740.0011 E.W. 1939/17688: Telegram

The Minister in Portugal (Fish) to the Secretary of State

753. Strictly confidential for the Secretary.

Department’s No. 856, December 17, 10 p.m. Sampayo, Secretary General of Foreign Office whom I saw this afternoon, informed that Portuguese Government had received no information from Germany, France or Spain regarding movement of German troops or others which would alter in any way the situation in Spain. He emphasized moreover that during the past week Ambassador Franco, brother of the General, had been in Madrid and that he had seen Salazar upon his return when he had informed him in accordance with terms of the treaty between the two countries that there had been no change in Spain nor was any contemplated.

To my inquiry regarding present Portuguese policy he stated emphatically that there had been no alteration in any way in Salazar’s policy of strict neutrality and that it was his fervent hope that Portugal could maintain it.

He made both these assurances with very evident sincerity and from my knowledge of him I do not think he would attempt to deceive me. Among the people generally there continue to circulate disquieting rumors regarding Spain, some of which have reached the international press. My British and Dutch colleagues state that they have been informed that the tension is less in Madrid and they feel that if Germany has attempted any pressure Franco has been successful.