Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Dale M. Povenmire
POVENMIRE: I think that everybody was delighted to have some kind of policy initiative in Paraguay that we could do and would be positive. It received no negative feedback or static. I just suggested it and, boom, it happened.
Q: That is really wonderful because it is one of the good marks for the annual report in a specific case. This is not a general reaction one gets. So many of the annual reports put out by your colleagues and mine never get any response. O.K., now you are in Oporto. Did you go directly or have any home leave?
POVENMIRE: First I was on the Paraguayan desk for about two years and then a year with the JCS at the Pentagon.
Q: Oh, yes, so you were able to observe some of these developments.
POVENMIRE: Yes, then I went to Oporto in September 1969 and was there until September 1972. This was the period during the Caetano interregnum after Salazar. There was a general loosening mood but the corporate state system of government was still in force.
Labor was very much under the government's thumb. Theoretically, regional management associations would bargain with regional unions and the government would oversee the process to insure that both sides got a fair settlement. In reality, the government used the unions as a method of controlling labor. The unions were expected to be a channel to transmit authority downward rather than upward. Union membership was compulsory and there was automatic dues check-off. The unions had job placement offices for their members, which was another way of keeping their people in line. By law, unions were kept small and divided as they were organized on an occupational rather than industrial basis. A company employing 200 workers might have 20 different unions represented, each with its own contract. Strikes were illegal. Union officers had to be approved by the government and were widely considered to be nothing more than government hacks.