“Let me be clear: The United States government has no interest in running GM,” President Obama said just three weeks ago. He continued: “We have no intention of running GM.”

But what about Chrysler?

In a letter to employees released late last night, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli stated that, under the evolving terms of the company’s deal with the government, “a board of directors for Chrysler will be appointed by the U.S. government and Fiat.” This board, he explained, will appoint its chairman and “select a CEO” and other executive officers of the company.

In other words, all of Chrysler’s decisionmakers will be government appointees. The government will, in effect, run Chrysler. This would be de facto nationalization of the smallest, and least significant, of the Big Three.

“The majority of the directors will be independent,” Nardelli assures us, but that just means they won’t be employees of Chrysler or Fiat. Independent from the federal government and politics? Not so much.