SWNCC Files

No. 1295
The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee1
top secret
SM–2607

Memorandum for the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee2

Subject: Portuguese Participation in Liberation of Timor.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff request that the Secretary of State be advised as follows:

“In reply to the State Department memorandum of 11 June 1945* requesting information regarding the details of the plan for Portuguese participation in the liberation of Timor, the Joint Chiefs of Staff regret that no definite information can be given at this time. A draft letter on this subject, C. C. S. 462/19,3 for transmission to the Department of State and Foreign Office was submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their approval on 3 January 1945. A copy of the paper was sent to the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee, which advised on 13 January 1945 (J. C. S. 953/9)3 that the [Page 1350]draft letter was considered satisfactory by the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy.

“The British Chiefs of Staff have deferred action on C. C. S. 462/19 pending the receipt of information from Australia on its ability to accommodate the Portuguese force for training. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have undertaken to revise the letter to the Department of State and Foreign Office in C. C. S. 462/19 along broader lines which they hope the British Chiefs of Staff will be able to approve without further delay. The British Chiefs of Staff are being urged to take prompt action on this revised paper and it is hoped that the desired information will be forthcoming shortly.”

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
A. J. McFarland
,
Brigadier General, U. S. A., Secretary.
[Appendix]
The Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Culbertson) to Colonel John S. Wise, of the Operations Division, War Department General Staff
top secret

Memorandum

An urgent telegram4 has been received from our Ambassador at Lisbon5 stating that Dr. Salazar believed that we should submit very soon the details of the plan for Portuguese participation “in such operations as may be conducted eventually to expel the Japanese from Portuguese Timor” to use the language in our Note to him of November 28, 1944.6 You will recall that the British furnished similar assurances at the same time7 and that these assurances constituted practically the only consideration given by us in exchange for the facilities at Santa Maria. These facilities have been said by a high military authority to be “of incalculable importance”.

A review of the history of the Santa Maria negotiations suggests that the principal reason for the delay in obtaining the Portuguese assent to the use of Santa Maria was our delay in giving the assurances as to Timor, which were desired by Dr. Salazar. This is mentioned in order to emphasize the vital interest of the Portuguese in this matter.

The Department understand] that active discussions are being [Page 1351]held by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the complexity of the shipping, supply and training questions involved is fully appreciated. However, the Department believes that it is highly important to furnish promptly evidence of our good faith in carrying out the plan to which we are committed. This is particularly important, in view of impending negotiations for long term post-war military rights in the Azores. The Department does not feel that it can start such negotiations until the Portuguese are fully satisfied on the question of Timor.

Therefore, the Department hopes that it will be possible to communicate to the Portuguese in the very near future the details of our plans as they now stand for Portuguese participation in any Timor expedition. If for any reason, it is not possible within the next few days to give information of this nature, the Department hopes that it will be given information on which to base an explanation to Dr. Salazar of the present state of the matter and the reasons for the delay in communicating to him the final plans.

Paul T. Culbertson
  1. Circulated as SWNCC 163 on July 20. A draft memorandum from the Chairman of SWNCC to the Secretary of State transmitting the contents of this document was circulated informally on July 18 to the SWNCC panel at Babelsberg and was approved by McCloy and Gardner on July 18 and by Dunn on July 19. In view, however, of the approval in the meantime of document No. 1298 by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Dunn (as Chairman of SWNCC) determined that the delivery to the Secretary of State of a memorandum from SWNCC on the subject was unnecessary.
  2. This memorandum and its appendix are printed from mimeographed texts circulated by the SWNCC Secretariat.
  3. See Appendix hereto. [Footnote in the original.]
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Herman B. Baruch.
  8. Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 2338; United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 2124.
  9. See British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxlvi, p. 452.