Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Barbour
In the meantime, the Azores were giving us lots and lots of concern because of an Azorean independence movement. It wanted to break away from pro-communist Portugal and attach themselves to the United States, or at least under the American umbrella. And it wasn't only awkward politically, but we had an important base in the Azores, Terciera Island, the largest. And the Azorean movement was to some degree financed by wealthy Portuguese Americans. So they were saying things that caused some people to bite their fingernails, and the revolutionaries in Portugal were saying other things, remove the rest of the fingernails, or generate other kinds of worries. Anyhow, Frank was there and not on the same wave length with Kissinger. So he came back on consultation, I'd been in the job briefly, and Frank came home on Sunday night. I shall never forget meeting him at National Airport. My introduction to Frank was, that he had lost his credit card and had to pay for something at the airport, so I lent him my Visa card, and I had the job of telling him the Secretary wanted to see him Monday morning, and he was mad at him. Oh well, Frank is not bothered by that.
Anyhow, the revolution continued for a while, and then gradually the leadership changed and appeared to become less inflammatory, but still revolutionary. Abolishing this, and abolishing that, and instituting this, and instituting that. I don't remember the many, many details of every day life with the Portuguese revolution. But I do know that in time it became less inflammatory. The first leader to come here, I think, was a Major, who came to Washington and was received by Kissinger, received suitably. They had a long conversation, and then at the end of the meeting met privately.
Carlucci meanwhile had reached out to these people, and had developed all kinds of contacts with them. I don't mean that he was sympathizing with them, but he was in touch with them, and so was his embassy. They did some excellent reporting during that period. First hand reporting, what was going on and how people were thinking, etc. And then there came a break with...well, a little counterrevolution developed, an admiral took it over. An admiral was in the streets with his people, and the embassy, I must say, was in the streets with him, and Carlucci was in the embassy. We were in close touch with him. So I wrote a telegram with instructions to Carlucci saying, “Go see the Admiral, or get in touch with the Admiral, and tell him various things, the meaning of which was, he enjoys our sympathy and support. I was office director still, we went up to see Kissinger who wanted to talk about that. And he said, “But does he know that we are with him?” I had the great pleasure of saying, “Mr. Secretary, the telegram is on your desk,” as indeed there was. And literally he went over, and by George, there it was. So we embraced this new counterrevolution.
Q: Had it already achieved power by that time?
BARBOUR: No, it had not.