Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Barbour
BARBOUR: With the change in the political climate on the mainland, the separatist movement lost its steam, and lost its whole reason for being. I might tell one little story about Portugal before we move on. Before the actual counterrevolution took to the streets in Lisbon, there crumbling around the edges. The poor Portuguese ambassador there was having a terrible time because he was trying to be loyal to his country, to a government to which he had no sympathy whatsoever. He got very few communications. Sometimes he wasn't paid, and he wasn't able to pay his staff. The revolutionaries were simply waiting until they had full power to make all the changes. So he was here at the end of a very long, very dry pipeline in terms of both information and money. So he relied on us in the Department to sort of tell him what was going on. One day there was a ticker item about a farmers demonstration in a little town in the northern part of Portugal, in which they had burned down the local communist party headquarters building. So I called the Ambassador, and gave him a little summary, and I said in such-and-such village the farmers have burned down the building that is used for the communist party headquarters. And there was a little pause, and he said, “Oh, oh, oh, that building belongs to my father-in-law.” And then he said, “But he won't mind.” He was a splendid man.
Q: How about with the Spanish and the base negotiations. Franco was still in power at that point?