E. Howard Negroponte,
INTERVIEWER: Do you think America had much to do with the final removal of Allende?
COL. WIMERT: No, no I really don't. Pinochet ....he wouldn't have given a damn whether the Untied States liked it or not - he would have done it. There was no worry about him and a thing like that - he was too firm. They had these secret meetings in the War College where they laid out the plans and I was able to hold of one of the plans....
INTERVIEWER: And how long do you think it took them to get organized?
COL. WIMERT: Afterwards?
INTERVIEWER: No before.
COL. WIMERT: Oh a year or more at least, because they had these secret meetings and they worked hard writing up the plans and I was able to get a hold of one of the plans and .. ... .. .. .. ... we had people like that in the Pentagon you have a program of ABCD period. And they .. .. its a simple way, simple way they did things. ... other countries in Latin America we would have Latin ... ...
INTERVIEWER: Even in the time that you were active.
COL. WIMERT: Oh yeah
INTERVIEWER: When you wactive, we'll just wait for it to keep ringing wait till it gets picked up. Right, when you were active as military attaché down there, where whether and there was a fear and the secret plans of moving against Allende did had you done anything quite as unsavory as that in your career or do you think that was soof about as low as it got?
COL. WIMERT: No Yeah. I liked Schneider, Schneider was a good friend, I hated seeing him shot. And there were some others that disappeared they got mixed up with the, and I felt sorry for those people and I felt sorry for the farmers in Salou area, that Allende took these farms away from them and the Allendians just flooded into them and took those lovely, lovely big farm house and made cow stalls out of them and this one here you see I was there and watched them. And they would come into this one friend of ours had some 400 dairy cattle that milks every day. It was a big ... .. and they took the cows away, they made ... moved the milk around and it always agricultural fear of taking the land was very much so.
INTERVIEWER: And then there were other things, nationalization programs, copper nationalization
COL. WIMERT: First thing that got nationalized was ... feeds
INTERVIEWER: Say again
COL. WIMERT: Frito Feeds American Dog food, that was the first thing he did he nationalized when he took over.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think American business had a lot to do with opposition to him?
COL. WIMERT: Well the there was a family had a little money and had a newspaper [Edwards], Edwards. Edwards family could have done a lot more than what they did, but they ran. And in the end the ... the families who had been in there for years and had the factories and they were ... put them in jail second day. That was by the same selling some cigarettes. And he got out .. ... ... ... . So they left all these things and he could have left without leadership.
INTERVIEWER: But were you aware of how much money the American government was giving to newspapers and various businesses?
COL. WIMERT: No, it had all been from CIA.
INTERVIEWER: But the CIA wouldn't be telling you about all the things they were doing.
COL. WIMERT: No, no absolutely not.
INTERVIEWER: But what was your relationship with the CIA, how did you work?
COL. WIMERT: It was through Henry Hechsler. Henry had ... .. he was a sensible old intelligence German. Born in Germany and on Eisenhower's staff as interpreter and he got into the CIA way back in the early days, died in the wool type. He would go to the movies and take his briefcase with him. And he would chain his, handcuff his suitcase to his leg when he went to the movies. When he would go to sleep forget it. I said ... ... ... . But no, American business was scared to death and the price of copper of course wasn't that high at that time, .. .. ... ...>
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about you know I just wanna get some statements that you have already told me about, but the money that you kept in your riding boots to what, how much did you keep, did you keep it in the car as well as the closet and how did you move it about?
COL. WIMERT: You know at night when I would go up to the bedroom, it was a tremendous big house and try at the back hill, walk in place and I used to get what I needed out of there would give it to him and I would put it back in.
INTERVIEWER: So you did, you never left it in the car?
COL. WIMERT: Oh no, I kept it in the house.
INTERVIEWER: And, and to what extent did, so there were very few people that knew you were handling the money and there was a lot of money and you once said to me that you couldn't tell me how much money it ever was in total, but it was a lot of money.
COL. WIMERT: Yeah I think it was $250,000, I think that's what it was.
INTERVIEWER: Because in those days that was a fortune. A fortune in those days, I presume it was in, was it in $100 bills or smaller bills.
COL. WIMERT: Yeah it was, mostly 100-dollar bills and 50s and there were some in there were tens and twenties. But ... .. ...
