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

No. 100

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith three copies of a Memorandum dated January 4, 1944,9 which the British Ambassador10 presented the Prime Minister of Portugal on January 6, 1944.

Sir Ronald Campbell came to see me this morning to give me a copy of this document and an account of his interview. He said that after some discussion, Dr. Salazar agreed to give sympathetic consideration to the main question at issue, namely, the extension by expropriation of the landing area and facilities of the airfield at Lagens. Dr. Salazar was obviously concerned about the amount of cultivated land and the [Page 3] number of houses which would thus be destroyed and the eventual disposition of the persons thus dispossessed. The fact that the British Government undertook to aid in the solution of this problem helped considerably in rendering the proposal acceptable. In this connection, I might add that under the Anglo-Portuguese Agreement,11 Portugal undertakes, as a part payment for armaments supplied, to bear such expropriation and indemnity expenses. But in the few cases of expropriation and dispossession that have already occurred, the Portuguese Government’s arrangements for compensation, both monetary-wise and otherwise, have been so meager and inadequate as to cause great dissatisfaction. In one or two instances this took the form of cable cutting and other acts of sabotage.

Sir Ronald Campbell went on to say that at the same time he had expressed to Dr. Salazar the British Government’s pleasure that the formula permitting American use of the British facilities in the Azores had been agreed upon to the satisfaction of all concerned. However, in this connection Dr. Salazar interposed objection on one particular point, mention of which was made in paragraph numbered 3 of the British Memorandum, namely, the inclusion of one U.S. Navy squadron for anti-submarine patrol work. Sir Ronald said that Dr. Salazar took the view that there was both a difference in practice and in principle between the air transit uses to which the United States would put the Azores facilities and such an operational use as basing an anti-submarine air squadron in the Azores. In this connection, Dr. Salazar referred to his talks with the German Minister and General Jordana12 and the emphasis that he had placed therein on the prior commitments to Great Britain under the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance,13 which were the sole justification for making available to a belligerent the facilities belonging to a neutral.

I told Sir Ronald Campbell that in my conversation with Dr. Salazar on New Year’s Eve I had informed him of the arrival of such an American squadron and that I could not but believe that he fully understood me since he asked how many planes comprised a squadron. At that time Dr. Salazar interposed no objection to the American squadron. Mr. Kennan14 had also discussed this subject with him on December 2 (Legation’s 2911, December 2, 5 p.m.).15 To the explanation of the plans for the participation of our forces in antisubmarine patrol work Dr. Salazar showed no surprise and expressed [Page 4] no objection but pointed out that it must be subject to the general rule that a formula be found to reconcile the practice with the British Agreement.

I have acquainted the Military and Naval Attachés16 and Colonel Mason17 and Commander Huff18 with the foregoing. I also informed them that I have today sent a note to Dr. Salazar informing him of the decision regarding the use of Pan American Airways, Inc. in the matter of the survey (Department’s 43, January 6, 3 p.m.)19 and requesting an interview at his earliest convenience. At that time I will seek a clarification of the American squadron question. Until then, I wish to reserve my comments on this curious and untoward happening.

Respectfully yours,

R. Henry Norweb
  1. Not printed.
  2. Sir Ronald H. Campbell.
  3. For text of Anglo-Portuguese Agreement of August 17, 1943, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxlvi, p. 447.
  4. Gen. Franco Gomez Jordana, Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  5. Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Alliance between England and Portugal, signed at London, June 16, 1373. For text, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. i, p. 462.
  6. George F. Kennan, Counselor of Legation in Portugal, designated Counselor of European Advisory Commission, London, December 1, 1943.
  7. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. ii, p. 573.
  8. Col. Robert A. Solborg and Comdr. Kenneth E. Demarest, respectively.
  9. Col. Grant C. Mason, technical representative of U.S. Army in Portugal to assist in the negotiations regarding the Azores.
  10. Comdr. Gerald L. Huff, technical representative of U.S. Navy in Portugal to assist in the negotations regarding the Azores.
  11. Not printed.