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

15. Had two-hour session with FonMin July 6. First briefed him on current US views on Congo and Algeria drawing on material furnished me by Department (Deptel Topol 2002 to Paris and CA-13499, both dated June 23, 1964).2 FonMin grateful for report. Second, commented on recent action by Committee of 24. FonMin indicated his pleasure over remarks and vote of US representative in contrast to that of Denmark.

With foregoing as preamble stated substance of Department and personal indignation over allegations and insinuations by GOP officers to Carlos Lacerda following instructions Deptel 7733 point by point. I vigorously denied assertions US supplied any arms to terrorists and that US policy in any way based on economic imperialism or efforts displace Belgian or Portuguese business interests. FonMin denied insinuations stemmed from own conversation with Lacerda and stated would check with Doctor Salazar as to whether came from him.

[Page 322]

Then confronted FonMin with article in edition number 51964 of Aussen Politik by German editor (Handelsblatt, Dusseldorf) Hunck containing direct quotations from interview with FonMin. Statement was to effect he considered US real enemy of Portuguese in Africa. FonMin read carefully then categorically denied accuracy of either substance or tenor his attributed comment. Said he would investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action through his Ambassador in Bonn.

Next raised with FonMin question of F-86’s in Portuguese Guinea, stating my concern and disillusionment GOP had not fulfilled firm commitment of past December and most recently of May 18 to withdraw aircraft. FonMin greatly embarrassed and stated all my points and arguments absolutely valid. However, he had had problems with MinDef who felt presence F-86’s in Portuguese Guinea necessary as “deterrent” but who had agreed they would not be used for operational missions. I countered with long dissertation and FonMin said he would talk again with MinDef.4

Then raised again subject continuing restriction against any further sale of tantalite from Mozambique to Soviet Union expressing necessity for this action to avoid conflict with Battle Act.5 FonMin said he was under heavy pressure from Mozambique to authorize shipment and went into long legalistic monologue. Although he is fully aware US position, will raise problem including Battle Act requirement on reporting on earlier shipments, at next meeting (Embtel 2 to Lourenco Marques repeated Department 14).6

I referred to current editorial in Diario de Noticias which stated that in covering forthcoming trip of Portuguese President Thomaz hoped would not be victim of “conspiracy of silence in international press.” I cautioned FonMin not to expect significant coverage in US press since if all went well visit would simply not be major item of news value to US papers, radio and TV. There existed no “conspiracy” or even suggestion of playing down story of trip. FonMin denied any insinuation against US press and said he hoped their own house was in better order than on occasion of last year’s visit of President to Angola.

On Loran-C FonMin said he was awaiting list of things wanted by MinDef and hoped to be able to provide same by end of week for US study while concurrently a site survey might be conducted.

[Page 323]

FonMin expressed gratitude for offer by US Navy of quonset huts for Azores7 and apologized for delay in reply due to necessity for consultation other Ministries (Embtel 7).8

Comment: In connection foregoing two items, we must recognize that in spite of all pressure things move frustratingly slowly in this “Federation of Ministries.”

Meeting concluded with FonMin assessment things going very well in Angola, quiet in Mozambique and getting better in Portuguese Guinea where few months ago situation very bad due to “civil war” between Portuguese military and civil authorities.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US. Confidential.
  2. Telegram Topol 2002 to Paris, June 23, provided guidance regarding U.S. policy in the Congo. (Ibid., POL 23-7 THE CONGO) Circular airgram CA-13499, June 23, provided an assessment of the situation in Algeria. (Ibid., POL 1 ALG)
  3. Document 155.
  4. In telegram 26 from Lisbon, July 10, Anderson reported that the Portuguese Secretary of State for Air stated that the F-86s would be removed from Guinea to the Cape Verde Islands and restricted from flying over Guinea. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Portugal, Vol. 1)
  5. For text of the Battle Act, the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951, P.L. 218, approved October 26, 1951, see 65 Stat. 218.
  6. Telegram 14 from Lisbon, July 7, reported that the Ambassador raised the tantalite issue with Noguiera and requested instructions on African policy. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, STR 13-1 USSR-MOZ)
  7. An earthquake struck the islands on February 19.
  8. Not printed.