151. Telegram From the Embassy in Portugal to the Department of State1

813. Reference: Deptel 628.2 I met yesterday with Salazar for one hour forty minutes. Found him mentally alert as ever but physically somewhat subdued (I had heard that he recently recovered from pneumonia). He admitted he was tired.

After thanking for courtesies shown me throughout Portuguese Africa, I made 40-minute uninterrupted presentation which covered both observations on my trip and USG position with respect problem of Portuguese territories, along same lines as my talk with Franco Nogueira (Embtel 764)3 extended as per instructions set forth Deptel 628. Salazar listened intently and then engaged me in spirited one-hour discussion, memcon of which will be pouched soon as possible.4 I can assure Department that points contained reference telegram were covered by me both forcefully and comprehensively. In strongest terms I urged Salazar produce public statement accepting reasonable concept of self-determination on basis of which extreme African pressures could be relieved, Portuguese image could be improved, and Portugal’s friends could rally in support of orderly, phased, peaceful solution to problem of general concern to us all.

Regret I must report that Salazar remained adamantly opposed any public statement on self-determination. He adduced familiar case of Belgian Congo and said with entire weight of evidence against [Page 313] prospects any orderly transition he could not understand why USG insisted upon trying invent yet one more formula. I told him we did so precisely to avoid repeating errors of past. Salazar said that while Nationalist pressures of today are from outside Angola and Mozambique they would promptly develop internally if GOP were to make public utterance of type we sought press upon it.

To my suggestion that Angolan refugees with exception known criminals be welcomed back into that province, Salazar replied that GOP quite willing accept them and even Congo Leopoldville probably quite glad be relieved of them, but that armed forces of Holden Roberto physically prevented their return except for small groups which manage straggle across frontier and reach Portuguese reception stations.

Salazar readily agreed with my assertion need for massive investment to develop material and human resources Portuguese Africa. Cited drain imposed on Portuguese development funds and capabilities by present military situation as basis for view political solution must precede economic. As regards specifically private investment, I mentioned need for political stability as one essential ingredient in favorable investment climate. He responded by comparing stability offered by Portuguese administration in Africa with that offered by newly-independent African states. Enlarging upon this, Salazar said he did not know about US but that private investors from European countries seemed willing invest in Portuguese Africa and were still doing so at present time. To him this suggested that they found business conditions more promising there than in independent Africa and that they did not attach too great importance to terrorism in Northern Angola.

Only point upon which Salazar readily fell in with our thinking had to do with continued Luso-African conversations. He professed see these as unproductive due to fact participants operating on entirely different wave lengths but smilingly expressed his willingness carry them on if we felt this advisable.

On balance I could perceive no real give or hint of prospective change in Salazar’s position. He made clear and explicit his belief that USG efforts are misdirected and that morally and realistically we should be pressing African states to withdraw support from terrorists who impede political, economic and social evolution of Portuguese Africa rather than pressuring Portugal to take steps which could only lead to instability and retrogression.

Salazar remained personally friendly throughout entire discussion and at its conclusion thanked me for report upon my African travels. Again I was amazed at the amount of detailed knowledge he has over an area which he has never visited.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 PORT. Confidential.
  2. Document 150.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 150.
  4. Transmitted in airgram A-520, May 9. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 PORT)