811.34553B/5–2746: Telegram

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

top secret
us urgent

530. For Culbertson. There is quoted below a personal message from the Secretary to Dr. Salazar which you are authorized in your discretion to deliver to him to bring about an informal extension of the present agreement:

“My dear Dr. Salazar, When the United States Government entered into negotiations with your Government on April 27th for a new arrangement governing the use of the airport at Santa Maria, I had hoped that a basis for agreement would have been established before the expiration of the Santa Maria Agreement on the second of June. However, when it became apparent that these negotiations would be somewhat more lengthy than had originally been anticipated, our Embassy in Lisbon presented a request to Mr. Mathias, on May 15th, for a month’s extension of the present agreement. On the basis of Mr. Mathias’ informal remarks in the opening talks with Ambassadors Baruch and O’Malley, we have been encouraged to believe that there would be no difficulty in providing for an informal extension and have since acted on that assumption.

“The United States Government is at the present time maintaining large occupation forces in Germany and Japan. It is universally recognized that a line of communications must be preserved with such forces. In our case the airport at Santa Maria provides an essential link in the system of communications with our occupation troops [Page 990]This line of communications is essential under normal conditions of occupation in Germany and Japan, and it would be indispensable in the event of an emergency in connection with the occupation in either country. Any interruption in our line of communications with the American Occupation Forces would thus have immediate and serious consequences. It seems to me that a temporary continuation of the present facilities at Santa Maria for this purpose should be regarded as an integral part of the contribution to victory which Portgual made when it entered into the present agreement on November 28, 1944. It is in this light that we regard such an extension, not as a part of a new agreement.

“The United States Government is giving careful study to the problems involved in the current negotiations and is making every effort through Mr. Culbertson in these negotiations to arrive at a mutually agreeable arrangement. I therefore ask you, in the interests of the traditional friendship between our two countries, not to take any action which would jeopardize these negotiations and interrupt the essential communications between the United States and its occupation forces. I have every hope that patient and understanding consideration will result in a mutually satisfactory agreement, and for this purpose I request that the present agreement be extended on a month to month basis without prejudice to any agreement which may, in the course of the present negotiations, be achieved.”

Byrnes