840.48 Refugees/4079: Telegram

The Chargé in Portugal (Crocker) to the Secretary of State

Following telegram has been sent to Algiers:

144, July 27, 5 p.m. Legation’s 114, to Madrid, July 22, Refugees.

We have learned that arrangements are in progress looking toward the shipment of 1500 refugees via Portugal on August 1, and that vessels have been allocated therefor.
The Legation cannot sufficiently emphasize that should word of such contemplated arrangements reach the ears of the Portuguese Government before a new agreement has been reached in principle with respect to the question of the transit through and embarkation in Portugal of such refugees it would constitute a serious hindrance to the conclusion of such an agreement.
Despite the opinion apparently held elsewhere that the Portuguese may be attempting to link the question of French refugees to that of phosphates we are loath to believe and do not believe that Salazar has any such connection in mind. Our considered belief is (and this view is supported by the British Embassy here and by Clarac) that the Portuguese Government in some manner had become disgruntled over the way in which the refugee shipments were being handled and that either the groups were becoming too large or that sufficient advance notice was not being given them the result being in their eyes that they were being constantly confronted with a series of faits accomplis and that the granting of group visas had become merely a pro form of [pro forma or?] rubber stamp performance.
The negotiations for a new agreement will have to be handled delicately and with due respect for the sensibilities of the Portuguese. We urge therefore that the Legation be not hampered in its efforts by any premature action elsewhere or by undue pressure for haste. The British Ambassador is calling upon the Foreign Office this afternoon and is supporting our representations.
We are following this question with the utmost care.98a

Repeated to Department and Madrid.

  1. In despatch No. 1200, July 29, the Chargé enclosed a translation of a Portuguese note of July 27 and reported that “an agreement has now been reached with the Portuguese Government which will permit the resumption of the transit through and embarkation in Portugal of French refugees arriving from Spain” (840.48 Refugees/4118).