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

71457. Subject: Meeting of Secretary with Portuguese Foreign Minister, November 17. Following is based on uncleared memcon,2 subject to revision, and sent FYI only Noforn. Principal topics discussed at two and one-half hour meeting between Secretary and Portuguese Foreign Minister Franco Nogueira, November 17, were as follows:

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NATO and Harmel Study3FonMin said GOP believes NATO should survive but does not believe it can survive unless it is reshaped, in at least two ways: first, increased political consultation in NATO of non-NATO problems such as Mid East, Cuba, South Viet Nam and Portuguese Africa; second, while NATO allies should not expect 100 percent support for respective non-NATO policies, no NATO ally should adopt position of hostility to an ally’s policy on any specific, non-NATO problem. In response Secretary’s question, he said GOP had no information on what France intended to do in NATO but shared Secretary’s impression that it was not present French intention to withdraw.
U.S. Vote in U.N. Fourth Committee4FonMin expressed GOP’s great appreciation that U.S. voted against resolution in UNGA 4th Committee on Portuguese territories.

Congo—At same time, Fon Min doubted USG fully realized Portugal’s surprise and hurt over USG siding with Congo on Congolese complaint about mercenaries entering Congo from Angola. Depth of Portuguese feeling explained by fact USG had never in past seven years, believed it necessary make public announcement of disfavor against Congolese Government about incursions by armed bands from Congo into Angola who had murdered between six and eight thousand Angolans of all races, sexes and ages. In Security Council, he charged that with exception of Mali and Nigeria, all Council members, including even Nigeria, favored changing language of consensus resolution from “condemning” attitude of Portugal to “deploring” Portugal’s attitude except US delegation which wanted “condemn” left in resolution and it was.5 FonMin said it was not important to GOP whether it was deplored or condemned by SC but US attitude was of great importance.

Secretary said USG had considerable interest in helping preserve unity of Congo and preventing it from fragmenting. He said US invested about half billion dollars in this policy. Soviets interested in Congo because it is big prize but so far had not succeeded in subverting Congo. He said we have been on thin ice in Congo with Schramme mercenary action threatening to set off massacre of whites. He emphasized US attaches no particular importance to any one leader in Congo—we have successively supported Adoula, Tshombe and now Mobutu—but we have supported whichever government was in power.

NigeriaFonMin said as in Congo, so also in Biafra, Portugal is being made scapegoat. He said everybody is helping Biafra—Rothschild Bank, Czechs, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, British—but Portugal is singled out for censure because it permits foreign flag aircraft, flown by foreign crews all who possess proper documentation to transmit Lisbon airport with cargoes acquired outside Portugal.6

RhodesiaFonMin stated Rhodesia is importing everything it requires including oil and is maintaining reasonable level of exports. Portuguese trade with Rhodesia, he said, is more or less at same level with some increase attributed to economic development in both places. He said everybody is trading with Rhodesia—Germany, Japan, France, Britain and even U.S. to name but a few—and these goods are passing through Mozambique. On oil, he said, GOP has documentation on all vessels arriving at Lourenco Marques and reported that Mozambique refinery continues sell its products to traditional South African customers who, he believes, instead of selling the products in South Africa are now selling to Rhodesia. But instead of applying pressure on South Africa or criticizing or condemning parties actually trading with Rhodesia, he said, Portugal is singled out for condemnation and is once more made scapegoat.

Secretary said he accepted FonMin’s point that Portugal should not be held responsible as “entrepot” for Rhodesia if others are trading with Rhodesia as FonMin said they were.

FonMin said strange as it may seem to US, GOP has no information on outcome of Thomson-Smith talks and asked Secretary what he knew. Secretary said quite frankly we know relatively little about results except impression not much accomplished. In response FonMin’s further question, Secretary said US did not know what British have in mind re Rhodesia.

Mid EastFonMin said GOP believed new presence Soviets in Mediterranean had made bigger impact in that area than West seemed to realize.
China—In response Secretary’s question, FonMin said he believed internal situation in China was more stable and that internal dispute had polarized between two factions: one led by Mao and other led by President Liu Shao-ch’i.
Invitation to SecretaryFonMin renewed invitation Secretary visit Lisbon, recalling Secretary forced cancel projected June visit when CENTO postponed. Secretary said he still hoped visit Lisbon and would check his schedule to see when such visit might be arranged.
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FonMin informed Secretary that he would be departing New York for Lisbon, November 22.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 7 PORT. Secret; Noforn; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Funseth, cleared by EUR, and approved by Stoessel.
  2. Not found.
  3. For text of the Harmel Study, “Future Tasks of the Alliance,” see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 321-323.
  4. Reference is to the U.S. decision not to support the report on Portuguese colonies.
  5. Security Council Resolution 241 (1967), adopted November 15, 1967. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1967, pp. 252-253.
  6. Reference is to the May 20 secession of Eastern Nigeria. Fighting between government and insurgent forces began in July.