The British Embassy to the Department of State
On June 29th Mr. Eden handed to Mr. Winant a message from the Prime Minister for the President informing him of the progress then made in connection with the British request to the Portuguese for facilities, and in particular of Dr. Salazar’s stipulation that in no circumstances could he agree to admit forces other than British, except [Page 614] perhaps in the event of Portugal becoming fully involved in the war. In this message the hope was expressed that since the approach to the Portuguese Government was being made on the basis of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, the President would agree that His Majesty’s Government should conclude an agreement with Portugal on the lines desired by Dr. Salazar. It was added that at a later stage it ought to be possible to secure Portuguese assent to the use of the facilities by other United Nations forces.
Copies of a message from the British Chiefs of Staff to the United States Chiefs of Staff of the 31st July, and of a reply from the latter of the 4th August are enclosed.
His Majesty’s Ambassador at Lisbon1 has now reported that to raise the request of the American Chiefs of Staff with Dr. Salazar at the present crucial stage in the negotiations would risk undoing all the progress made, and the complete failure of the negotiations, at a moment when it is hoped that the agreement is on the point of signature.2 His Majesty’s Government do not therefore feel able to press the matter at present but assure the United States Government that immediately they begin to enjoy the facilities granted by the Portuguese Government they will make every endeavour to extend the benefit of them to the United States, as the American Chiefs of Staff have already been informed by the British Chiefs of Staff.
At the same time His Majesty’s Government have instructed His Majesty’s Ambassador at Lisbon to confine any written references to assurances concerning the Portuguese Colonies to those given by His Majesty’s Governments in the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa and the Commonwealth of Australia, omitting references to the United States, in case the United States Government wishes to link any assurance from it about the future of the Portuguese Colonies with the grant of the facilities desired for the United States forces. If Dr. Salazar reverts to the question of the United States, His Majesty’s Ambassador at Lisbon has been instructed to say that His Majesty’s Government understand that the United States Government is in fact willing to communicate to the Portuguese Government its agreement to respect Portuguese sovereignty in all Portuguese Colonies but that this matter is still under discussion between United [Page 615] States Government and His Majesty’s Government. None the less, His Majesty’s Government believe that an early communication from the United States Government to the Portuguese Government in respect of Portuguese sovereignty in all Portuguese Colonies might make it easier to obtain the Portuguese agreement now, and also in the future the facilities which the United States Government requires.
- Sir Ronald Hugh Campbell.↩
- The agreement had in fact been signed at Lisbon on August 17, 1943. For text, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxlvi, p. 447; Documentos relativos aos acordos entre Portugal, Inglaterra c Estados Unidos da América para a conoessão de facilidades nos Açores durante a guerra de 1939–19J/5 (Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional de Lisboa, 1946), p. 19.↩