791.022/8–954: Telegram

No. 812
The Ambassador in Portugal (Guggenheim) to the Department of State1


30. Shortly before noon today Foreign Office called saying Foreign Minister wished to see me urgently, and that subject was of such importance that he wished Secretary General Foreign Office and another Embassy officer present too.

With great bitterness, Foreign Minister said tremendously disappointed our failure to take public position on aggression Portuguese India. Said he was aware reasons we gave, but convinced [Page 1745] that these not real reasons; thought decision stemmed from mistaken policy anti-colonialism (referring August 4, New York Times article which he had on desk).

He said we were profoundly wrong if we thought anti-colonialism the antidote for communism, and anyway Goa not a colony but, after 400 years, on a level with rest of Portugal and with culture distinct from India as admitted by even Nehru. Present situation, moreover, not one involving freeing colonial people but of open imperialistic aggression by India against another sovereign state.

Pointed out how many nations had taken public stand on matter, stressing action taken by British who, he said, because of Commonwealth ties were in a much more delicate position than we. Added that Portuguese people unable understand our silence.

Portugal, he went on, had consistently collaborated with US politically and had never asked economic or other quid pro quo. He felt strongly, however, that Portugal had right to expect political collaboration in return, particularly where matters of principle so clear. Gave emphatic warning that if Portuguese territories taken over in absence public stand by US we would lose all prestige built up here. Moreover, this situation would result in changes in Portugal, both internally and in foreign policy. Very pointedly said did not see how this could fail gravely affect such things as NATO and Azores. At close his exposition, which lasted an hour, said this was most serious statement he had ever made on Portuguese-US relations.

Then referred to Portuguese proposal neutral observers2 (which Embassy informed warmly approved by British) expressing strong hope that we would publicly recognize the obvious fairness of the Portuguese proposal.

Comment: It is thoroughly evident that Foreign Minister, and indeed whole government, is sincerely aroused at what they consider very shabby treatment our part in contrast generous open support given them by others. Cunha is not one to imply double-dealing (see paragraph 2) lightly.

Difficult assess seriousness scarcely veiled threat not to extend Azores agreement. Should present mood of government continue, however, we can hardly expect other than deterioration Portugal-US relations.

  1. Repeated to New Delhi, London, and Paris.
  2. See footnote 6, supra.