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

93. Ref: CA-2167 August 23, 1965.2 To best of my ability in long conversation with FonMin Franco Nogueira on Sept 2 during which I able to do most of talking, I conveyed information and proposal contained reference instruction.

FonMin received in silence my oral denials of specific charges he had brought to attention Secretary and Under Secretary June 18.3 When he subsequently explained why he found certain answers difficult to accept, I stated my understanding Dept would be discussing in perhaps greater detail with Ambassador Garin.

FonMin accepted without substantive comment aide-mémoire I handed him covering recent record of US assistance and demonstrated friendship for Portugal in international forums.4

FonMin’s reply to my restatement of USG interest in Azores base agreement and Loran-C facilities is reported separately but essentially left status these matters unchanged for the present.

Finally and using approach suggested CA-2167, I broached proposal for peaceful solution Portuguese territories problem. I prefaced this by emphasizing to FonMin in highly personal manner that proposal being offered in spirit of friendship and sincerity and should not be misconstrued as attempt to “buy” Portuguese Africa or in fact to displace Portuguese interests, influence or presence there. We were in fact suggesting “flag which they themselves could raise and about which their friends and moderate Africans could rally.”

FonMin listened attentively and with evident and increasing interest. He also took notes which I have never seen him do before. From his facial expression I gathered that most elements in package made considerable impression on him.

Upon conclusion my presentation FonMin said that he obviously could not comment immediately and officially upon proposal of such scope. Said that it would require personal consideration by Salazar and [Page 332] other members of govt. FonMin did single out as elements of difficulty the role of political parties during interim period, problem of political campaigns, coverage of amnesty and repatriation arrangements, and identity and character of what I had mentioned as “international observers” at plebiscite. I was encouraged, however, by fact he did not reject my suggestion these be considered implementation details to be worked out only after decision taken as to acceptability of proposal in principle and broad outline. FonMin promised bring proposal Salazar’s attention and I indicated expectation I would subsequently request appointment discuss it further with both of them.

Believe time now appropriate for Dept call in and discuss with Garin. Strongly recommend, however, effort be concentrated on emphasizing broad outline and to de-emphasize features difficult for GOP until latter has had time absorb over-all concept and gain some appreciation potential advantages vis-à-vis continuation present course of action. If proposal conceivably can get away from starting wire I am confident prospects will thereafter be better for negotiating on specific identity of “observers” and other such sticky items. FonMin did state very positive belief GOP that “time on their side” and internal situations Angola and Mozambique “solid.” I must also caution against any over-optimism that Dr. Salazar can be persuaded to alter the firm convictions which all available evidence points that he continues to hold. As final thought and one I consider essential safeguard, I strongly recommend absolutely no mention of proposal be made any other nation without our so informing GOP in advance.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US. Secret. There is no time of transmission on the telegram, which was received at 12:55 p.m.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XXIV, Document 433.
  3. See Document 161.
  4. The text was adapted from instructions contained in circular airgram CA-2167. The Embassy reported on Nogueira’s response and summarized the aide-mémoire in telegram 97 from Lisbon, September 7. (Both in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US)