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New Information on the Murders
of U.S. Citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi by the
Chilean Military
Photograph from the film The Battle of Chile (First Run/Icarus Films)

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 33

Published – June 30, 2000

Peter Kornbluh, Project Director – 202/994-7029
Rafael Cohen, Research Assistant – 202/994-7000
with editorial assistance by Michael Evans

For more information contact:
202/994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

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Washington, D.C., June 30, 2000 – On Friday, June 30, 2000, the U.S. government released hundreds of formerly secret CIA, Defense, State, Justice Deparment, and National Security Council records relating to the deaths of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, both of whom were killed by the Chilean military in the days following the 1973 coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.  The murders of Horman and Teruggi were later dramatized in the 1982 film Missing.  Documents on another American, Boris Weisfiler, who disappeared in Chile in 1985, were also released.

Below, the National Security Archive has selected ten documents for inclusion in this Electronic Briefing Book.



Document 1:  Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Frank Teruggi," December 14, 1972
Among the hundreds of newly-released records is an FBI report from late-1972 on Teruggi's attendance of a conference of the Committee of Returned [Peace Corp] Volunteers in 1971, and his membership in the "Chicago Area Group on the Liberation of the Americas."  This document makes it clear that Teruggi was, at a minimum, under surveillance while in the United States and raises the question as to whether or not this information was shared with the Chilean military.

Document 2:  U.S. Embassy Santiago, "[Deleted] Reports on GOC [Government of Chile] Involvement in Death of Charles Horman, Asks Embassy for Asylum and Aid," April 28, 1987
Nearly fourteen years after the coup, an informant seeking political asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Chile offers an account of Horman's death.  Horman was picked up in a routine sweep, the informant suggests, and was found in possession of "extremist" materials.  He was then taken the National Stadium where he was interrogated and later executed on the orders of Pedro Espinoza.  Embassy officials note that his story "corresponds with what we know about the case and the [Chilean government] attempt to cover up their involvement," suggesting that the informant is probably telling the truth.

Document 3:  U.S. Department of State to Embassy Santiago, "[Deleted] Reports on Death of Charles Horman," May 14, 1987
In response to the embassy's previous cable (Document 2), Michael Armacost, the under secretary of state for political affairs, questions the credibility of the informant who provided the account of Horman's death.  Even if the new information proves to be accurate, Armacost sees no new prosecutorial advantage in the new information.  Nevertheless, the State Deparment maintains a "fundamental interest" in investigating the deaths of American citizens abroad and "would consider it a very serious matter if senior [Chilean government] officials had been aware of the circumstances of Horman's death and attempted to conceal this information from the [U.S. government] and Horman's family."  Armacost directs that the informant be interviewed by State Department officials stationed in Uruguay to determine his credibility.

CIA Records
The following seven documents represent the totality of the CIA’s contribution to the declassification of records specifically related to the murder of Charles Horman. All the documents are from the CIA liaison office in Washington, D.C., and the release includes no documents from the CIA station in Chile.  All of the documents that have been released have been heavily redacted.

Document 4:  CIA, "Meeting with Representative Dante B. Fascell (D., Fla.) Regarding H.R. 6689 and Chilean Colonel Raphael Gonzales," July 15, 1977

Document 5:  CIA, Letter from Asst. General Counsel to Asst. Legal Adviser for Management, Department of State, K.E. Malmborg, "Re: Horman et al. v. Kissinger et al., U.S.D.C., D.C., Civil Action No. 77-1748," February 8, 1978

Document 6:  CIA, "Addendum to Journal, Office of Legislative Counsel," October 7, 1977

Document 7:  CIA, Memorandum from Asst. General Counsel to [Deleted] O/SA/DO, "Re: Horman v. U.S.," November 15, 1977

Document 8:  CIA, Letter from Asst. General Counsel to Steven S. Cowen, Asst. U.S. Attornet, Department of Justice, "Re: Horman v. Kissinger et al., U.S.D.C., D.C., Civil Action No. 77-1748," January 16, 1978

Document 9:  CIA, "Briefing Note on Horman Case," August 1, 1979

Document 10:  CIA, Memorandum for [Deleted] from [Deleted], "Subpoena of Agency Records, Horman et al. v. Kissinger et al.," November 5, 1979


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