811.20 Defense (M) Portugal/1428: Telegram

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

449. In the course of my conversation with Sampayo this afternoon I again raised the question of wolfram mentioning the temporary embargo on its export which has been applied in Spain.55 He was [Page 93] naturally aware of this and hastened to point out that Salazar wished to avoid a “zigzag” course such as appeared to impend there through imposing a temporary embargo and then shifting back to “something else”. He said that Salazar preferred to pursue a direct unbroken line toward whatever goal should ultimately be reached in agreement with United States. He said further that in the case of Spain the problem was different from the one in Portugal in that there we had a number of other important points of difference than wolfram. He pleaded that Portugal was more vulnerable than Spain in response to my remark that no enemy reaction had been observed to Spain’s step, stating also that Spain was more self-supporting than Portugal in such items for example as iron and steel. Here I pointed out that we might be in a position to help out any such deficiency which might result from a loss of sources of supply.

I told Sampayo that we took a very serious view of the continued supplying to the enemy of this raw material which was vital to his war effort. I asked him to tell Salazar that we were expectantly waiting for him to resume with United States the conversations which would lead to the goal he had spoken of.

At the end of our talk Sampayo told me that the Germans had been exerting heavy pressure on the Portuguese during recent weeks for the conclusion of a new wolfram agreement but that they had so far “done nothing”.

  1. For correspondence regarding efforts of the United States to get Spain to impose an embargo on wolfram shipments to Germany, see pp. 297 ff.