William Cummings, "New York Times Reactions to the
Election of Salvador Allende"

3

acknowledged that it "might even bring on a military coup, something unheard of in Chile for forty years and an event that might create a worse crisis than an Allende administration."7 Finally, the editorial praised the fact that "the Nixon Administration has emphatically-and wisely-ruled out any intervention," and concluded, "only the Chileans can walk this political tightrope."8

This editorial establishes a pattern found in the majority of opinion pieces on Allende. First, it describes him as a real and serious threat to U.S. security, highlighting his connections to Fidel Castro and his commitment to Marxism. Second, the horrible consequences of his victory are assumed; Chilean democracy will end, U.S. business will be expropriated, the economy will collapse, and a coup, however unfortunate, may be inevitable. Third, the Nixon Administration is applauded for its apparent commitment to non-intervention and cautioned against a change in that policy. Not all three of these themes are necessarily present in every editorial, but every editorial stresses at least one of these themes.

For example, two days after Allende won the presidency on September 4, 1970, the New York Times editorialized, "there is no point in trying to minimize the importance of what has happened in Chile." Which was that Allende won "without soft-pedaling the Marxist revolutionary program he hopes to carry out." Such an outcome "is a heavy blow at liberal democracy" and "may mark the demise of the ailing Alliance for Progress."9 However, the editors added, "All the United States can do in this situation is to keep hands off, behave correctly and hope for the best…The Monroe Doctrine has no


7. Ibid. Emphasis added.
8. Ibid.
9. "Marxist Victory in Chile," New York Times, September 6, 1970, 4:10.
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