154. Letter From Secretary of State Dulles to Foreign Minister Cunha1

My Dear Friend: In the most difficult days in which we find ourselves, I feel compelled to appeal to you personally to review again the position which I am informed your Government has taken with respect to the future of our relationship in the Azores. In doing so, I am not unmindful of the degree of accommodation which you have shown in offering to extend for one year the period specified in the Defense Agreement of 1951 for the completion of the agreed facilities, as well as the indication that there would be no objection on the part of your Government to our proceeding with certain construction works and improvements of urgent military importance. Finally, I understand that you regard this as a temporary solution and that it is [Page 463] the intention of your Government to enter into further negotiations with us early in the New Year for the purpose of arriving at a more definitive arrangement between us on this subject.

The question of the peacetime use of facilities in the Azores seems to me one which we should look upon as a contribution which Portugal and the United States can make, not without real sacrifices on both sides, but in our mutual interest and that of the entire Atlantic Community.

It has always been our view that since the Azores Defense Agreement was negotiated under the aegis of NATO, it would be logical that the peacetime facilities granted by your Government should coincide with the period of the North Atlantic Treaty. Indeed, this has been widely accepted as a valid concept by other of our NATO partners in comparable agreements which we have entered into with them, and I commend it to your serious consideration. In any event, particularly since the imminent expiration of our peacetime arrangements in the Azores is public knowledge, I feel that any further postponement of the main issue or any extension of the 1951 Agreement for a period less than the term specified therein would inevitably be regarded by both our friends and our potential enemies as a further blow to NATO.

Recent events in Hungary and the Near East have reminded us all that, whatever hopes may have been entertained for “peaceful coexistence” in the same world with International Communism, the Soviet menace, even if it does not break upon us in the near future, will remain hanging over us for a considerable time. In the circumstances, it behooves all of us to do everything in our power to strengthen and support the Atlantic Community and its NATO shield, and it is in this spirit that I am now addressing this personal appeal to you.

With warmest personal regards.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 821. Delivered on December 12.