E. Howard Negroponte,
INTERVIEWER: How did you do that?
COL. WIMERT: Throughout the CIA it was their problem I don't know.
INTERVIEWER: So tell me about what you know
COL. WIMERT: I gave the CIA everything. I gave them the money, I took the 12 grease guns that had the serial numbers filed off, the ammunition, the tear gas ,the gas masks - went to Valparaiso, which is supposed to be the deepest harbor in that part of the world and I dumped it all into there.
INTERVIEWER: So how did you feel when this plan had gone wrong?
COL. WIMERT: Like a damn fool, because it was simply screwed up to start with and why I let myself get into it I really couldn't figure out, because it wasn't run with brains. It wasn't ... it was like something ... ... at 4o'clock in Washington decided to do something and then they change their mind or something. There was never any real hard firm mathematics set up to do it.
INTERVIEWER: Are you saying it was sort of like a knee jerk nervous reaction from a president that was so frightened or fearful of communism like Nixon had a big track record on that, but did you notice that when that administration came in, Nixon Kissinger that the and the dangers of Allende coming in to power in Chile that there was a bit more needle as we say in English, or a bit more nervous reaction from the State Department?
COL. WIMERT: Well I think all of a sudden they realized that they had really screwed up and they lost the country.
INTERVIEWER: But can you expand on that in that, how had they done that, how had they screwed up? I mean...
COL. WIMERT: Well ... ... .... ... had been an... man .... ... I don't want to ... Washington unless you get it first. .. .... ... communication system, CIA communication system and he said no it was, he was just wasting his time, he operated all the time on the pretense that it really didn't exist.
INTERVIEWER: So the plan to kidnap Schneider whose plan was that? Just start again.
COL. WIMERT: It was the, and came in from a Chilean naval captain whose mother and father were both American and.. Reagan so but I can't remember his name, but he is the one who had the initial ideas and he worked for Admiral, who died recently,
COL. WIMERT: That's right, Merino
INTERVIEWER: Start again. Start the statement again, start like there was this Chilean naval
COL. WIMERT: There was this Captain who was there because Admiral .. .. ... . And he was reported, he considered reporting to the navy what was going on our part and they were all set for it, but and then the air force, the air force sent General Eichman and he was very much for the same thing, he came to the meetings I had oh and General Carbonaras he was the best ... man. He was he knew the best ........................................................... and he told me personally that he just couldn't go against Schneider.
INTERVIEWER: So what was your thought that if the kidnap of Schneider had been successful what was gonna happen?
COL. WIMERT: it was 3 months ... ... commanding army and what happened?
INTERVIEWER: Well wasn't there a plan that if Schneider was kidnapped there would be this coup within the army ranks to prevent the election in the congress, just tell me that.
COL. WIMERT: ... .. Schneider.... .... ............. and all the officers ..............................talk to me. Only one officer............. and he came up to me one day in this military academy and said "I'm still for you" He said " I want you to know we'll ......................."
.......... He said here and he gave me $700 ....................... Well I started answering .......... I said "oh no no no" He said " you don't understand he says " I love my country I do this for my country not because of the United States, you keep the money I don't want it." That was almost typical of most of the Chilean officers.
INTERVIEWER: Were they political at that time?
COL. WIMERT: Very much so.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of political were they describe them.
COL. WIMERT: Fear
INTERVIEWER: Fear of what?
COL. WIMERT: Fear of ... people accusing them of something and of being arrested and put in jail or something of that nature.
INTERVIEWER: Did you have evidence of Cuban involvement before he got elected?
COL. WIMERT: Who
INTERVIEWER: Did you have evidence of Cuban involvement with Allende before his election?
COL. WIMERT: No
INTERVIEWER: What did you think Allende was going to turn Chile into?
COL. WIMERT: Well he took all the gold out of the banks, I think Allende was almost ... like a puppet I mean he had .. control. The military feared .... there were ... from other countries in the world, .... ... a lot of people .. .. at that time. The Japanese were coming in with businesses and.... all made a lot of money.
INTERVIEWER: But the what about the Cubans and the Soviets do you think that was a threat?
COL. WIMERT: Who?
INTERVIEWER: THE CUBANS AND THE SOVIETS WAS THAT A THREAT THERE?
COL. WIMERT: Yeah the Cubans were always a threat because " they're doers, they're not talkers" They're action not tawith them. Really tough. .
INTERVIEWER: We'll have a little rest there we have a change of tape.
INTERVIEWER: This is roll 10838 a continuation of the interview with Colonel Paul Wimert. Colonel
COL. WIMERT: .... ... a pin here about Pinochet, Pinochet was definitely a type you see as German background. Tall, "winnie" grayish hair, and when I got to Chile he was the chief of operations for the military college. Which has a very high ranking Latin America, and he wrote a book on travel and roadways of Chile which had the railroads and lanes of shipping and .... .... wonderful, wonderful book. And I wrote something on it, and we ended up we went to CIA old Henry Hecksler and he just had 100 copies made. And he gave it to me and Pinochet he was tickled to death and I used to kid him I would say "when you go to the States you won't be able to read your book because they've marked it confidential, you can't touch it." He ..... .... ... . So there was a side of it was good he had a certain depth about him that you really have to look for at times no matter how deep he was.
