Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on Political Relations (Dunn)
The Portuguese Minister came in this morning and gave me the sense of a telegram he had received from his Government with further reference to the second note from his Government which he had handed to Mr. Welles on June 13, 1941.
Mr. Bianchi stated that he had reported to Lisbon the conversation he had with Mr. Welles on that day, and his Government had now telegraphed him to say that if he had given the impression that a reply was expected to this second note, he was instructed to correct that impression. He said that the telegram from his Government went on to say that in view of the fact that our reply to their first note was published so suddenly and had been so generally disapproved by the Portuguese public and the Portuguese press, his Government felt that it was necessary further to explain their position to this Government. They wished it distinctly to be understood, however, that they had not intended that this second note should be considered as requiring any reply on our part.
The Minister himself stated that he entirely agreed with the position of his Government in this respect and he was only sorry that his Government had not made it clear that they had not expected a reply to this second note, as, in that event, he would have been enabled so to state when he left the note at the Department. He also stated that he felt it was entirely advisable for the discussion of the question of any possible action with regard to the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic to be terminated without further extension of correspondence on the subject.
I told the Minister that I felt this would be entirely satisfactory to this Government, as I had not, myself, seen how it would be possible to frame any reply to the second note of the Portuguese Government which would contain any more than a repetition of the statements contained in our first reply.