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// Information about Portugal during the world war two.


From late 1942 until the end of the war

The last phase of Portuguese foreign policy from World War II begins at the end of 1942 and lasted until 1945. 

It is precisely at the end of 1942 the tide of war changes: Rommel and his Afrika Korps are defeated at El Alamein and begins to retreat to the west, the Americans after the Pearl Harbor disaster, beginning to win the first victories in the Pacific The Germans suffer a setback at Stalingrad and the Allies landed in North Africa (Operation Torch). This last event, which by their proximity to the Portuguese territory and Spanish, can lead to deterioration of relations between the Iberian countries and their allies, notably Britain, the British government deserves special attention. Aware that the fortunes of war began to change extreme, Campbell wrote to Salazar to tell you that taking into account the close relations between Portugal and Spain, and the weight it attaches in Madrid to the opinion of Your Excellency, I venture to suggest consider the usefulness to inform the Spanish government of this message and use its influence to reassure regarding the intentions of His Majesty's Government and the U.S. government, whose desire is to save the Iberian Peninsula to the horrors of war and see not only Portugal but also Spain take their place in peace and prosperity in the postwar world. [36]. 

It is Churchill himself who writes a message to Salazar, to ensure that our country would not be in any way harmed or forced to abandon its neutrality (which served the British) because of military operations in North Africa: The area operations is neighboring Portugal and Spain, and in view of the close and friendly relations between our two nations based on the centuries since the Anglo-Portuguese alliance, I wish to assure you that government is the firm intention of His Majesty and U.S. government not to involve Portugal nor Spain (...) in hostilities that result from those operations. [37]. Even President Franklin Roosevelt, head of state, indeed, a country for which Salazar harbored some contempt, writes the president of the county, telling him I hope you accept my security solemn that his country has nothing to fear of the reasons that determine the United States. [38]. 

In 1943 the Axis forces withdraw permanently from North Africa, the Germans are desperately trying to halt the Russian counterattack on the eastern front, the Allies invaded Sicily and Mussolini in Italy falls. There is now a new reality that Portugal can not close our eyes: the allies seek in their relations with the neutrals (and consequently with Portugal) responses to ensure their political and strategic needs, since their main concern is to bring the success their offensive operations on Europe. 

Ideologically opposed regimes allies, the Portuguese Salazarism is even called into question the hypothesis of this cripple some applications vital to the allies. This is the case with the two great issues of this period: the problems of provision of facilities in the Azores to the British military and the requirement of an embargo on the sale of wolfram to the Germans [39]. Although the diplomatic route is always preferred, it is certain that the overthrow of Salazar comes to be worked out by the British. 

Changing the course of the war also affects Portugal ideological level: the prospect of victory of the democracies, and even worse, of Bolshevism on the European totalitarianism begins to emerge on the horizon. Politically and ideologically far from the allies, Salazar seeks to maintain neutrality which serves Portuguese interests, stating, however, its distance from the Allied powers. 

Believer in the defeat of the axis, but eager for a negotiated peace that Germany allows the maintenance of the status of "guardian of Europe" against Russian Bolshevism, Salazar, with the support of Franco, carries out an unsuccessful attempt to convince the allies to negotiate a separate peace with the Nazis. The allies had, however, another goal: to force Germany to surrender unconditionally. 

In 1942 comes the Iberian block, during the visit of Count Jordana to Portugal in December. This is the beginning of the passage of non belligerence Spanish to neutrality. The Iberian peninsula is unified on the principle of separation of war and ideological conflict in Europe. 

Salazar becomes aware of the new reality: On the one hand, Germany can not resist the allied forces, on the other hand, the serious economic difficulties and social Portuguese (aggravated by bad agricultural years, drought, smuggling, etc.). They have in its base the Allied blockade may prove to be strengthened as a countermeasure. You are given the tone for the Portuguese foreign policy to monitor the progress of the war and serve the interests of our country. It is time to embark on a neutral cooperating with allies. 

