147. Telegram From the Embassy in Portugal to the Department of State 1

591. I met with Foreign Minister Franco Nogueira this morning discussing with him current Portuguese-American problems exclusive of Azores and request for Consulate in Beira, both of which I felt were untimely. Foreign Minister in calm, relaxed mood listened attentively before talking.

First subject was desirability of unilateral Portuguese move on self-determination in which I presented all items mentioned Department telegram 4442 plus relation this matter to recent press statement by U Thant in which he excused himself for not visiting Portuguese Africa due to wide divergence interpretations “self-determination.”3 Foreign Minister said he would give arguments serious consideration but reiterated his personal belief no dramatic move at this time would be helpful to Portugal. This I countered with forceful statement immediate future time for action more than any other of which I could conceive. Foreign Minister [said] SYG public announcement and reason for not accepting Portuguese invitation came as complete surprise, although they did not expect him to accept.

Second subject, related to foregoing, was Portuguese image and necessity to project to world current progressive measures being taken in Portuguese Africa together with reforms which have been and are being made. This led to importance avoid antagonizing friendly elements by such actions as totally unjustified wave of critical editorials and anti-American attitude manifested in radio and TV. I mentioned harmful effect on Portuguese image by their actions re Protestant missionaries in Africa, pointing out that vast majority these people engaged in humane evangelical work and furtherance beliefs of millions [Page 307] Americans anxious to serve mankind. These missionaries should not be penalized nor their supporting groups alienated because of possible irritation Portuguese authorities with indiscreet actions of a few. No comment by Foreign Minister.

This led to discussion recognition of Communist China; hoped he would understand US concern over French actions and emphasized points set forth Department telegram 455.4 I said I had read reports GOP considering recognition Communist China and hoped such consideration would not lead to affirmative decision on matter, which would only expose Portugal to Communist influence and subversion and would alienate large segment American people friendly to Portugal. Foreign Minister stated he did not know exact reasons French took actions they had re recognition of Communist China nor was he in any position to judge. However, he did say he fully understood American feelings. He stated Portugal had de facto arrangement on Macau but necessarily had to consider longer range problem Macau as well as long-range commercial interests. He stated matter under consideration as had been many times before. However, was not related to French decision nor was for purpose of irritating or alienating US. He stated quite frankly any decision, if made, would not be in near future. “You do not have to worry.”

Portugal greatly apprehensive effects of Chou-en-Lai visit to Africa.5 Foreign Minister considers this master stroke of ChiCom diplomacy. Agreed with our concern Chinese ambitions. However, felt matter even more serious that we do as ChiCom approach type that appeals to Africans.

In response to my question about decision on Loran-C,6 Foreign Minister apologized delay in response but stated both Defense Minister and he had been out of country and said he would get me reply “next week.”

Foreign Minister indicated information requested by Secretary Rusk on terrorist operations across frontiers in Africa was being typed by his office and would be delivered to Secretary through me within day or so.7

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I expressed appreciation for prospect forthcoming action PL-4808 matter and indicated there was good possibility early consummation agreement on cotton textiles. Foreign Minister grateful efforts of Department but said he was not personally familiar with details.

I mentioned hope that I might visit African territories sometime near future provided no Portuguese objection. Foreign Minister stated not only no objection but visit would be most welcome. In fact, he was sending circulars to all diplomatic representatives here urging them to see for themselves what is going on in Portuguese Africa. I thanked him for his views as necessary preliminary to consultation with Department on such visit.

I stated I had been Portugal some months and felt it desirable to talk to Dr. Salazar. Foreign Minister indicated certain Dr. Salazar would be pleased to receive me at any time. Have initiated request for interview with him for early next week at which time will present again arguments made to Foreign Minister re statement on self-determination, improvement of Portuguese image, US views on recognition Communist China, and need for early affirmative action on Loran-C.9

Full memos of conversation being pouched.10

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 1 PORT. Secret.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXIV, Document 414.
  3. Pursuant to a Security Council resolution of December 11, 1963, the Secretary-General was instructed to take steps to promote “self-determination” for Portugal’s colonial territories. For text of UN document S/5481, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pp. 161-162. The Secretary-General summarized this effort in SYG report S/5727, May 29, 1964.
  4. Telegram 455, January 22, instructed the Embassy to sound out government officials on Portugal’s policy regarding China. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 16 CHICOM)
  5. January 11-February 4, 1964.
  6. The request was made December 17 during the NATO Ministerial meeting in Paris. A memorandum of conversation is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Portuguese Desk Files: Lot 68 D 401, Pol Port-US.
  7. Not further identified.
  8. For text of P.L. 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, see 68 Stat. 454.
  9. Anderson reported on his January 30 meeting with Salazar in telegram 605 from Lisbon, January 31. Anderson pressed for Portuguese cooperation with UN self-determination issues. Salazar was preoccupied with the effect of Chou’s African visit. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 10 PORT)
  10. The memorandum of conversation was sent to the Department in airgram A-328, January 29. (Ibid., POL 1 PORT)