851R.01/588: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal ( Fish )55

937. The First Secretary of the Portuguese Legation called on May 21 under instructions from his Government to urge the early resumption of commercial exchanges between Portugal and French North Africa and particularly immediate authorization for Portugal to obtain phosphates. Recognizing the connection of this question with that of representation of the North African regime in Lisbon, he said that his Government, while maintaining diplomatic relations with Vichy, [Page 48] was quite prepared to consider the possibility of receiving in Lisbon a representative of the North African regime who would be authorized to concern himself not only with commercial matters but also with visas, refugees and related questions. He added, as you indicated in your number 1114, May 20,56 that, the Portuguese Consul General in Rabat had been instructed to proceed to Algiers to negotiate on these points.

The First Secretary was informed that, in addition to military considerations, the lack of accepted representation of the North African regime in Lisbon had undoubtedly been one of the factors which had delayed the resumption of commercial exchanges. He was told that the expression of his Government’s willingness to accept such representation would presumably facilitate the opening of commercial negotiations concerning which our representatives have for some time been conferring with the French in Algiers and that it was our understanding that a token shipment of 10,000 tons of phosphates to Portugal would be authorized without awaiting the commencement of negotiations.

  1. The same to the Consul General at Algiers as No. 1012, to the Ambassador in Spain as No. 1208, and to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom as No. 3349.
  2. Not printed.