161. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Portugal1

697. Following based on uncleared memcon, Noforn, FYI and subject to revision:2

In three hour session June 18 with FonMin Franco Nogueira and Ambassador Garin, the Secretary, Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary Leddy patiently reviewed gamut of US-Portuguese problems. Nogueira reiterated all too familiar complaints about US policy in Africa well as NATO shortcomings in failing recognize defense problems all of Portuguese nation, i.e. Portuguese Africa. Referring to current satisfactory security conditions in Angola and Mozambique and increased willingness African moderates stand up to radicals, Nogueira said these gains offset by continuing Communist subversion and arms shipments to Africa.

FonMin then embarked upon recitation of bill of tendentious particulars as evidence US is “hostilizing” Portugal in Africa while requesting Portugal to grant base and other facilities in Atlantic area. Portuguese complaints, some of which new, centered around familiar themes—alleged US aid to nationalists, especially Holden Roberto; restrictions on US arms sales and discouragement of foreign suppliers, thus hampering Portuguese struggle against Communism in Africa; and unfriendly remarks allegedly made by American officials in running down Portuguese African policy and even criticizing Africans showing some understanding for it. Under such circumstances how, FonMin asked, would aroused Portuguese public opinion agree to GOP negotiations on Cape Verde tracking station, Loran C sites and Azores base? He thought some US clarification or explanation would be useful in smoothing off present rough edges in US-Portuguese relations.

Secretary said we would look into complaints but we would also like to send Nogueira list of occasions where we have stood by Portugal at UN and other international forums despite intense Afro-Asian criticism of US support of colonialism.3 Fact US subject such accusations is evidence US not following hostile policy toward Portugal nor [Page 329] advocating Portuguese be forced out of Africa. Pointed out it would be unfortunate for Portugal link Loran C and Azores, which are facilities needed for defense of NATO including Portugal, with African question since this would be difficult for US public and Congress to understand. Our suggestion that Portugal, which admittedly had done much to build up African territories while rejecting racism, attempt to improve its public stance by indicating greater willingness be guided by will of the peoples of Portuguese territories, orbited Nogueira into familiar tirade on definition of self-determination and why it impossible for Portugal fix any time schedule without releasing torrent of uncontrollable events. Developments subsequent to 1961 Angolan rebellion have clearly demonstrated rightness of Portuguese policies, Nogueira insisted. End uncleared memcon.

Comment: Nogueira said he would remain in Washington for several days and be available if we had anything further to discuss. We see nothing to be gained from additional talks at this time. Meanwhile we will examine long list of complaints which, in Secretary’s words, Portugal’s “over sensitive antennae,” have picked up. We will transmit results to Embassy at later date together with list of instances of US support for Portugal. Nogueira’s views discouraging in that they show no forward movement in Portuguese thinking on African problem, and if anything, some retrogression based no doubt on current success in controlling situations in their African territories. In any event, Nogueira talk here does not augur well for favorable Portuguese receptivity to Anderson or other such plans.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US. Confidential. Drafted by Funseth and McKillop and approved by Leddy. Repeated to Paris for USRO.
  2. Memoranda of the Rusk-Nogueira conversation are ibid.
  3. A July 14 memorandum from Buffum to McKillop with an attachment outlining U.S. actions in support of Portugal is in Department of State, Portuguese Desk Files: Lot 68 D 401, Visit of Foreign Minister.