363. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Under Secretary of State (Ball) and the Portuguese Ambassador (Noguiero)0


  • UN Resolution re Portuguese African Territories

Mr. Ball returned the Ambassador’s call at 6:10 p.m. after returning from a morning and afternoon session on the Hill. He apologized to the Ambassador for not being able to get back to him earlier. The Ambassador said that he was under instructions to approach the Secretary or Acting [Page 566] Secretary to take up the question of our position on the UN resolution re the Portuguese-African territories.1 Mr. Ball explained the position that Mr. Yates had taken during the afternoon’s discussion in New York.2 Mr. Ball added that we had felt our position would have been helped if the Portuguese delegation in New York had had advance talks with us on the position that they were going to take. The Ambassador said that he was very disappointed in the position taken by the United States and was sure that his Government would share that view. He wondered why we had apparently changed our position from the strong and determined one we took in the General Assembly last December.

Mr. Ball explained that we took an affirmative position only on the matters where we had consistently expressed views in the past. As far as the sanctions were concerned, Mr. Ball said that we were very definite in our opposition. The Ambassador explained that he had hoped that the US, because of its position in the UN—the fact that it sets an example for other nations—could have taken a different position. He said that he considered this quite a setback. Mr. Ball reiterated that quite frankly we could have been more useful in persuading other nations if the Portuguese Government had been a little more forthcoming. In our opinion, the Afro-Asian Bloc had tried to be a little more restrained than they had in the past. After all, all they were suggesting was the reception of a mission to undertake discussions, and it had not seemed to us that the response of the Portuguese Government furnished any opportunity to start conversations in the UN that would be useful. The Ambassador explained that his Government had tried to be helpful but within their interpretation of the true meaning of the Charter. Mr. Ball said that as far as we could interpret the nature of the mission, the Portuguese were contemplating a kind of meeting with neighboring countries which would really be outside the framework of the UN. The Ambassador replied that he had thought that they were working within the UN because the original agreements and understandings would be based on recommendations and procedures of the UN.

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Mr. Ball concluded by saying once again that greater advance consultation with our delegation in New York should have occurred and that simply handing us a note did not make it easy for us to appreciate the Portuguese Government’s intentions. The Ambassador said that he understood and thanked Mr. Ball very much for his call.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 10 PORT/UN. Unclassified. Drafted by Hartman and approved in U on April 5.
  2. On April 4, the Committee of 24 (formerly the Committee of 17) adopted a draft resolution noting with deep regret and great concern the continued refusal of Portugal to cooperate in implementation of the U.N. resolutions relating to the territories under its administration; noting that Portugal had continued its repressive measures against the indigenous population by the use of military and other forces; and drawing the attention of the Security Council to the present situation with a view to its taking appropriate measures, including sanctions, to secure Portugal’s compliance with the relevant resolutions. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 19 to 0, with 5 abstentions (including the United States).
  3. U.S. Representative Sidney Yates had stated that because the United States was in sympathy with the attitude reflected in the draft resolution, it would not vote against the text as a whole. However, since the United States also had serious objections to some of the resolution’s provisions, it could not vote for the resolution and would abstain.