Hopkins Papers: Telegram

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Marshal Stalin 1

most secret

President and Prime Minister to Marshal Stalin. Most Secret and Personal.2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To turn to another subject, following on the decisions at Trident , His Majesty’s Government entered upon negotiations with the Portuguese in order to obtain naval and Air facilities in Lifebelt (see our immediately following telegram3). Accordingly, His Majesty’s Ambassador at Lisbon4 invoked the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, which has lasted 600 years unbroken,5 and invited the Portuguese to grant the said facilities. Dr. Salazar was of course oppressed by the fear of German bombing out of revenge, and of possible hostile movements by the Spaniards. We have accordingly furnished him with supplies of anti-aircraft artillery and fighter airplanes which are now in transit, and we have also informed Dr. Salazar that should Spain attack Portugal we shall immediately declare war on Spain and render [Page 1092] such help as is in our power. We have not however made any precise military convention ear-marking particular troops as we do not think either of these contingencies probable. Dr. Salazar has now consented to the use of Lifebelt by the British, with Portuguese collaboration, in the early part of October.6 As soon as we are established there and he is relieved from his anxieties, we shall press for the extension of these facilities to the United States ships and aircraft.
The possession of Lifebelt is of great importance to the sea war. The U–boats have quitted the North Atlantic, where convoys have been running without loss since the middle of May, and have concentrated more on the southern route. The use of Lifebelt will be of the utmost service in attacking them from the Air. Besides this, there if [is] the ferrying of United States heavy bombers to Europe and Africa, which is also most desirable.
All of the above is of the most especially secret operational character.
  1. Sent to the War Cabinet Office in London as Churchill’s telegram No. Welfare 217 and forwarded to the British Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Clark Kerr). Concerning the delivery of this message in Moscow, see ante, p. 1062, fn. 1.
  2. For the paragraphs of this message omitted here, see ante, p. 1062.
  3. In telegram No. Welfare 218 (ante, p. 1063) it was explained that this code name “refers to Portuguese Atlantic islands.”
  4. Sir Ronald Hugh Campbell.
  5. See ante, p. 611, fn. 3.
  6. See ante, p. 614, fn. 2.