Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Theodore C. Achilles of the Division of European Affairs

Participants: Dr. Bianchi, Minister of Portugal.
Mr. Sayre.
Mr. Achilles.

Mr. Sayre had requested the Minister to call in order to remove any possible misunderstanding in view of the statement in despatch No. 468 from Lisbon to the effect that Dr. Bianchi “had reported that the Department was willing to send an officer to Lisbon to assist in formulating a commercial treaty with Portugal”. Mr. Sayre made clear that no decision on this matter had been taken, that the Trade Agreements Committee had not yet been able to consider the report [Page 666] of the Sub-committee on Portugal in view of its absorption with the British and Canadian Trade Agreements,11 that it was hoped that the Trade Agreements Committee would, in the near future, have an opportunity to consider a possible trade agreement with Portugal, that if the Trade Agreements Committee recommended proceeding with the negotiation of such an agreement a decision would then be taken on whether or not to send an officer to Lisbon for preliminary conversations with the Portuguese officials.

The Minister explained that, upon receipt of instructions from his Foreign Office to ask the Department to send an officer to Lisbon for that purpose, he had telegraphed that he had made an appointment with Mr. Sayre for October 12 and would discuss the matter with him on that date, and that after talking to the Secretary a few days later he had advised his Foreign Office that he believed the Department to be favorably disposed toward the Portuguese request and that it would shortly make a definite reply. He stated that he fully understood the Department’s position.

Mr. Sayre emphasized that he wished to avoid any impression in Lisbon that the Department had agreed to send someone there and had subsequently lost interest, and that a decision would be reached as soon as possible. He requested the Minister to make the situation clear to his Foreign Office.

  1. See pp. 1 ff. and pp. 164 ff.