The Minister in Portugal ( Norweb ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 19—9:13 p.m.]
1526. I have just had an exploratory conversation with Sampaio on the subject matter of the Department’s 1389, May 17, 3 p.m.
He said he was aware of my request for an interview with the President of the Council which he hoped could be arranged early next week. In the meantime he gave it as his personal view that Salazar might be interested in a second airfield if the construction were to be undertaken by Portugal with American technicians assisting. I reminded him that in a general way, this is what the Panair project had in view. His attitude indicated concern for the neutral position of Portugal if the United States or one of its agencies should build the field.
Questioning him further as to how such a second field could be made available to the United States he felt that the conditions for its use would be related to the nature of the response we gave to previous inquiries concerning the part Portugal might play in the Far Eastern theater.
I stated that my Government’s request in connection with the second airfield was by way of being a partial reply in that it represented an immediate and substantial contribution which Portugal might make to the American war effort in that theater. He replied, again emphasizing that he was speaking personally, that he felt that Dr. Salazar would require a somewhat fuller reply.