INTERVIEWER: What do you remember about him, how do you feel about what he did in September 73?
COL. WIMERT: I was gone.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah I know you were gone, but when you got the news how did you feel about all of that?
COL. WIMERT: I was, before I left there I wrote 3 reports on 3 generals and he was the third one I picked that would be the leader some day of the Chilean military . And that made me feel good that I hit that close.
INTERVIEWER: What was he like, what kind of an officer was he?
COL. WIMERT: Simply "German" wore glasses had a grayish moustache, big man 6 foot or more and he would like to criticize me at the parties in a German kind of way. I mean he was like other German countries Latin America. They know the United States is the best but they just hate to admit it. And they go back to World War 2 and ... .. and all that business and he was that type. And a very fair person. It was a major fox he got mixed up with ... ... ... coup and this business and he ... ... ... ... ... ... ... there was no tomorrow, he was very cut and dry. Bang that was it.
INTERVIEWER: They still call him the fox. In Santiago he is known as the fox.
COL. WIMERT: Well when you got the news that he had taken power and started cleaning up the country, how, what did you think about that?
INTERVIEWER: Well I felt sorry for him because he was going to have to get rough and a lot of stupid people in the United States were going around saying he was a dictator and he did this wrong, but the people he got rid of shot at the baseball the stadium were all bad people. I mean he was smart enough to know that if you were going to do it, you were going to do it a complete 100%...... you just can't go into it half-assed- excuse me - and do a little bit here and a little bit there. He went in with a lot of force and did it and straightened it out and also in a sense there was nobody in any communist station .... ... ... .... and also they were very, very careful about how ... ... buy something from the store you had to have a receipt to show it. And ... ... ... ... .. was labeled with the price on it before he went ... in a fancy suit .... ....
INTERVIEWER: Was he involved in the in the plot to get rid of Schneider?
COL. WIMERT: No. Oh no, no no, ... .. had to get rid of him. And he was a he was .. .. out of all the internal ... ... and that was the best place he could have been.
INTERVIEWER: So what did, do you remember what your how you felt when the Schneider kidnap went wrong.
COL. WIMERT: Well I was all, I was glad it had gone wrong. I say it again, I was ashamed of myself that I was dumb to get roped into something like that because it was stupid from the word go.
INTERVIEWER: Does it leave a bad taste in the mouth?
COL. WIMERT: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: How did you get over it?
COL. WIMERT: Well, I went to see the chaplain at Fort Myers .. ... .. Senator Diago to become a preacher. So .. .. preachers .. ... he said "no you wouldn't make a very good preacher you go home and start working with young people in the pony club and that will help make you feel better" and I did.
INTERVIEWER: And .. spillage here. CUT
INTERVIEWER: Colonel, after the Schneider murder, assassination or the plot that went wrong, and you had a difficult day with Cherie, to what extent did you think that Kissinger and Nixon in the White House had had big hands in what happened?
COL. WIMERT: No, it was the CIA was taking orders from them and that was arms so to speak, that was where the money came from,. They I always Kissinger's ... .. Hague that they just didn't ever want to hear the word Chile mentioned again.
INTERVIEWER: It was an obsession with them.
COL. WIMERT: Yeah,
INTERVIEWER: It was an obsession because of the fear of a left wing regime on the Latin American mainland or another Cuba or both?
COL. WIMERT: Well both and as fast as it, you know how dumb they were ... .. in the first place. They were backed up .. .. there wasn't enough homework done to make the thing go straight, you know .. brains, brains weren't in there some place.
INTERVIEWER: And then after then Allende had become President that the Agency started sending all kinds of people down to work, journalists to manipulate the business and the press I mean, was there a motive behind there apart from just the destabilization of the country or was it more serious?
COL. WIMERT: I think you might have thought it was serious but, ... ... ... to carry out either. The senators were all .. it was a mass exodus, people, all the brainy people, all the good people, all the smart people got out, and so they had a lot of people in ... .. cars sitting at the front seat driving them.
INTERVIEWER: But that's the Chileans, but when the Agency started sending a lot of other people down there, what was your opinion?
COL. WIMERT: I was ... ... ... I was just trying to get out.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah but before you went I think that ....
COL. WIMERT: They, you know these people were in a lot of key spots to hold down ... .. of the community, and it was a pity you couldn't get things done. You couldn't get permission you know, I had ... .. ship home and .. .. .. I had all kinds of problems getting these horses shipped out of Chile and finally I did it the Latin way, I went around with so much here, so much there and got on one airplane and that was it.
INTERVIEWER: But the difficulties that Chile then had after you had left went on and went on and got worse do you think, do you get the feeling about the fact that the military there could have acted before they did. Do you think they could have taken power before they did?
COL. WIMERT: No. No, because they weren't united. It's ... .. that said the troops .. .. out here are so much ... and the Commanderos have the power and the air force which really didn't have much at all, you know so the navy which ... .. .. ... So there was no real nucleus of power, with back up to be worried about and they were screwing themselves.