740.00119 Control (Germany)/2–1846

The British Embassy in Portugal to the Portuguese Foreign Office35


In their Note Verbale No. 1015 of November 23rd, 1945, His Majesty’s Embassy emphasised the problem presented by the provision of transport for the repatriation of German officials from Portugal and requested the Ministry to be good enough to give an assurance that the Portuguese Government would agree to the repatriation of certain categories of Germans, if necessary without the consent of the individuals concerned. It was explained that this assurance was required in order that a clear idea should be formed in advance of the number of persons to be transported.

The Embassy have now been informed that the British S.S. Highland Monarch, which is engaged in the repatriation of Germans from South America, may be able to call at Lisbon to pick up repatriates from Portugal provided that the number of the latter whose embarkation can be guaranteed is sufficient to justify this voyage. The Embassy need not stress the advantages both to the Portuguese Government and to the Allied powers of taking this opportunity to [Page 801]remove from Portugal those officials of the former German Government who have been recalled by the Allied Control Council. The Ministry are therefore requested to be good enough to inform the Embassy at the earliest convenient date whether the Portuguese Government, in the event of the S.S. Highland Monarch calling at Lisbon, will ensure the embarkation of the following categories of persons whose names are listed in the Annex36 to this Note:—

The German Service Attachés and those of their staffs who held military rank.
German officials left behind from the Drottningholm exchange.
Germans who have entered Portugal illegally or clandestinely, since the termination of hostilities.
Thiele von Winkler, who was expelled from Mozambique.
Germans who have worked for espionage and sabotage organisations such as the Abwehr and Sicherheitsdienst.
Germans who, on the receipt of the Allied Control Council’s order to return, announced their readiness to obey this order but could not leave last November.

Although no written reply has yet been received from the Portuguese Government to the Embassy’s Note Verbale under reference, His Majesty’s Minister was given to understand by the Head of the Political Department of the Ministry that the Portuguese Government were prepared to consider the expulsion of categories 1 to 4 above. Further comment on these categories is therefore not considered necessary in the present aide-mémoire.

With regard to category 5, it is clearly apparent that members of espionage and sabotage organisations who have entered a neutral country under diplomatic or commercial cover for the purpose of carrying out their illicit tasks have no claim whatever to the continued hospitality of the country which they have thus abused. The Embassy assume that this is also the view of the Portuguese Government.

With reference to category 6, all that is required is to hold these officials to their previous undertaking that they were prepared to obey the orders of the Allied Control Council.

The Embassy wish to emphasise that, in requesting an assurance that the above categories will be expelled, they reserve the right to revert in due course to their request for the expulsion of all the German officials who are affected by the instructions of the Allied Control Council and of whom a list was presented to the Ministry with His Majesty’s Ambassador’s Note of 24th August, 1945. By assisting in repatriating these persons to Germany, Portugal would be making a positive contribution to the task undertaken in the interests of future peace by the Allied Powers of preventing a recrudescence of Nazi [Page 802]activities not only in Portugal but throughout the world. The Embassy’s object in requesting an early decision on the subject of categories 1 to 6 above, numbering in all some 152 persons, is that they represent both the minimum number for the transport of which the Embassy would feel justified in asking the S.S. Highland Monarch to divert her voyage to Lisbon and those whose expulsion appears to raise no difficult question of international law or practice.

The Ministry will recall that at the request of the Portuguese Government the three Allied Missions made elaborate arrangements for the return to Germany without compulsion of all the officials affected by the Allied Control Council’s order and that the results were unsatisfactory. The Ministry will also recall that on a previous occasion certain Germans whose expulsion had been decided upon by the Portuguese Government failed to appear when transport was provided for them. It is therefore hoped by the Embassy that any measures decided upon by the Ministry with regard to the categories of Germans set out above will be implemented to the full.

This aide-mémoire has been drawn up after consultation and in agreement with the United States Embassy and the French Legation.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 743, February 18, 1946, from Lisbon; received March 6, 1946. The aide-mémoire was presented to Dr. Marcello Mathias, Director General of Political Affairs in the Portuguese Foreign Office, by representatives of the American, British, and French Missions in Lisbon on January 8, 1946.
  2. Not printed.