Using all his skills as a diplomat and negotiator, Salazar sells expensive the new position of Portugal before the conflict: all the concessions made to the allies are paid the highest price possible. Campbell writes the British ambassador in July 1943: When I predicted that when the day of our victory approached, relations with this country that would complicate rather than facilitate. Now we have entered that stage. [40]. Campbell had been right in their predictions. 

Thus, Salazar seeks to ensure the safety of the system regardless of the fortunes of war, warning that Portugal will not submit to the winners. Ensure, in exchange for his cooperation, the supply of fuel, food, raw materials, etc.. that minimize the internal crisis in Portugal. Rendibilizando the most politically neutral cooperating to safeguard the survival of the regime and the Colonial Empire. 

In two major disputes of this period (the Azores and tungsten), the Portuguese head of state gives the limit of discussions when their intransigence would already be a suicide.Always looking to take compensatory economic negotiations, Salazar and his regime are a nuisance. Armindo Monteiro says that (...) to boot to the Chairman of any decision it takes to shine in his eyes the material gains that the state can take the current negotiations. [41]. 

When, on June 8, 1943 Campbell presents the request to Salazar English military facilities in the Azores, this opposes him, just five days later, an agreement of principle which gives rise to lengthy and arduous political negotiations, military and economic. 

The long and expensive process of negotiations almost led to a British military intervention in the national territory, which was already, in fact, thought: the operation lifebelt.Churchill wrote to Roosevelt to tell him of his frustration (...) I see no moral substance in legalistic argument that one should not tread the Portuguese neutrality in relation to some unimportant islands in peacetime but which have acquired a meaning vital in time of war. [42]. But Salazar signed the agreement in time: in secret, August 17, 1943. In addition to obtaining guarantees to safeguard the British Empire Portuguese, Portugal establishes a new agreement bend economic affairs and shipping facilities. This agreement is, however, frozen until June 1944, when Portugal finally gives in to pressure and decrees the Allied embargo of wolfram to Germany. 

That is ending the war, Salazar presents itself as the leader of a country engaged in the Allied cause, but as a leader like himself, worried about the consequences of the victory of U.S. forces, British and Soviet. Is essentially concerned to distinguish the first two of the latter. Life has surprises do think, almost all of Europe was hit and ruined for opposing the "new order" of German design, but is on its ruins still smoldering that seen spreading the "new communist order." Now this is by definition exclusive and irreconcilable with the concept of civilization they are proud of the other hegemonies. Europe has to choose. [43rd].

The Question of tungsten - The Agreements with Germany


The tungsten is an important mineral for the war effort of the two blocks in conflict. Initially, it is Germany that is privileged with the agreement of January 24, 1942, as a result of the encounter between Salazar and Hanz Eltze, director of the German Legation in Lisbon on 31 October last year. This agreement leaves the commitment of the Portuguese government control the price of tungsten, in exchange for a hundred thousand tons of iron, so necessary to the construction and shipbuilding, as well as other products at reasonable prices. 

The establishment of the agreement had been suggested by the German government, through its economic adviser to the German Legation (Eltze), which was always present in negotiations. It is written the text finalize the agreement, Portugal will seek to provide 3,000 tons of tungsten, an average of 250 tons per month, 150 $ 00 per pound. In return, you receive ten thousand tons of ammonium sulfate, 300 railway wagons of 15 tons, drums and machines and 60 000 tons of iron and steel prices before the war. 

Following the meetings and to strengthen this first agreement, in the first months of 1942, comes another agreement, dated January 24 this year. In this agreement, which ends on March 1, 1943, Portugal is obliged to provide the German government or the companies he indicated, the amount of 2,800 tons of tungsten concentrate, at a price of 150 $ 00 a pound.In return, Germany exports to Portugal the following goods: 60 000 tons of iron, half built, such as rails, plates, wire, etc.., 500 freight cars, railway, 10 thousand tons of ammonium sulphate; drums iron to the value of DM 450 000, 2 000 tonnes of newsprint. 

