800.515/5–745: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Portugal ( Baruch )

738. Your approach to the Portuguese Government on Safehaven matters should be made as soon as possible in view of (1) the fact that the Embassy at Madrid presented its note on May 1 with an [Page 880] oral statement by the Ambassador to the Spanish Foreign Minister that proposals along similar lines are being made in Portugal, and (2) the reported action of the Portuguese Government in severing diplomatic relations and freezing German assets.

This will confirm the opinion stated in London’s 99, April 30 to you (repeated to Department as 4379)67 that your note should follow the instructions to Madrid repeated to you in Department’s 635, April 22.68 You are authorized to make such amendments in language as you may deem desirable, particularly those necessary to take cognizance of any action which the Portuguese Government may thus far have taken in furtherance of our objectives.

We are informed by British Embassy here that British Embassy at Lisbon has suggested a prohibition on all dealings in foreign currencies. We agree with this proposal and request that it be included in your note. In our opinion it is not, however, of sufficient importance to be singled out as a “hard core” objective by the Ambassador in presenting the note to the Foreign Minister.

We leave to your discretion the action to be taken on the subject of Portuguese-German contracts completed in contemplation of defeat. We would have no objection to your including in your formal note a suggestion for declaring such contracts null and void (reurdes 1707, April 1069), or would we object your following the procedure suggested in your 920, April 27, which you repeated to London as 210.69

The foregoing instructions should be accepted as a reply to your telegram 952, May 269 (repeated to London as 218) which we assume was sent prior to your receiving London’s 99, April 30 (repeated to Department as 4379).

In answer to the specific questions asked in first paragraph of your 952, we point out that proposed note quoted in your despatch 1707 did not include fully the four “hard core” objectives since it omitted the freeze of satellite countries, subscription in principle to Resolution VI, and limited the suggestion for blocking and a census to German (as opposed to Axis) persons and interests.70

Repeated to London as 3580.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See last paragraph of telegram 3158 to London, p. 873.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. In telegram 1027, May 10, 11 a.m., from Lisbon, Ambassador Baruch reported that a note concerning the Safehaven objectives had been delivered to the Foreign Ministry following a conference with the French, British, Belgian, and Netherlands representatives; the note as presented had been approved by all parties (800.515/5–1045). The main points of the note, transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 112, May 11, from Lisbon, were essentially the same as those contained in the draft note in telegram 3158, April 22, 6 p.m., to London, p. 873.