SWNCC Files

No. 1298
The Combined Chiefs of Staff to the Department of State and the British Foreign Office1
top secret

Memorandum for the Department of State:

Foreign Office:

The Combined Chiefs of Staff on 2 September 1944 appointed an Anglo-American Military Mission to enter into conversations with Portuguese military authorities to discuss Portuguese proposals for participation in such operations as may be conducted eventually to expel the Japanese from Portuguese Timor. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have arrived at the following conclusions on the report of this mission:

a.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff are agreed on the acceptance of Portuguese assistance in such operations as may be conducted eventually to expel the Japanese from Portuguese Timor. While they have made no agreement with the Portuguese military authorities as to the direct use of Portuguese forces, they have recognized the possibility of such use and agreed that plans will be worked out as a result of the studies conducted in staff conversations in Lisbon.
b.
As between the two military forces offered by Portugal (a regimental combat team of 4,000 or a battalion combat team of 2,200, [Page 1354]both including 400 native troops), the larger force is likely to be the more acceptable. Steps are being taken to allocate a suitable training area.2
c.
The air component offered by Portugal should under no circumstances be included in the acceptance of the Portuguese offer in view of the small number of planes available and the state of the training of the pilots, mechanics and radio specialists.
d.
There is no objection from the military viewpoint to Portugal receiving munitions when they can be spared but negotiation as to the basis for transfer is an action to be taken on a governmental level.
e.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff in accepting Portuguese participation do not intend to enter into a commitment for the retaking of Portuguese Timor. Neither is acceptance to be construed as a commitment to use Portuguese troops in any other area.
f.
Military operations against Portuguese Timor must for the present await the completion of operations against higher priority Japanese-held objectives. The Combined Chiefs of Staff will notify the Portuguese military authorities of impending operations against Portuguese Timor in time for them to prepare their troops for participation therein. Details as to the assembly, shipment, training and equipping of the Portuguese force will be decided by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the appropriate time.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff have no objection to the disclosure of any of the above information to the Portuguese if the Department of State or Foreign Office deem it necessary in diplomatic conversations. …

For the Combined Chiefs of Staff:
A. T. Cornwall–Jones
,
Brigadier
A. J. McFarland
,
Brigadier General, U. S. A. Combined Secretariat.
  1. A copy of this letter was circulated as SWNCC 163/1 on July 24 to members of SWNCC, with the notation that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had approved the letter on July 20 and that the approved letter had been delivered to the Secretary of State and the Foreign Office.
  2. The final sentence of this paragraph did not appear in the enclosure to document No. 1296, and in that paper the preceding sentence ended: “the larger force is acceptable and can be trained in the theater.”