811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1502: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Bucknell) to the Secretary of State

3918. From Riefler for Secretary, Under Secretary Acheson, Crowley69 and Stone70 only. Lord Drogheda71 asked me to see him this morning on Portugal. He stated his Government had agreed with our Government to demand a complete embargo on exports of wolfram from Portugal to the Axis. Since Salazar has now refused an embargo, a telegram was being prepared to be despatched to Washington at very high levels, suggesting that a compromise be accepted with Salazar similar to that arrived at in the case of Spain. I stated that should such a compromise be agreed it would mean, in essence, that we would have only a minor result for all our effort to eliminate Axis supplies of wolfram from Portugal and Spain, and that we would have failed in our main objective of achieving a result that would be decisive in its military effect. Lord Drogheda replied that there were some components of the American Government and some components of the British Government who felt very strongly on the subject of wolfram and held views similar to our own; but that other components of the British, and he imagined also of the American Government, simply did not see the matter in the same light. He went on that the soldiers particularly had failed to assess highly the importance of an embargo but had shown acute interest in the advantages we had gained in the case of the Azores. He stated that it was perfectly clear that Salazar would never give an embargo on wolfram … I stated there was no objective we were currently seeking in the field of economic warfare that compared with the embargo on wolfram in respect to the decisive effect it might have on the war.

This message repeated to Lisbon as Embassay’s 88, May 13. [Riefler.]

  1. Leo T. Crowley, Administrator of Foreign Economic Administration.
  2. William T. Stone, Director, Special Areas Branch, Foreign Economic Administration.
  3. Director-General of British Ministry of Economic Warfare.