123. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Pickering) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1


  • Azores Base Agreement Renewal

The Agreement with Portugal to maintain our base rights in the Azores will expire on February 4, 1974, (with a negotiating period until August 4, 1974). Given the continuing strategic importance of the Lajes complex and its specific relevance to anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic, a new arrangement extending our access to these facilities must be sought. In return, the Portuguese will want as high an economic and policy price as they can get.

In July, 1973 Secretary Rogers had a preliminary conversation with the Portuguese Foreign Minister in Helsinki and stressed the importance of the base facilities to the whole Alliance. The Secretary suggested that the base be made available without compensation as Portugal’s contribution to Western defense. Foreign Minister Patricio expressed displeasure with the current agreement and indicated that Portugal expected to negotiate for better terms.

The Portuguese have agreed to our proposal that negotiations for future use of the base be held between the Portuguese Ambassador (Themido) and Under Secretary Porter. We plan to proceed slowly in getting into those discussions which will begin sometime in the fall.

Since the Portuguese have indicated that they are expecting to receive compensation for the base rights, we believe it would be highly desirable for Secretary-designate Kissinger to reaffirm to Foreign Minister Patricio in New York that we think the base should be provided free of charge, thus setting the stage for the subsequent Porter-Themido talks.

Thomas R. Pickering Executive Secretary
  1. Summary: Pickering discussed the renewal of the Azores Base Agreement.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 701, Country Files, Europe, Portugal, Vol. II (1972–1974) (2 of 2). Confidential. Executive Secretariat Staff member Raymond Seitz signed the memorandum on Pickering’s behalf.