The transport of tungsten is done entirely by the Germans, from Portugal. They were in the same way that the Germans had the transport costs of goods that came to Portugal to the border with Spain, the place from which the charges are the responsibility of Portuguese companies. 

They then begin the difficulties in fulfilling the agreement. If Germany has to dispense materials that make you miss the war effort, Portugal combat the shortage of ore, pressure from allies and smuggling. 

A final agreement is signed by Salazar and the envoy extraordinary Oswald Baron Hoyningen-Huene, on April 21, 1943, with anticipated duration until 29 February 1944. 

Portugal then provides 2,100 tonnes of tungsten 150 $ 00 a pound in exchange for the same kind of material contained in the previous agreement, amounting to approximately 31,433,000 marks, which represent 90% of tungsten exports, with the remaining 10% paid currency. 

Products to be supplied to Portugal stand out iron rails, plates and wires, 500 freight cars, railway, 1,000 wheels for cars and 200 trucks-OPEL BLITZ in the amount of 2,000,000 marks.All goods are sold at prices of 1938, except for the increase from 10% to 20,000 tons of iron. It should be noted that the continuing obligation of the Portuguese government to keep the price of tungsten stable 150 $ 00 per pound, allowing the Germans great advantages over black-market prices (between 500 and 1,000 shells per pound). 

Our country continues, however, struggling with a shortage of ore. Salazar says that it is possible that the ore delivered does not exceed two thirds of that amount. [44]. Salazar is right: as in previous agreements, the Germans did not have the required values ??are reached. At the end of the period of validity there is a deficit of 550 tonnes.

The Question of tungsten - Lock and Economic Agreements with the Allies

After March 1942, when cutting off the supply of tungsten from the east to Germany, our country is subject to a number of external pressures in order to control the trade of the Portuguese wolfram. At this point, the axis is those most in need of our ore, since the allies still have alternative sources of supply, particularly in Burma. 

The struggle of the Allied forces is at this point, primarily diplomatic, and aims to cut that has become the main source of supply shaft. In Britain now dominates much of the production of tungsten in Portugal: the company Beralt Tin controls it. Thus England seeks to ensure the dominance in mining law, which was already his, but also tries to buy most of the ore mined illegally by farmers. 

In March 1942 Britain and the United States intensified the economic blockade of the Iberian Peninsula. The division and use of products, control of its export surplus and are now in possession of an Anglo-American Committee, based in the United States, holder, Salazar's second largest economic power that anyone has had in the world. [45]. No product can be imported by Portugal, even from the colonies, without prior authorization through the British Navicert systems (document certifying that the goods are not smuggled), which regulate the import quotas of goods. 

Used not only against Portugal, but also against other neutral countries, the economic blockade is as powerful a weapon of war. Quotas are set by England always below the needs of our country, so that there is the temptation to export the excess to the enemy, through smuggling. 

Aggravated by the outbreak of war on the Eastern Front in 1941, the Portuguese gained trading wolfram dimensions never expected. Twice (in November 1941 and March 1942) the Portuguese government tries to take control of the mineral trade, and both times the measures are the already fragile relations falter Luso-British. 

The end of fear of the Allied powers in relation to what measures seem to be germanófilas gives the agreement between Britain, the United States of America and our country, on August 24, 1942, between Salazar and the ambassador of Great Britain Ronald H. Campbell. 

The agreement provides a cap of 4,000 tons for export of Anglo-American mines, plus 50% of the ore free. Remember, as presented above, that exports to Germany are limited to 2,800 tons (a number that includes the mines and ore free). This agreement is also a commitment Portuguese to suppress the illegal purchase of tungsten and its smuggling. This measure applies in particular to Germany, this medium has a way to overcome their share. 

