131. Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Lord) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

Status of Azores Base Negotiations

This memo will bring you up to date on where we stand with respect to the negotiations with the Portuguese on renewal of the Azores Base agreement and to Department efforts to bring the Department of Defense on board on an agreed negotiating posture. I suggest you read this memo before your luncheon with Secretary Schlesinger on Friday, March 8, since our DOD contacts tell us that he may wish to discuss funding of a military quid pro quo package for Portugal at that time.

Negotiations with the Portuguese

In accordance with your instructions, Secretary Rush told Ambassador Themido on February 8 that we could provide the P–3s and naval sonar equipment for NATO purposes and that we were prepared, if the Portuguese agreed, to consult with Congress on whether we could also provide Sea Sparrow and/or Hawk missiles for use in Africa. Rush said that we could not provide C–130 transport planes or anti-tank weapons (because they had direct applicability against insurgency and we did not believe Congress would agree to provide them) or Red-eye [Typeset Page 459] missiles (because we were seeking agreement with the Soviet Union to prevent the spread of such missiles).

The Ambassador expressed disappointment that we were willing to consider only two (Sea Sparrow or Hawk missiles) of the five priority items they had requested for use in Africa. He also informed us that Portugal now wants six Asheville class naval vessels mounted with missiles instead of the ten Sea Sparrow systems earlier requested.

On February 12 the Portuguese Director General of Political Affairs informed our DCM in Lisbon that Foreign Minister Patricio had asked him to convey his government’s disappointment at the US response, particularly our refusal to supply C–130s. Our DCM inferred from the conversation that if we do not provide arms or equipment for use in Africa, Portugal may refuse to let us use Lajes for anything except strictly NATO purposes. And to retain the base even for those peacetime uses, we would be expected to provide a quid pro quo in the form of non-military assistance.

Ambassador Themido has been in Lisbon on consultations since February 17. He is expected to return shortly with his government’s response to our offer, including an answer on whether they wish us to go ahead with the Congressional consultation. Judging by their disappointment as regards the C–130s, it is possible the Portuguese will ask us to approach Congress with respect to C–130s as well as the missiles. Themido will also expect at that time to be told whether or not we will accept the proposed substitute of Asheville naval vessels (with missiles) for the Sea Sparrows as a subject for consultation with Congress.

Status of NSSM 189, which called for an Under Secretaries Committee Study on an Azores Base Negotiating Position

A draft paper has been cleared at the working level and distributed formally to members of the Under Secretaries Committee. With the exception of the one difference noted below, the paper brings DOD and the other agencies on board with respect to decisions heretofore reached within the Department. The paper’s recommendations go somewhat farther than the action you authorized in your memo of February 1. Thus, the Under Secretaries Committee study recommends:

—That, because of the difficulties and disadvantages of seeking to provide any military equipment without recourse to Congress, we seek new legislation from Congress to fund whatever quid pro quo package is agreed upon;

—That we apprise the Congressional leaders that the Portuguese, in addition to requesting Sea Sparrows and Hawk missiles for use against external attack, have also asked for other items for use in Africa, and that we try to assess Congressional reaction to providing C–130s as [Typeset Page 460] well as the missiles in the event that Portugal insists on delivery of C–130s as a sine qua non for renewal of the base agreement.

Because the Asheville is strictly a military vessel, with direct applicability against insurgency, the Under Secretaries Committee does not consider it an appropriate item for consultation with Congress.

The Members of the Under Secretaries Committee have been asked either to concur with the recommendation or to indicate their disagreement by c.o.b. March 8. Only DOD is expected to take a footnote and then on a legal issue rather than on a policy difference. It is DOD’s contention that the Administration cannot provide any of the items requested by Portugal from excess stocks or by reallocation from the FY–74 MAP. L and PM contend that the President or Secretary of Defense have the authority to declare some of the items requested by Portugal as excess or to reallocate the FY–74 MAP so as to provide equipment to Portugal, and could so exercise this authority in extremis, with due notification to Congress. The above issue is really a technical one, because the difficulties and disadvantages of trying to satisfy Portugal without some form of Congressional approval seem formidable, but apparently it is a subject Secretary Schlesinger wishes to discuss with you.

  1. Summary: Lord briefed Kissinger on the status of the Azores Base negotiations.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Policy Planning Council, Policy Planning Staff, Director’s Files (Winston Lord), 1969–1977, Entry 5027, Box 345, March 1974. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Willard De Pree and Anton DePorte in S/P on March 7; cleared by Jack Smith in EUR/IB, PM, and L. Kissinger’s January 28 staff meeting was devoted to a discussion of the U.S. position in the Azores Base negotiations. (Ibid., Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Entry 5177, Box 2, Secretary’s Staff Meeting, January 28, 1974) In telegram 54891 to Lisbon, March 19, the Department reported that on March 18, Themido responded to Rush’s February 8 offer by suggesting that the U.S. and Portugal announce the failure of their negotiations. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 701, Country Files, Europe, Portugal, Vol. II (1972–1974))