WASHINGTON — The Pentagon had contingency plans to “take over” the Azores archipelago in 1975 in the event of a possible communist takeover of Portugal, newly released US government documents showed Friday.
James Schlesinger, the defense secretary at the time, told secretary of state Henry Kissinger that the US military had made preparations if necessary to ensure US access to the Azores, home to the strategic Lajes airfield, according to a document declassified this month and posted by the National Security Archive, an independent research institute.
Suggesting the need to protect US interests in the Azores after the 1974 military coup in Portugal, Kissinger worried that there was a “50 percent chance of losing it” to communist control.
“We should have a program,” said Kissinger, according to the memorandum summarizing his breakfast meeting on January 22, 1975.
Schlesinger replied: “We have a contingency plan to take over the Azores.”
And he added the plan “would be stimulating Azores independence.”
Schlesinger provides no further details of the plan in the official account of the meeting, which covered a range of topics including providing tacit assistance to France for its nuclear weapons program.
A US agreement with Portugal for use of the Lajes airfield had expired before the coup, and US officials were intent on maintaining access to the base, which was used to supply Israel’s forces during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Kissinger and US officials worried that the new coalition government would align itself with the country’s communist party, withdraw from NATO and fall under Soviet influence, according to previously released documents.
The scenario that Kissinger feared never came to pass, and the country’s socialists won elections in April 1976.
The elderly Kissinger appeared with President Barack Obama on Thursday as the White House enlisted former foreign policy heavyweights to rally support for a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.
A censored version of the 1975 memorandum was released earlier, but the US government did not declassify the entire account of the conversation between Kissinger and Schlesinger until this month, according to the National Security Archive.
The archive at George Washington University, which collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, describes its mission as “challenging government secrecy” and informing public debate.
The US government’s Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel made the decision to release the entire document after an appeal from the National Security Archive.
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.
Trump-loving actor hilariously roasted for complaining that a Canadian team won’t visit the White House
Kevin Sorbo, a Trump-loving actor best known for playing Hercules in the TV series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," drew instant ridicule this week after he bitterly complained about a Canadian team that wouldn't visit President Donald Trump at the White House.
Earlier this week, Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green said that his team would not accept an invitation to the White House thanks to the behavior of President Donald Trump.
"I try to respect everybody in every field that they do regardless of how crazy things are," Green explained. "But he makes it really hard. He makes it very, very tough to respect how he goes about things and does things. To put it politely, I think it’s a hard no."
Evangelicals wildly chant ‘4 more years’ after Trump claims mothers are ‘executing’ their infants after birth
Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition 2019 Road to Majority Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, President Donald Trump claimed that infants were being "executed" after birth.
"Unfortunately, Democrat politicians have become increasingly hostile to pro-life Americans, who want to help more children find a loving home and share their dreams with the world," Trump told the evangelical crowd.
"Virtually every top Democrat now supports taxpayer-funded abortion right up to the moment of birth. By the way, if you watched Virginia, the governor, after the moment of birth -- that was something that nobody -- that was something that nobody heard of before. After the moment of birth."
Meghan McCain explodes after Whoopi Goldberg compares US record on LGBT rights to Iran
Meghan McCain slammed Iran for its treatment of LGBT people, and she lashed out when Whoopi Goldberg reminded her of the Republican Party's less-than-stellar record on equal rights.
"The View" co-host condemned Iran's harshly oppressive treatment of women and LGBT people, as its leaders engage in an escalating war of words with President Donald Trump.
"When you are a leader of a country that throws gay people off of roofs for being gay, and stone women in the street for wearing tank tops, how dare you judge our country," McCain said.
Goldberg stepped in to say the U.S. didn't have a spotless history in that regard.