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

214. Ref: Deptels 169 and 171.2 Met yesterday for nearly two hours with Prime Minister Salazar. He appeared good physical condition for man his age and mentally alert as ever.

Principal topic conversation was USG proposal looking toward peaceful orderly settlement of problem Portuguese African territories. Emphasizing that much thought, serious effort and goodwill toward Portugal were embodied therein, I outlined in detail for Salazar proposal contained CA-2167.3 I urged that if Prime Minister and his advisers saw any possibility hostilities, suffering and destruction increasing in Portuguese Africa they should give most serious consideration this proposal which did not seek elimination Portuguese presence Africa but rather a constructive approach to resolving confrontation between that presence and expanding force of African nationalism.

Salazar listened attentively and evidenced awareness my previous discussion this subject with FonMin September 2 as well as Dept presentation thereof to Garin.4 He brought up FonMin’s September 1965 letter5 and problems cited therein, observed that USG appears accept [Page 341] as basic assumption invincibility of African nationalism, and said Portuguese experience indicates civilization and preparation for self government of native peoples take much longer than USG appears believe. To each of these observations I made appropriate reply and Salazar showed self ready discuss in serious friendly fashion.

As conversation drew to close Salazar assured me GOP has given, is giving, and will continue give serious consideration our proposal. Urged me continue discuss with FonMin and suggested latter might treat subject during forthcoming visit United States. I in turn expressed hope GOP would as occasion permits pursue useful dialogue with appropriate African leaders.

In résumé, Salazar appeared convinced as ever GOP course of action in Africa is correct. He does appear view future with some apprehension but sees this as fault of great powers for having prematurely relinquished control. Very clear to me Salazar personally calling shots GOP foreign policy but I am mildly hopeful our conversation may have stirred some new thinking.6

Memcon follows.7

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 10 PORT. Secret; Limdis. There is no time of transmission on the telegram, which was received at 10:05 a.m.
  2. In telegram 169 to Lisbon, October 19, the Department of State provided guidance for discussions with Salazar on African issues. (Ibid.) In telegram 171, October 19, the Department elaborated its views regarding self-determination for Portuguese Africa. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnotes 2 and 4, Document 163.
  4. See Documents 163 and 164.
  5. Document 165.
  6. In airgram A-276, February 7, 1966, Anderson reported that on January 28, 1966, Nogueira responded: “Were Portugal to follow these suggestions hellip; within six months the territories would be in chaos.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 10 PORT)
  7. Transmitted in airgram A-162 from Lisbon, November 3. (Ibid.)