The Assistant Secretary of State for
European Affairs (Merchant) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense for International Security Affairs (Davis)1
Dear Admiral Davis: The Department of State has received your letter of November 2, 1954. From your letter, the Department of State understands:
- That the Department of Defense has developed certain additional military requirements in the Azores and in the Cape Verde Islands (set forth in the enclosures to your letter) which are not [Page 1756] covered by the existing Defense Agreement with the Government of Portugal of September 6, 1951;
- That the Department of Defense requests that negotiations be opened with the Portuguese Government for the purpose of reaching an agreement which will satisfy these additional requirements; which will extend the duration of United States peacetime rights under the Defense Agreement for the duration of NATO; and which will permit the United States to increase the rank of the United States commander in the Azores; and
- That the Department of Defense considers the Defense Agreement of September 6, 1951 a satisfactory vehicle for the attainment of these objectives.
It is anticipated that these negotiations will be very delicate because 1) the new military requirements of the Department of Defense are substantial; 2) many Portuguese officials feel that the United States has not given sufficient support to Portugal vis-à-vis India in its recent dispute with that country concerning Portuguese territorial possessions in the sub-continent of India; and 3) almost certainly, the Portuguese Government will relate the granting by the United States of additional jet squadrons to Portugal to these negotiations. For these reasons, the Department of State believes that the climate for the pending negotiations should be carefully prepared in advance. Of assistance in this respect would be an invitation to the Portuguese Minister of Defense, Lieutenant Colonel Fernando dos Santos Costa, to pay an official visit to the United States as the guest of the Secretary of Defense. Senor Santos Costa will be the key figure on the Portuguese side of the Azores negotiations and any favorable impressions of the United States which he might acquire as a result of a visit to the United States at this time would undoubtedly redound to the benefit of the United States once the Azores negotiations are undertaken.
It is suggested, therefore, that the Secretary of Defense extend an invitation as soon as possible to the Portuguese Minister of Defense, Senor Santos Costa, to visit the United States. Subsequent to the return of Senor Santos Costa to Portugal and the entry upon his duties of a new American Ambassador to Portugal, the Department of State will open negotiations with the Portuguese Government to broaden the Defense Agreement with the Government of Portugal of September 6, 1951, to satisfy the additional military requirements of the Department of Defense and to permit the United States to increase the rank of the United States commander in the Azores. The Department of State would like to keep under review the request of the Department of Defense that an attempt be made during the negotiations to extend United States peacetime rights under the Defense Agreement for the duration of NATO.[Page 1757]
Once negotiations are undertaken, the Department of State, as you request, will inform the Department of Defense of the progress of the negotiations and will submit to the Department of Defense for review, prior to signature, any arrangements considered satisfactory by the United States representative.
- Drafted by Thompson and cleared with Rogers.↩