The Chargé in Portugal (Crocker) to the Secretary of State
[Received 6:20 p.m.]
182. ReEmbs 128, January 19, 7 p.m. Dr. Salazar, who received George and me last evening, appeared receptive to the ATC proposal to fly into Europe via Lisbon provided a formula could be found “in keeping with Portugal’s correct attitude toward the belligerents”. The problem was soluble if it could be fitted into Portuguese neutrality from which, he said once more, Portugal could not deviate for mere reasons of opportunism.
The Prime Minister’s many questions regarding the character of traffic crews, plans, destinations, legal setup of ATC, et cetera, revealed his receptivity if the service could be justified on humanitarian grounds (reconstruction rehabilitation). He took pains to discover whether the cargo flown for the Armed Forces was combat material (e.g. guns, munitions) or intrinsically material for the comfort or well being of personnel (e.g. food, medicines, clothing, et cetera). He was also interested in knowing what facilities ATC would require of [Page 440] Porteia Airport and whether existing runways and equipment would be adequate.
As was to be expected he also inquired how the Pan American exclusive contract would be affected and he was informed that the matter had been fully discussed with the company in the United States and that no difficulties were perceived in that direction by Pan American.
During the course of the general discussion the Prime Minister referred to the civil air agreement entered into between Spain and the United States10 and inquired whether the proposal now before him was intended to supplant a possible agreement of this kind with Portugal. He was informed that on the contrary the question of such an agreement with Portugal was now under consideration and that it was hoped to approach the Portuguese Government on this subject in the near future. This was however a matter not connected with present proposal.
The Prime Minister promised to take the problem under immediate advisement but suggested that he might need some further data and clarification before giving a reply. It is our impression that the Prime Minister will have something to say by the time George returns from Madrid, probably within a week from today.
- Air Transport Services Agreement, signed at Madrid, December 2, 1944; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 432, or 58 Stat. (pt. 2) 1473.↩