No. 354

752.5/1–2351: Telegram

The Ambassador in Portugal (Mac Veagh) to the Secretary of State 1


275. Following is my reply to Deptel 247,2 January 18, originally relayed here by mistake as for information only.

[Page 777]

1. Though traditional dislike of Spain is still strong this country, both Portuguese Government and great majority of public would welcome her inclusion in NATO with enthusiasm and relief. Feeling is widespread that Portugal’s own membership is anomalous, and her strategic position weak so long as major portion of peninsula is excluded. Official view publicly expressed by Salazar August 10 (see mytel 503 of same date) “Peninsular collaboration is basic for Atlantic solidarity. The geographic frontier of Portugal is the Pyrenees.” Press consistently following Prime Minister’s cue, and popular opinion clearly in accord.

2. If full membership not immediately possible, association on same basis as Greece and Turkey4 would be warmly accepted as encouraging step in right direction. In private conversation Foreign Minister has actually suggested this alternative. Hope would be, however, for regular membership eventually as providing fuller guarantees of effective cooperation.

3. Spain participation in integrated defense forces is regarded as chief aim to be secured under either 1. or 2.

4. Military cooperation on bilateral basis between US and Spain outside of NATO would be accepted here with less satisfaction than either of above two alternatives but would still be a popular move failing wider integration.

General Eisenhower’s flying visit, following his appointment as NATO commander, has increased the urgency which the Portuguese feel attaches to this whole subject.5

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Brussels, and The Hague.
  2. Telegram 247 requested various Embassies in Europe to estimate and comment upon “current popular and official attitude” regarding some form of Spanish affiliation with NATO, or Spanish participation in an integrated Western defense force, or “full bilateral mil cooperation between US and Spain outside NAT.” (752.00/1–1851)
  3. Not printed.
  4. In September 1950, the United States initiated and strongly supported action which enabled Greece and Turkey to become associated with the appropriate phases of the planning work of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization concerned with the defense of the Mediterranean area. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  5. Portuguese interest in some sort of Spanish participation in the Western defense system was reemphasized to General Eisenhower by Foreign Minister Dr. Paulo Cunha during the course of a conversation at Lisbon on January 17, reported in telegram 3105 from Rome, January 18. For text, see vol. iii, Part 1, p. 432.