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

121. Ref: CA-2167 and Deptel 96.2 Leddy summarized ref airgram to Garin, September 23, including US responses to FonMin’s complaints, [Page 333] reaffirmation US interest in Azores base and Loran-C negotiations and introduction new U.S. proposal for peaceful solution Portuguese African question.

On complaint list, Garin did not recall or had difficulty recalling FonMin’s original points on tantalite, Italian mortars and armored cars. Garin only made more than cursory comments or rebuttals on questions of Roberto’s passport, U.S. aid to refugees and F-84 engines.
Re issuance visa to Roberto, Garin repeated continuing GOP position that it cannot understand how USG could knowingly put visa in false passport.
Re aid to refugees, Garin stated GOP does not deny humanitarian principles which motivate US but GOP believes USG help discourages refugees from returning to Angola. Moreover, notwithstanding US statements to contrary, GOP believes most of aid goes into “Roberto’s pockets.” Said great desire GOP is for refugees return to Angola. Said Red Cross has inspected and praised their repatriation program. Said they would welcome great mass of refugees back and only small minority of hard-core terrorists would not be acceptable and that U.S. refugee program frustrates their efforts by creating “permanent” refugee situation. Leddy pointed out refugees are fed under program for only one year then dropped from rolls—that clothing is offered once only, except in event emergency—and that no food is going to Angolan exile military forces and no clothing to members their families. He concluded, difficult see how such humanitarian program could significantly contribute any prolongation refugee situation. Garin reaffirmed GOP point-of-view.
F-84 engines—Garin maintained procedure was “new thing” and could not see why presence F-84 aircraft in Africa and metropole should call for more detailed verification than if all aircraft located in metropole. In general discussion US arms policy, he injected that GOP has always believed US was behind arms restrictive paragraph of original UN resolution and recalled Ambassador Stevenson asking him during debate agree to “one tiny sanction” in resolution.

Leddy reaffirmed basic US policy objective maintaining friendly and constructive relations with Portugal, covering points Section II Paras A and B of CA-2167. He said as Ambassador Anderson had given FonMin memo of partial list of instances in which U.S. has acted to oppose or moderate action against Portugal, we would do same for Garin.

Garin restated GOP analysis of origin difficulties in U.S.-Portuguese relations. Said USG and GOP, aside from ideological differences, were until 1961, “friends without difficulties, now we are friends with difficulties.” Garin recalled that in 1961 SC Angola de [Page 334] bate,3 USG made 180-degree turn in policy and unlike UK and France, who abstained, voted against Portugal. This act regarded as great blow in Portugal and as giving radical Africans and terrorists green light. Said Portuguese, who at great risk had given US and UK Azores facilities during war, thus exposing themselves to German retaliations (bombing of Lisbon, for example), were stunned by US suddenly turning against them.

Leddy reaffirmed US interest in Azores and Loran-C, stating we had done our best track down and investigate all of FonMin’s complaints which FonMin said made it difficult for him reconcile with our requests. Garin replied seemed obvious that by granting these increased facilities Portugal increased its vulnerability to Soviet attack. Difficult for GOP justify to Portuguese public that it would agree greater defense facilities of its allies without improving Portuguese defense facilities and by this Garin said, must understand that defense of Portugal means all of Portugal, including Angola and Mozambique and other overseas territories. Without changing our countries’ basic policies (i.e. for U.S.—policy on arms and self-determination), Garin said, some way must be found help Portugal improve defense its territories by offering Portugal “counterparts.” Leddy observed this sounded like very difficult task and pointed out Loran-C may increase Portuguese vulnerability but at same time greatly improved defense posture of all NATO allies, including Portugal. Garin agreed but indicated GOP did not believe this was sufficient inducement for GOP agree and emphasized some ways and means must be found so that GOP can justify to Portuguese public opinion that Portuguese security would be additionally improved and this security must include territories.
Leddy outlined proposal made by Anderson to Foreign Minister, September 2,4 saying US advancing plan as possible constructive program in working out eventual peaceful solution Portuguese African problem. Leddy said Anderson asked FonMin consider Portugal publicly accepting principle self-determination for African territories on basis definite timetable. In exchange, Africans would agree suspension all anti-Portuguese activities. US and NATO allies would publicly support plan. US would be responsive Portuguese request for arms if we satisfied deliberate and organized violations had taken place and would be sympathetic Portuguese requests for support in UN. During transition period leading to plebiscite, US and NATO allies would be prepared, at Portuguese request, provide economic and technical assistance in support GOP efforts develop territories and prepare inhabitants [Page 335] exercise of self-determination. Leddy said aim US proposal is to ensure peaceful solution Portuguese African question and is based on belief that such solution can only come about through dialogue between Portuguese and Africans.

Garin said his reply not represent GOP response to proposal but reflected what he thought reaction in Lisbon would be as FonMin had probably already indicated to Anderson, to wit:

Based on GOP experience with Africans at aborted 1963 talks at New York,5 Africans only interested in self-determination which leads to independence. Africans rejected Portuguese offer of plebiscite—Africans would not accept plebiscite which resulted in anything but independence—difficult for Africans retreat from this position to open choice now proposed.
GOP concerned that once it agreed plebiscite, it would be confronted with difficult conditions under which it would be held, such as withdrawal Portuguese troops and entry all kinds of undesirables, “Ghanaians, etc.” GOP fears that with such conditions imposed, Angola would go down the drain in eight days, like Congo.
GOP not against self-determination and, in fact, is practicing it in territories where all inhabitants have full rights of citizens. Admitted condition of one man, one vote not yet achieved but this also true elsewhere in world. However, GOP moving in that direction.
On whole, Portugal believes its position in Africa steadily growing stronger, therefore, it would hesitate voluntarily weaken its position through some political action such as contained in latest USG proposal.

Garin emphasized foregoing did not represent GOP reply.

Comment: Garin did not appear have received very complete report Anderson-FonMin meeting, although he seemed well-informed on proposal and FonMin’s reaction. He did not take notes during conversation and was alone.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US. Secret. Drafted by Funseth and approved by Leddy.
  2. Regarding CA-2167, see footnotes 2 and 4, Document 163. Telegram 96 to Lisbon, September 14, is not printed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL PORT-US)
  3. Apparent reference to the December 19, 1961, U.S. vote on a UN Security Council resolution establishing a program for assistance to refugees from Angola.
  4. See Document 163.
  5. Reference is to informal talks held during the 1963 UN General Assembly debate on Angola.