The Ambassador in Portugal (Baruch) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:36 p.m.]
358. For Hickerson.6 Arrangements are being made for an early meeting with Dr. Salazar, at which time I will make the following statement and leave him a copy in the form of a confidential memorandum of oral conversation:
“In 1944, through Your Excellency’s cooperation and understanding, our two Governments reached an agreement with regard to the construction and use of the present airport on the island of Santa Maria. The use of that airport and the facilities granted to my Government were very important factors in bringing the wars in Europe and the Pacific to early and successful conclusions. The present agreement expires on June 2, 1946. By that agreement my Government is obligated to withdraw on that date.
“Prior to initiating that withdrawal, I have come to you today with Ambassador O’Malley7 in order, in all frankness, to say to you that our two Governments have a continuing interest in the facilities and privileges in the Azores now enjoyed by your Government. Hostilities in Europe and the Pacific have happily come to an end. The situation has changed since the date of our agreement in 1944. American participation in, and responsibilities for, the maintenance of order and the control over our zone of occupation in Germany, however, continue and will continue under present plans for a considerable [Page 965]number of years to come. We have similar, and even greater, responsibilities in the Far East. I need not explain to you the importance my Government attaches to the fulfillment of its obligations, not only to its Allies, but to the cause of world peace. My Government has obligations to itself, as well as to its friends. The continued cooperation of Portugal in the future as in the past, will greatly facilitate my Government in its task of fulfilling those obligations.
“The conclusion of recent hostilities has left many problems. Postwar adjustments and understandings remain for the future, not only between the Allies and their former enemies, but also between themselves. Frankly, we feel that your Government and mine have a mutual interest in finding the basis for continued mutual cooperation. We should like to undertake discussions with you and your Government to the end whereby, in full recognition of Portuguese sovereignty, provision may be made to continue for a mutually acceptable period of time the present facilities now enjoyed and whereby, through mutual cooperation, there may be established and maintained great airports serving as most important links in the commercial airways of the world. Mr. Paul Culbertson8 and Maj. Gen. Laurance Kuter9 are here in Lisbon for the specific purpose of these discussions. With your permission I should like to bring these gentlemen to see you, in order that a more detailed presentation may be made to you.”
We discussed this question with Ambassador O’Malley this morning and he will make a similar statement to Dr. Salazar when he and I call jointly on him. The meeting this morning with Ambassador O’Malley was extremely satisfactory and indicated his full cooperation and support.