740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1346

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Second Secretary of Embassy in Portugal (Rose)53

When Dr. Marcelo Mathias received me this afternoon, I assured him that we were grateful to him for his efforts to meet our wishes in expelling from Portugal a considerable number of former German officials and agents contained on the list of 6 categories of Germans whose expulsion we had requested.

I then told him that the Embassy had been instructed, in reference to the recent departure of German nationals on the SS Highland Monarch, to express to the Portuguese Government the American Government’s displeasure at the failure of his Government to seize every opportunity to deport obnoxious German nationals who had worked for German espionage and sabotage organizations during the period of hostilities.

Dr. Mathias was clearly taken aback by our protest and informed me that far from expecting criticism, he had been confident that the American, British and French missions would send him a note of thanks for the zeal of the Portuguese Government in respect of the Highland Monarch program. He asserted that in Categories 1 to 4 inclusive, and in Category 6, everyone we had named had been expelled, with the possible exception of some who were unable to travel. With respect to Category 5, which was the subject of American criticism, the Portuguese Government had forced the return to Germany of all except the following: those married to Portuguese nationals, those certified as unfit to travel by a doctor appointed by the Allied Missions, and those who had children born in Portugal, who were considered potential Portuguese citizens who could not be deprived of the protection of their parents. Dr. Mathias added that one German in Category 5, Fritz Sumbeck, was not deported for the reason that representations had been made on his behalf by the Brazilian Embassy. Dr. Mathias added that he was prepared to deport in the future only those whose deportation had been ordered on the present occasion, and who had avoided compliance therewith, or had been prevented by their physical condition from returning to Germany at this time.

Dr. Mathias then went on to describe the juridical basis of the Portuguese point of view in respect of the deportation of Germans. This is, in effect, that no national should be forced to return against [Page 810] his will to the country of his previous residence and that there is no basis in international law for a contrary opinion. I pointed out, in accordance with our instructions, that Spain, for example, had agreed to deport all German nationals falling within our Category 5. He was neither impressed with this remark nor did he comment upon it. Instead he cited the address of Mrs. Roosevelt before the recent U.N.O. Assembly in London opposing the Soviet suggestion for forcible return of displaced persons to their former country of allegiance.

Comment: My interview with Dr. Mathias was amicable, but he left no doubt in my mind that we may expect no further assistance from the Portuguese Government in the repatriation of German nationals.

H. L. R[ose]
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 791, March 11, from Lisbon; received March 27, 1946.