The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal ( Norweb )
148. It is most important that complete understanding be reached with Salazar without delay respecting the two ships, one of which is due in the Islands beginning of next week and the other of which is now loading, to avoid any incident or any further delay in construction proceeding at Lagens. Mason reportedly is informed of details concerning construction personnel and materials being carried in these ships. We anticipate no further requests of this sort and have only to expect that as construction proceeds personnel will gradually be withdrawn in large part as indicated in the Department’s 143, January 18, 8 p.m.29 Of course it will be necessary to maintain current supplies for personnel in the Islands in the matter of food, clothing, etc., but as supply is not an immediate problem and is not expected to commence before early February it seems preferable not to mention this at present.
In an interview the Department hopes you will arrange with minimum delay you should endeavor to secure complete clearance for these ships and you may take up again the problem discussed in the Department’s 141 of January 18, 7 p.m.30 bringing to bear the arguments at your disposal. The Department hopes that by furnishing Salazar completely frank assurances that as far as mass personnel goes we contemplate no further requests you will be able to dispel any doubts [Page 9] the Prime Minister may entertain respecting our motives and the extent of our plans. Essentially we have before us the immediate and most urgent problem of placing in Lagens the full necessary complement of construction personnel and equipment essential for developing facilities speedily, the problem of securing operational facilities at Lagens for one Navy squadron, and the problems of an additional field in Santa Maria or elsewhere and the installation of navigational aids with which you are familiar. It is important that these pending matters be kept steadily before Salazar to avoid his gaining any impression that we have any thought of abandoning any portion of our program, which we have kept within minimum limits and which we propose to carry out with a loyal regard for the Prime Minister’s sensibilities.