711.53/40a: Telegram

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

1443. The combined Chiefs of Staff have approved the following views on military grounds:

A voluntary step by Portugal to engage in the war against Japan and against the European axis, as an active ally, would be welcomed by the combined Chiefs of Staff.
No military objection is perceived by them to a Portuguese participation in an eventual operation to liberate Timor. A definite commitment as to this cannot be furnished however, until after discussion in detail of logistical and other problems, in military staff conferences between representatives of Great Britain, the United States and Portugal.
They propose holding such conferences in Lisbon under the direction of the British and American Ambassadors to ascertain Portuguese capabilities and logistical and other problems involved.
The combined Chiefs of Staff, in examining the proposal of the Portuguese Prime Minister, have concluded that Portugal can make its most important immediate contribution in the war against Japan and toward liberating Timor by granting forthwith the Azores facilities requested but not yet granted, and they urge expediting favorable action.

The Department has concurred in the decision of the combined Chiefs of Staff, and has signified the concurrence of this Government to the British Government through the latter’s Embassy here. In communicating with the British Embassy the Department has expressed its belief that the British and American Governments should direct their Ambassadors in Lisbon to concert their action without delay and communicate to Dr. Salazar the decision reached.

[Here follow two paragraphs informing the Minister in Portugal of the substance of the aide-mémoire of May 20 to the British Embassy, printed on page 115.]

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The Department has expressed its readiness to issue you appropriate instructions if the British Government will signify its concurrence in the foregoing proposals.

Repeated to London and Rio.59

  1. Repeated on the same date to London as No. 4042 and to Rio de Janeiro as No. 1579.