In 1937, President Arturo Alessandri Palma appointed him as Employment minister.
According to CIA documents released by National Security Archive, in 1975 in Madrid, Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie met with DINA agent Michael Townley and Cuban Virgilio Paz Romero to prepare, with the help of Francisco Franco's secret police, the murder of Bernardo Leighton. On October 5, 1975 he and his wife were severely injured by gunshots while in exile in Rome.
In 1978, the Chilean government allowed him to return from Italy. He died on January 26, 1995.
- "Chile to Allow a Top Politician To Return From Exile in Italy". New York Times. 1978-05-14.
- Carta de Eduardo Frei Montalva a Bernardo Leighton May 22, 1975
- Carta de Bernardo Leighton a Eduardo Frei Montalva June 26, 1975
- "La Tercera" biography
- National Security Archive
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