INTERVIEWER: And did you think that was a dirty business?
COL. WIMERT: Dirty, dirty business, filthy. I was ashamed of myself. I'd hate to look in the mirror and shave.
INTERVIEWER: But you got over it.
COL. WIMERT: Well,
INTERVIEWER: When you were thinking about it in terms of, this was a big conflict, because lets remember our theme is the Cold War and you were a part of that, you fought the cold war, the same as you fought the second world war, but when you were in Chile doing this business, did you, were you aware that it was about to be big cold war, left against right, America against Cuba and Soviets or did you think it was just a Chilean problem?
COL. WIMERT: No, Chile, it was I knew it was a big thing. I knew that, the people that were coming ... with influence and ... ... and for a while the Japanese got very strong and then the general in the United States told me, well we're going to put a lot of money in here, but they had ... ... ... just trying to figure it out for a while.
INTERVIEWER: But the States had big investments in Chile before Allende and that was part of the fear that a. they would lose those, but there was a bigger fear about communists making inroads to the mainland. How was that communicated to you, or did it not need to be?
COL. WIMERT: Well it raised it in a almost ... ... ... ...
INTERVIEWER: Say that again sorry.
COL. WIMERT: Well it raised me in a via osmosis sort of .. ... .. . And you would see things, people talking about this and that, and you see we played the game I rode on the Chilean military team, I rode with them. ... .. .international championship, my daughter rode with them, we never ... .. we went to big old parties, we went to the dances the Americans had, we went strictly with the country we were in, and ... .... So we had a pretty good idea of what was going on.
INTERVIEWER: And did the Chilean upper classes know what was going on.
COL. WIMERT: Yeah but they were too damned dumb to really understand how serious it was most of them. Edwards family understood but didn't wanna believe what they understood and some of the others they just didn't have the guts, the balls enough to really understand what was really happening in Chile and throughout the world.
INTERVIEWER: Well when did you, when did the Cubans start getting their influence and I guess there was some Soviet stuff that never as much as the Cubans. What was the reaction via the Embassy and what was the state department saying?
COL. WIMERT: Well they got excited but they were great talkers they didn't do anything about it. One of the things that was clever old Henry Hecksler of the CIA pulled the Russian Ambassador. He was quite a sharp fella, and he was causing a lot of trouble, so the CIA, Henry Hecksler and I went into the poor section of the city and passed out these passes that said on a certain day at an area that turned out to be the Russian Embassy - we would be there paying $50 escudos for every dog or cat they brought in. And that really worked, because these people borrowed the money from taxi cabs to take them down there - because they didn't have the money to do it - saying ' look I'm gonna get so much money for my dog, I'll pay you then.' And the whole front of the Russian embassy was full of dogs and cats and mad Chileans because . The Ambassador came out - said ' get 'em out of here call the police - drive them away. And that really made them mad. So little things like that - probing - kept them on the ball.
INTERVIEWER: that's an unusual gambit for a cold war man.
COL. WIMERT: Yeah, it worked.
INTERVIEWER: What did he do? What happened?
COL. WIMERT: Well they all got mad, because the Russians weren't going to pay them anything for these dollars in cash and they got mad at the Russians for that. And then the celebration at one of these American embassy .. .. ... celebrations at the Russian embassy since D-day. At the end of the cold war, at the end of the physical war. And in bashing out a cable, Washington saying it at that time two army officers had .. over the border in the Russzone and were being held captive. And we were told to have no contact with the Chilean government until this thing is cleared up, so that .. our plans, so ... ... he says "Paul" he says "you know the people to invite, why don't you go represent me at this party tonight with the Russians" and he says "really live it up" so I put on my blue uniform that used to be my fathers, and a white silk handkerchief , blackened my moustache and eyebrows .. boots and britches ... a riding crop and a big heavy cape, and I arrived at the Russian Embassy and they didn't know who in the hell it was, they kept on through the books and .... who the people were "no it's not him" and of course .. all flocks around and we really upset the Russians ... and there was a rumor that it was all boarded up and I told ... .. . I said "ready?" and he gets locked up here in Chile ... ... .. "don't you wanna see anything that goes on in your country?" he had a brand new one, it was all radio equipment and they all got mad about that. But we did little things that maybe stifled those things for a short time, but not for, for long.