811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1471: Telegram

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

1162. In the course of my long conversation this afternoon with Dr. Salazar, he on his own initiative made mention of wolfram, terming it a cursed question which plagued him. He purported to have only just realized that the British and American Governments were expecting him to make a response other than the wholly negative one contained in his letter to Prime Minister Churchill. He maintained his realization arose out of a remark which the British Ambassador had made to a Foreign Office official this morning, Campbell having talked with me prior to his call at the Foreign Office.

Salazar said that he had not begun to negotiate with the Germans, that he had, despite their insistence, refused to do so as yet and that no “new wolfram” was now moving out of Portugal to Germany. However, he firmly maintained that a permanent embargo on wolfram exports to Germany was out of the question but that he was prepared to make a “reduction sensible” in proportion to the reductions which he claimed had occurred during the past 2 years.

Needless to say, I again reiterated the importance which we attach to this question and its relation to the duration of the war and I held out no hope whatsoever that any such proposal as he envisaged would prove acceptable.

Repeated to London as 165 and Madrid as 92.