But the allies are not completely satisfied with the situation, since the German contraband not slow down, and it is precisely at the time they prepare to propose a new agreement more advantageous than Salazar presents another alternative agreement with Germany of tungsten . The new agreement raises serious expressions of displeasure by the allies. For them, the purchase of tungsten, more than satisfy the need that Britain and the United States have it, prevents the Germans reached by underground. 

In this new situation, the allies meet only at the extension (July 1943) the agreement of August 1942, putting aside the idea of ??retaliation in the field of supplies in order not to prejudice the negotiations of the Azores. 

However, in January 1944, the Allies intensified their strategic maneuvers cutting the supply lines of raw materials to Germany. Consequently, the Luso-British relations enter a new phase: the ambassador in Lisbon Campbell presents a new position that requires the English embargo on exports of wolfram to Germany. The question is no longer purely commercial to be made strategically. 

Campbell meets with Salazar on Jan. 23 to tell him and reaffirm the importance of cutting metals to Germany. In this field, since Portugal is the only source of German imports of tungsten. 

A German attack on the Iberian peninsula is almost definitely out of the horizon, but Salazar did not hesitate to use this argument to sell any expensive transfer agreements with allies. 

However, the British political and diplomatic pressures (with personal intervention of Churchill and General Smuts and others) give their fruit.

The Question of tungsten - The Embargo Total Exports of Tungsten

Although Salazar always resist the idea that the embargo be considered fatal for Germany, which in turn will enable the advancement of the Red armies on the eastern front, ends up yielding to pressure checks when they begin to endanger the integrity of the Portuguese colonial empire and survival of the regime. Looking to buy time in a skilful way of trading that allows you to make diplomatic maneuvers aimed at bringing added value to Portugal, Salazar protested vehemently with Campbell, who notes that the ban represents a loss from 9 to 10 million pounds per year for Portuguese economy, as well as unemployment 80-100 wolfram mine workers. In this respect, says Yves Léonard: in most cases it is as if, conscious of having to give (...) the pressure exerted by the allies skillfully through the sea blockade and the limitation provisions, Salazar sought to accumulate ( ...), obstacles and legal maneuvers in order to create (...), a conflict that, at the last minute, would eventually be able to resolve, not without first obtaining (...) some advantages in the form compensation or additional guarantees. [46]. 

But not this time - England does not allow further delays, and on June 3 Salazar officially responds positively to the request English. 

On June 12 the government decrees in the Federal government's overall closure of the mines and the end of wolfram exports. Internally, the measure is upheld as a test of faithfulness to the alliance with England. 

The Allied blockade of Germany is now complete. In August 1944 the German-Iberian communications know one end. 

At war's end, the question of tungsten over, familiar with the matter of the Azores, a Portuguese and serve the interests of the scheme, being the same for a period of time, as the engine of the Portuguese economy. 

The Allies, ending the war that is, show up clearly in favor of maintaining the system, and give guarantees of protection of the Portuguese empire. 

Salazar can, either through agreement on the Azores to England (and later with the U.S.), as accepted by the embargo of wolfram, signing the agreement on January 26, 1945, that meets the immediate needs of our country . 

Finally, the business of war made possible the accumulation of gold and money essential to the economic development of post war. 

One point is settled for us - we will not make a business of war, and this principle will dominate Portugal's relations with foreign countries, also with us for so doing. [47]. 

Salazar was mistaken: the tungsten was a business of war, which ultimately benefited greatly from the Portuguese economy.

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Text from the João Pedro Trigo's work.

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Roderic Ashley
August 22, 2022 at 10:34:34 AM
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Aspects of this subject and of the vital importance of wolfram (tungsten) in trading with both the Allies and the Axis powers are referred to in my book Wolfram Wars (2016). See: http://bennionkearny.com/Wolfram-Wars-Exposing-The-Secret-Battle-in-Portugal-book.htm
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