811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1450: Telegram

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

822. The apprehensions set forth in Legation’s 742 March 8 unfortunately seem to have been fully justified.

American and British secret sources have reliable evidence to the effect that about 100 tons of wolfram have been exported to Germany from Portugal by train since February 29. Furthermore the British Minister in another interview with the Secretary General of the Foreign Office was, in a strange and halting way, given to understand that [Page 98] Salazar and the Germans were in controversial discussion as to how much more wolfram the Germans should get under their expired agreement. The implication was clear that the contention centered about quantity—though the Department will recall that in previous conversations Salazar made much of the decline in the amount of German wolfram acquisitions and that the German-Portuguese agreement does not guarantee the making available of any specific amount but merely the issuance of export licenses up to 2100 tons. No doubt Germans are basing their complaint on the small offtake from the neutral pool which their absorption and our absorption in mobilization and other operations have reduced to insignificant proportions.

This action by way of reply to the American and British Governments’ request for cessation of exports of wolfram pending the conclusion of a negotiated agreement must be countered and I believe in accordance with the recommendations made in my 71, January 10, in the matter of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance.

This telegram is being repeated to London with request it supply the Legation with details it has regarding the instructions given the British Ambassador who is scheduled to arrive in Lisbon tomorrow night.

Sent Department, repeated London as 116, Madrid as 71.

Norweb