740.00116 E.W./8–3044: Telegram

The Ambassador in Portugal ( Norweb ) to the Secretary of State

2677. I took the opportunity afforded by my conversation yesterday with Salazar to speak to him about the matter presented in the Department’s 2317 of August 23, 7 p.m.12 In discussion of this subject Salazar was … as unresponsive … as I have ever seen him (my British colleague had already in a somewhat offhand fashion spoken about “war criminals” with Sampayo.13 ReEmbs 263 [2639] of August 26, 3 p.m.).

Salazar wanted to know our definition of war criminals (is there not, he asked, a multilateral convention defining them?). I observed that the public statements and policies of the American and British Governments are clear on this point.
Salazar continued that “war criminals” should be handled on a juridical” basis (he has asked what about [garbled group]). He was silent upon my observation that juridical forms could not very well be applied to war criminals granted asylum in a neutral country and that there are other considerations such as public opinion which had to be taken into account.

My impression is that Salazar will be inclined to refuse to open the door to fugitive enemy personages who knock; but may be expected to apply his own standards to those who may crash or sneak through the window.

This question of war criminals came at the end of our discussion and in no way affected the main purpose of my visit.

  1. See footnote 2, p. 1410.
  2. In his telegram 2703, September 1, 1944, 5 p.m., the Ambassador reported that the British Ambassador had now received instructions to convey an appropriate warning to the Portuguese against the granting of asylum to war criminals (740.00116 EW/9–144).