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

165146. Subject: Foreign Minister Patricio’s Visit to Washington. Ref: Lisbon 2760 and 2795.2 For Ambassador from Assistant Secretary Hillenbrand.

1. We are pleased that Foreign Minister Rui Patricio has accepted Secretary’s invitation to working luncheon November 9 to be preceded by meeting in Secretary’s office.

2. Of concern however is Foreign Minister’s continued insistence of drawing parallel between Azores base negotiation and recently concluded Spanish base negotiations. It is important that two apparent misconceptions on his part be cleared up before he comes to Washington.

(a) First and basic is Portuguese gauging expectations to results of Spanish negotiations. Foreign Minister fails to take into account that the quid pro quo arranged with Spain was in lieu of a U.S. security guarantee to Spain. GOS indicated to us many times that Spanish primary interest was in a security guarantee but in the face of our flat refusal to give them such commitment Spain asked for military equipment to carry out its own defense. As NATO member Portugal has for over 20 years had security guarantee Spaniards so avidly desire. As U.S. needed bases in Spain we were forced to develop a quid pro quo package for our continued use of the bases but within the Alliance, where we have many bases, no such quid pro quos are given or appropriate.

(b) Second misconception is Portuguese exaggerated ideas apparently based on erroneous news reports, about the scope and size of U.S. package for Spain. You were right in attempting to disabuse FonMin of idea that price tag amounted to $500 million. In fact total appropriated funds of entire five-year period of agreement with Spain amounts to $64 million for both military and non-military projects. $35 million of [Page 820] this amount will come from Air Force budget for modernization of ACW facilities largely used by USG forces stationed in Spain.

3. We understand well however that GOP needs to save face internally and show that it derives some direct material benefits from our continued presence in the Azores. In view of the exaggerated and disturbing ideas expressed to you by FonMin we consider it important that prior to any detailed talks on technical level the Secretary in a friendly and frank talk with the Foreign Minister place in proper focus our interests in the Azores and any price we may be willing and able to pay. Any advance discussions by technicians would only tend to exacerbate the problem as Portuguese undoubtedly would not consider our offer sufficiently attractive. Once the Secretary and the Foreign Minister have realistically discussed the scope and nature of possible U.S. assistance, the technicians can take over.

4. FYI: In addition to PL–480 program we are also looking into the possibility of offering the Portuguese an oceanographic research vessel which may be available in a reduced state of readiness. This could be considered as part of closer scientific cooperation between U.S. and Portugal. We are also investigating possibility of obtaining some ASW vessels (DE’s) to be transferred to GOP under ship loan legislation. As these vessels can be used only for clearly definable NATO defensive purposes we foresee manageable reaction from African nations. End FYI.

5. As we outlined earlier we anticipate no political problems with increased scientific cooperation in oceanographic field. We believe however that any overall agreement, including economic, financial and cultural cooperation as envisaged by FonMin will cause us problems with the African states without commensurate benefit to GOP. From experience we learned that in many cases these agreements are of limited practical value.

6. Should FonMin specifically raise the example in U.S. Spanish agreement of cooperation in educational field, you might point out that our proposed assistance ties into the Spanish educational reform law which patterns Spanish education system along U.S. lines and which was recently adopted after years of study by GOS officials.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL PORT–US. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by Landau; cleared in SCI, PM, CU, AF, and by the Department of Defense (all initialed by Landau), and in EUR; and approved by Hillenbrand.
  2. In telegram 2760 from Lisbon, September 26, Knight reported that Patricio was “becoming visibly impatient with leisurely pace of USG’s preparations for Azores negotiations” and was pressing for a deal that would parallel that made with Spain. (Ibid., POL 7 PORT) Telegram 2795 from Lisbon, September 30, reported that Patricio was pleased with the proposed date for his talk with Rogers and was also interested in a meeting with the President. (Ibid.)