kept it in your car, can you tell me the story about, I think you gave $50,000 to two particular generals and then you had to get the money back and how you did that. Now I would like to hear that story as slow as you like, but you did a deal and you gave the people the money.
COL. WIMERT: I got the money back from all of them but one - one army general - he sneered at me ..... ' I've got the goddamn money and you're not gonna get it back'. I went to his house - it was midnight or so - and the money ,he had it laid up on the table - I said " that's mine, I've come to take it back". He got all huffy, and we had to beat him up pretty good. He hit the floor three or four times - his wife came running down her hair in curlers and her robe on, screaming that her husband was sick and all that business. I said "He's pretty sick" and took the money and left. So I never can say I didn't turn the money back in that I got, which in the military is always the worst thing you can do - come up with lost money. I didn't lose any money. ... ... ... I get home, I get promoted, I get my children in school and all this kind of thing.
INTERVIEWER: How much money did you give him?
COL. WIMERT: 250 thousand,
INTERVIEWER: But you didn't give each general 250,000 did you, how much money you gave to each general and how you got it back.
COL. WIMERT: Eichman, I can't remember.... but I still had
INTERVIEWER: Can you just sit up a little bit please, you told me it was $50,000 you thought you gave them $50,000 each.
COL. WIMERT: .... ... .... ... and you didn't get much sleep you were worrying about this and that, you kept things exact.. ....
INTERVIEWER: But you went to get the money back off the two generals and just talk me through again what happened when you got to his house?
COL. WIMERT: Well he was ... ... ... and he was .. " I want the money back, I gotta use it" and he kind of smiled and said "no the money's mine now" and I had to beat the hell out of him and took the money and left.
INTERVIEWER: And then how did you get the money back to Washington.
COL. WIMERT: Through Henry Heschler.