811.34553B/5–546: Telegram

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

top secret
us urgent

460. Urtel 395 May 5. For Culbertson from Hickerson. We would not object to a press statement which describes our proposals but we believe that omitting any reference to use of facilities by our military planes during occupation period would be misleading. We have declined to comment on Eeston story.18 We have had no press inquiries since Saturday.19 Perhaps a press statement is not now necessary.

In reply to the points in Dr. Salazars memo you may wish to make a reply along the following lines:

We have read with interest Dr. Salazars comments but believe that he has misunderstood the import of our proposal. His thoughts on the subject appear to go far beyond the scope of the agreement we had in mind which would only cover approximately a 10 year period. You may wish to express again to him that we are proposing simply:

To join with Portugal in operating a great civil airport which would be open to aircraft of all nations as designated by Portugal.
In addition the US, which has an obligation to the world as well as to itself for the occupation of enemy territories, would have certain rights for the use of the airport by its military aircraft engaged in communication with and support of the occupation forces.
Finally we have in mind that Portugal may become a member of the UN and that, if and when it does join, it could arrange to have the airport facilities in the Azores made available to the Security Council on its call. The US wholeheartedly supports the UN, and believes that our joint maintenance of the airport would reinforce and strengthen the UN concept of a collective security system.
You should point out that if an emergency developed and the Security Council made no call upon Portugal for the use of the facilities in the Azores, this would present a contingency for which no specific provision is made in the contemplated agreement.

In his memo Dr. Salazar indicates that when the Santa Maria agreement was concluded we had already formed plans for the occupation [Page 973]of the enemy countries, and that in 1944 our needs, which exist today, had already been foreseen. You should assure Dr. Salazar that at the time of the Santa Maria agreement we were trying to provide only for the immediate requirements for the successful prosecution and early termination of the war. Our needs during the occupation period were not entirely foreseeable in 1944 but we felt certain we could count on a friendly Portuguese Govt to assist us in working out subsequent arrangements.

Much of what Dr. Salazar had to say is of course pertinent to a long term program but not to the shorter 10 year agreement which we envisage. As you know we look eventually for a long term agreement but were unable to persuade the British to undertake the necessary discussions at this time.

For your guidance, we have learned from Bianci20 that Dr. Salazar was disturbed by implication in NY Times story that, since our proposed agreement will be related to and will, in our opinion, strengthen and reinforce the wider system of UN collective security, arrangements contemplated in the agreement will therefore be under the “supervision” of UN. You should, if necessary, correct that impression. Evidently Dr. Salazar does not want this agreement used as a vehicle for Portugal’s entrance into the UN.

Repeated to Paris as 2132 for Matthews. [Hickerson.]

  1. For James Reston’s story, see the New York Times, May 4, 1946, p. 1.
  2. May 4.
  3. João Antonio de Bianchi, Portuguese Ambassador in the United States.