CIA acted to shape Portugal's post-revolutionary political scene

09-10-2014 14:27

The US State Department approved its first clandestine operational plan for Portugal on 27th September 1974 with the stated aim of “avoiding the communists taking power” according to documents publicly released on their 40th anniversary.

This is the first time ever that there has been formal acknowledgement of such actions decided upon by the 40 Committee* that oversaw all such operations including those run by the CIA.

However, there is unlikely to be any major local fallout from the revelations as the Portuguese politicians, parties and organisations involved in such operations are not only not named, with any reference from the now declassified version deleted but also only ever described vaguely.

The timing of 27th September proves significant as this was on the eve of the coup by the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA), a left-leaning faction of the armed forces, that brought down the government on 30th September.

The specifics remain undetailed but the documents do report that the then State Secretary Henry Kissinger felt the MFA was in close coordination with the communists and referring to “strengthening the Socialist Party” and backing “the development of a centrist party to work in coalition with the socialists to defeat the Communist Party.”

The documents released also state how Kissinger called for the infiltration of the MFA before a 20th January 1975 meeting renewed the operations ongoing and decided to advance with further clandestine operations in Portugal “whether or not there are leaks of information” as President Gerald Ford is quoted as saying.

The level of attention on Portugal did not slip with the 40 Committee later approving another document “to protect the gains of moderates” in the wake of elections held in late April 1975.


*Vallen ook doodseskaders onder.