811.34553B/4–2946: Telegram

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

top secret

368. Emtel 364, April 27.10 For Hickerson. On Saturday11 Ambassador O’Malley and I saw Dr. Salazar at which time I presented the statement quoted in Emtel 358, April 25. Ambassador O’Malley likewise presented his memo. In the discussions that followed Salazar made it clear that he felt that present agreement had been based upon a certain hypothesis and that hypothesis no longer prevailed. If, however, British and American Govts had new hypothesis to put to him he was ready to examine with minute attention any proposals for new agreements which two Govts wish to put forward. I called attention [Page 966]particularly to two sentences at end of paragraph 1 of my statement and I made clear to Salazar that that language meant what it said. I added, however, that as discussions progressed it might be found that there would be practical advantages in avoiding any interruption of existing facilities now enjoyed by US and Great Britain. Salazar pointed out that if we were only discussing an agreement for continuance of facilities for passage of aircraft for limited period after June 2 whole matter was of secondary interest but that it would be different if we all agreed (as he himself has suggested in public statements) that security in Atlantic and on European seaboard was matter of common concern.

In connection with new hypothesis Ambassador O’Malley discussed present position of Great Britain and Portugal and relationship of each to US and of all three countries to each other making clear predominant position of US in relation to security of all three. O’Malley also laid emphasis on civil commercial aspects of presentation pointing out advantages which would accrue to Portugal in being able to keep abreast of developments in science of aviation thru cooperation and coordination with US and Great Britain.

In response to Salazar’s inquiry with regard to relationship of UNO to our proposal both Ambassador 0’Malley and I emphasized wholehearted support which our two Govts are committed to give UNO. At same time, however, we both emphasized fact that this organization is still in its infancy and pending its complete establishment we felt it essential to move forward with security and civil arrangements pending such time as we may mutually find it advantageous to make Azores facilities available to Security Council. I mentioned importance of Azores to maintenance of our air lines of communication with our zone in Germany; I mentioned to Salazar what some of his officials had been a bit critical of rapid withdrawal of our troops from Europe and endeavored to tie importance of Azores to problem of maintaining and supporting existing troops in Germany.

At end of this discussion Salazar said that he would invite Mr. Culbertson and General Kuter to explain to him in detail and at length proposals which we wish to put forward. While Salazar did not commit himself it is quite clear that he is prepared to go into these discussions with an open mind. O’Malley has drawn up a memo of discussions with Salazar and I have gone over it with him so that we have an agreed statement of what actually transpired. O’Malley has presented this draft to Salazar who has likewise accepted it as statement of what was discussed. Copy of this memo is being sent by Culbertson to Hickerson thru army channels.

[Page 967]

For Hickerson from Culbertson.

I wish to call particular attention to the Portuguese emphasis on termination of existing agreement. I feel, however, that we are vindicated in our feeling that we do not have to worry too much about actual date of June 2. Other points of importance are likely to be (1) question of troops in uniform (2) that Salazar may well oppose idea of public treaty and (3) that Portuguese may lay considerable emphasis on question of Timor12 and they may desire participation in final adjustments in Pacific. I would like to know whether we can give any encouragement to this latter point.

Ambassador O’Malley has worked very closely with us and Ambassador Baruch was particularly impressed with strength of Ambassador O’Malley’s presentation to Salazar. Both Kuter and I are very pleased with support, cooperation and assistance which Ambassador Baruch and Embassy have given us. It is perfectly clear to us all that our proposals are receiving support and cooperation of highest order by Ambassador O’Malley. His strong assistance is a principal factor for optimism we feel as result of this introduction of our negotiations.

End from Culbertson.

  1. Not printed.
  2. April 27.
  3. For documentation relating to the re-establishment of Portuguese sovereignty and control in Timor, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. v, pp. 452 ff.