811.341553B/6–2246: Telegram

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

secret

549. For Culbertson. British Ambassador has just handed me following aide-mémoire delivered by his Counsellor to Mathias this afternoon without previous consultation with us:

  • “1. The Air Ministry wish to [send?] out soon a mission of eight experts headed by an officer of Group Captain rank and including a [Page 1000]representative of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to discuss with the Portuguese authorities:
    (a)
    Future policy for the use and development of the military air field at Lagens;
    (b)
    The disposal of Royal Air Force material and installations at Lagens;
    (c)
    The programme of Royal Air Force withdrawal and replacement by Portuguese during the 4 months interim period;
    (d)
    The arrangements necessary for the training of Portuguese personnel in connection with (c) above;
    (e)
    The size of the Royal Air Force long term contribution in key personnel for the operation of Lagens air field;
    (f)
    The status conditions of service etc., of Royal Air Force personnel employed in connection with (e) above;
    (g)
    The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s contribution in civilian key personnel at Santa Maria.
  • 2. It is proposed that the mission should leave the United Kingdom on July 5th, stay one day at Lagens to study the present position and arrive in Lisbon on the 7th. It is hoped that the Portuguese authorities would be prepared to start discussions on July 8th and would by that date have prepared their principal proposals for the future of the air fields.
  • 3. The United States authorities will, it is assumed, have very similar problems to discuss with the Portuguese authorities in respect of Santa Maria and will presumably also wish to ascertain what American military personnel the Portuguese Government wish to employ at Lagens. Furthermore, the number of British personnel to be employed at both Lagens and Santa Maria must depend to a large extent on the number of American personnel being employed at both places and vice versa. For all these reasons it would seem desirable that any discussions concerning the future use and staffing of Lagens and Santa Maria should be on a tripartite Anglo-United States-Portuguese basis.
  • 4. His Majesty’s Government are therefore suggesting to the United States Government that they should, if possible, arrange for US representatives to take part in the discussions in Lisbon on July 8th.49 In view of the short notice, however, it may not be possible for the US representatives to be made available quite so soon. In that event, however, there would not seem to be any reason why the discussions should not be begun on a purely Anglo-Portuguese basis and concentrate first on the questions concerning the disposal of materials, etc., at Lagens in which the US Government are not directly concerned.
  • 5. It is hoped that the Portuguese authorities will be prepared to hold the discussions on the lines suggested and that the tentative dates suggested will be convenient to them. It is presumed that the Portuguese Government would not object to members of the proposed mission wearing uniform.”

I refrained from discussion or any comment awaiting your advices.

Baruch
  1. British Embassy note No. 395 to the Department, dated June 28, 1946, transmitting the suggestion not printed.