811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1031: Telegram

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

963. Your 1132, May 22, 5 p.m. and the Department’s 879, May 19, 2 p.m.

The Department and Board of Economic Warfare agree with the recommendation that we should avoid at this time prolonged negotiations with Dr. Salazar. We also agree that the specific supplies which can be provided from the U.S. and the U.K. should be decided and thereafter a new supply-purchase program should be presented to the Portuguese on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Prior to these negotiations, however, it is necessary first to ascertain the precise nature of the wolfram commitment he has entered into with the Germans in order to establish what are the “leavings” available for us.
British Embassy here has informed the Department that Dr. Salazar is prepared to grant the British and ourselves 50 percent of the free wolfram for the interim period March 1, 1943 to June 30, 1943 with the reservation that the division after the latter date is subject to our general trade interchange arrangements. The Department and Board of Economic Warfare have reluctantly decided to accept this proposal.
Assuming your British colleague receives parallel instructions, you are therefore requested to call on Dr. Salazar with your British colleague and notify him of this Government’s acceptance of the foregoing offer for the interim period. At the same time you should take the occasion to record with Dr. Salazar this Government’s disappointment over his conclusion of a new wolfram agreement with the Germans without prior consultation with us. You should also seek precise information as to the terms of the Portuguese-German wolfram agreement, pointing out that in the framing of any supply-purchase agreement to succeed the current program, it is obviously necessary to know to what extent he has already tied his hands on the commodity to which we attach preeminent importance.