753.5 MSP/3–1853

No. 807
Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)

top secret
  • Subject: Portuguese Ability to Receive and Support a Jet Air Force
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered a question of Portuguese capability to support a jet Air Force as raised by a regional study1 on this subject which was developed at the request of the Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command.
The country team (MAAG, MSA and Ambassador) states that Portugal now possesses the capability to support one jet aircraft squadron and should develop the capability to activate two additional [Page 1735] squadrons by July 1954. A regional position has been established by the country team to the effect that the delivery of at least three squadrons of jet aircraft is considered necessary to prevent adverse political reaction by the Portuguese Government in relation to base rights and other negotiations.
Present U.S. Air Force Mutual Defense Assistance Programs (MDAP) contain aircraft and matériel sufficient to activate five jet squadrons in Portugal by June 1955. The Portuguese Government has knowledge of these programs.
Reprogramming actions are required at this time to prevent the dispersal and probable waste of MDAP matériel. In this connection, and from the military point of view, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded that, for the foreseeable future, the military capability of the Portuguese Air Force is limited to three squadrons.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff therefore recommend that you approve the deletion of the fourth and fifth squadrons from the Air Force MDAP for Portugal.2

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Reference is to the Country Team Report, dated Sept. 25, 1952, supra .
  2. The Secretary of Defense approved the JCS recommendations and transmitted the decision to the Department of State in a letter dated Mar. 18. Wilson recommended in his letter that the decision to reduce the planned military aid be made to appear as a product of the NATO Annual Review, rather than as a unilateral decision by the United States. (753.5 MSP/3–1853) In a reply dated May 25, Acting Secretary of State Smith stated that the Department of State was fully in accord with the Department of Defense decision, and that the fact of a reduction in aid to Portugal had already been made known to the Portuguese through the Annual Review. (753.5 MSP/3–1853)