811.34553B/63: Telegram

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

210. The Department is taking up with London the question raised in paragraph 6 of Portuguese memorandum summarized your 222, January 24, 10 p.m.,34 with a view to obtaining from British Government [Page 11] clarification of postwar reversion to Portuguese Government of construction and improvements in Lagens. The Department feels this may be useful to you, especially as American aid to British will shortly make available at Lagens a very fine airport. The position with regard to projected additional field in Santa Maria has already been made entirely clear in this respect to Salazar, the Department understands. The Department understands moreover that if Salazar has a great interest in similarly developing Fayal we will be prepared to undertake a survey of possibilities there.

Of course you and Salazar understand that it is our thought that Panair will study not only the possibilities for additional airfields but make the survey for navigational aids, with which you are familiar, as well.

While Navy is not yet actually behind schedule respecting operational squadron for Lagens, the Seabees are well advanced with preparations on the spot and squadron has been specially organized and prepared and is in readiness to proceed at the end of this month.

The expense and effort already dedicated to this project were put forth on the basis of Salazar’s oral favorable assurances and we earnestly hope he will revert to his former view. From the end of the month we shall be behind schedule and this matter is therefore daily more urgent. The Department fully realizes your difficulties and is ready to support you in any way possible. If you have any suggestions as to useful steps that may be taken at this end please inform the Department at once.

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