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

444. Lisbon’s 559.2 You should seek early appointment with Fonmin and, if you believe it advisable, Primin Salazar, to consult on following problem.

Developments in early months 1964 could significantly affect future course events in Portuguese territories. In first place, it clear from growing Chicom presence and Chou En-lai visits that Red China embarking on major political offensive in Africa. This will see Chicom effort to identify themselves with African movements and to increase their influence among nationalist groups by generous offers of assistance. Recent reports of GRAE leader Roberto’s intention accept these offers show that Chicom offensive cannot fail affect situation in Portuguese territories. This in Chicom view is made-to-order situation pitting non-whites against European, NATO power in “liberation struggle” which offers glittering opportunity deal blow to West and at same time assert superiority Chicom revolutionary ideology over that of USSR.

Second, African Fonmin meeting late February will be in effect caucus to outline strategy on Portugal and other issues. Once African line set and announced, flexibility African moderates these issues seriously curtailed. If meeting took place today result would probably be hardened African stance reflecting growing opinion among African states that Portuguese policies antagonistic to aspirations peoples Portuguese territories.

These two elements show that situation in overseas provinces becoming more acute, as Under Secretary Ball had predicted, and that moves along lines suggested by Under Secretary more necessary than before. For this reason we desire consult GOP on problem and to solicit suggestions for dealing with it. We also have proposals to make as to immediate actions which we hope will be received as serious expressions of our concern at a trend of events we consider adverse for Portugal unless new elements injected into it.

We believe one of most hopeful elements which would in the first instance seize initiative and encourage African response would be Por tuguese [Page 718] move encouraging resumption Portuguese-African dialogue under UNSYG auspices. Review of Fonmin’s statements in Washington indicates GOP prepared meet again with African reps on condition that there be no conditions. While some Africans reportedly prepared urge resumption on this basis, majority maintain talks futile without some Portuguese acknowledgment that self-determination is valid political goal for peoples its African territories. Fonmin has acknowledged that definition self-determination contained UNGA resolution 15143 and reaffirmed in SC res S/5481 or December 11, 1963,4 (“All peoples have right to self-determination; by virtue that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”) has advantages for Portugal (USUN 2502).5 We believe Portugal disserving own interests by refusing become advocate this principle. Moreover, S/5481 also reaffirmed that self-determination offers options of sovereign independence, association or integration with independent states, thereby meeting Fonmin’s insistence that independence not be posed as sole option.

You should therefore propose to Fonmin and/or Salazar that GOP make early public statement endorsing self-determination in this sense as goal Portuguese policies and programs. If Portugal were to make such a statement, US efforts to bring about resumption of talks and place difficulties in way Chicom penetration would be greatly strengthened. If Portuguese have alternate suggestions which would contribute achievement these goals, we would be pleased receive them.

In presenting above proposal you may in your discretion also draw on following:

Secretary recently told Nogueira in Paris that we keenly aware progress made by Portugal in Africa last year and we regret GOP not making best case for itself internationally. Continued Portuguese rejection self-determination seems unnecessarily injurious its cause in light current reforms (Luanda’s A–107).6
Weeks ahead will be optimum time for Portugal make unilateral gesture unattributable external pressures.
As Secretary made clear at Paris, we strongly deprecate violations of Portuguese territories’ borders. Our support of self-determination in no sense implies our support of interventionist or expansionist aspirations or predatory attacks in any form by one nation against territory of another. This position has been set forth publicly and privately. [Page 719] This position, and approaches we have made to Congolese and certain Africans in same sense and to warn of Chicom subversion, are responsive to Franco Nogueira’s insistence that US make same efforts with others as we make with Portugal. However, our chances for success in any approaches we might make to Africans would be limited without Portuguese statement on self-determination.
In event Portuguese do make a forthright statement accenting self-determination (as defined by UN SC Res S/5481), we would be prepared publicly to welcome this development to urge again Africans participate in discussions with the Portuguese, and to reiterate our view that they should eschew force in pressing for change in Portuguese territories.

(FYI) For your background and such use with Portuguese as you may deem appropriate, following is assessment of Congo-Angola interaction:

More than 250,000 Africans have moved from Angolan territory to Congo. Border is vast and we assume its control is extremely difficult. As GOP knows we have repeatedly pointed out to GOC our aversion to violent actions and our hope that Angolan problems will find peaceful solution. Congolese leaders have indicated their personal hopes that such solution might be found, but at same time are faced with great internal and external pressures to favor nationalists and hasten settlement. We shall continue make these views known to GOC leaders. However, it must be realized that our capability in this domain has definite limitations; USG in any event convinced that in unlikely hypothesis Adoula and other moderate Congolese leaders were to take strong measures against Angolan nationalists, their Government would be short lived and would be replaced by less moderate regime which would probably soon turn to Communists for guidance and support. Present GOC recently indicated their concern re Chicom involvement with Angolan nationalists and stated that Chicom technicians would not be welcome in Congo. (End FYI)

Should Franco Nogueira question you re possibility Portuguese recourse to Security Council, for example, on Cabinda incident, you should reply in accord memo being forwarded you by Cleveland. You should point out that SC might well follow pattern of 1946 UN Commission to investigate Greek border incidents. Commission given broad mandate conduct investigation in all areas concerned and elucidate causes and nature border violations. Africans likely press hard for including authority examine “underlying causes,” i.e., issue self-deter mination [Page 720] in terms reference UN body created to investigate Portuguese complaint.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 10 PORT/UN. Confidential. Drafted by Robert H. Edwards of IO/UNP and Officer in Charge of Portuguese Affairs Robert Barbour; cleared by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs William C. Burdett, Cleveland, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs Marshall Green, and Williams; and approved by Harriman and Ball. Repeated to USUN and Leopoldville, and by pouch to London, Madrid, Luanda, Lourenco Marques, Abidjan, Tunis, Lagos, and Addis Ababa.
  2. Dated January 14. (Ibid.)
  3. For text of Resolution 1514, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 14, 1960, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, pp. 110–111.
  4. For text, see ibid., 1963, pp. 161–162.
  5. Dated December 14, 1963. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 10 PORT/UN)
  6. Dated November 22, 1963. (Ibid., POL 12 ANG)
  7. In telegram 591 from Lisbon, January 24, Ambassador George Anderson reported that he had presented all the items in the telegram to Foreign Minister Franco Nogueira that morning. (Ibid., POL 1 PORT–US) Telegram 591 is scheduled to be printed in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XII , Portugal compilation.