811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1420: Telegram

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

281. In Dr. Salazar’s continued absence from Lisbon I saw the Secretary General53 of the Foreign Office last evening and made my contribution to the representations which the British Ambassador initiated in his talk with Salazar reported in my 227, January 24. [Page 92] In my conversation with Sampaio it did not seem desirable or necessary to draw upon the detailed [details?] contained in Department’s telegram 132, January 17. In the main I sought to impress strongly on Sampaio the importance we attach to German acquisitions of wolfram from Portugal and to ascertain how far Salazar had moved in his thinking on this matter.

Sampaio took much the same line that Salazar did as reported in my 125, January 13, that Portugal could not be asked to remain neutral and at the same time be denied the means of maintaining that neutrality by the imposition of a total embargo. In his view although admittedly Germany was not strong enough to invade the peninsula she would nevertheless find means of effective retaliation. He then went on to say that the wolfram problem could, however, be solved in the light of the policy of benevolent neutrality which Portugal was pursuing vis-à-vis England and the United States and the three parties concerned must get together and work out a solution. He then hinted that wolfram arrangements could be made for a shorter period than a year and referred to the figures set forth in my 3060, December 22,54 asserting that the Germans were getting less and less wolfram.

  1. Teixeira de Sampaio.
  2. Not printed.