INTELLIGENCE ALERT MEMORANDUM: POSSIBLE COUP ATTEMPT BY AZOREAN SEPARATISTS

Created: 5/31/1975

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Office of the Director

DATE: 2

S

FOR:

Honorable Henry A. Kissinger Assistant to the President (National Security Affairs)

Alert Memorandum: Possible Coup Attempt By Azorean Separatists

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Portuguese military units inn concert with the Azorean Libera-Loup attempt to separate the Azoresossibly within the next few days, early success but odds are that would move quickly to suppress it so. The US would come in for blame how it came out. t should fail, ate base facilities at Lajesatally.

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4. Most of tho0 army troopsin the islands are Azorcan natives. Theseght be joined by thean police and Fiscal Guard forces, but would likely run into opposition from navy and air Torce unitsumberingespectivelyhich are principally composed of mainland troops and officers. Relatively small loftlst civilian groups would likely also oppose the move,arge majority of the populace would probably acquiesce in the novo if not support it.

The reaction from the mainland would probably be tough. The Lisbon government considers tha Azores an integral part of Portugal and the Armed Forces Movement would see an Azoroan coupirect challenge to its leadership and one that might spread to other parts of Portugal. Additionally, the Portuguese leadership has probably picked up many of: the same reports we haveneral Spinola aught use the Azores to luunch his own effort to recapture power in Lisbon, and this would add to their desire to suppress an uprising. It is probable that Lisbon already knows something of this movement.

As for Lisbon's capability toeparatist movement, odds are that it could do so though the job might pose some difficulty in putting together anforce. And the scope of tbe task would depend on circumstances in the Azores articularly how much local military support the separatists had. If the Portuguese part of the Lajcs base were available to Lisbon, It has the airlift capacity and troops to put forces theru rapidlyrobablyays.

But if the rebels Succeeded in seizing that airfield, Lisbon would be forced to resort to sea transport. This

would require several more days for the navy toships and aboutours steaming time from Lisbon to the Azores. There would be difficulties in landing if the separatists and the lcoal military had control of the harbor, particularly at Ponta Delgarta. In sum, Lisbon mightifficult and uncertain prospect if the separatists had indeed full localsupport and moved quickly to consolidate control. But the size and quality of the local military makes it questionable that this would prove to be the case.

The US would undoubtedly be linked to any Azorean coup attempt in the minds of most Portuguese. Many prominent Portuguese-Americans have tied to Azorean independence movements, and this is well known in Lisbon.

A coup attempt, whether it succeeded or not, would engender charges in many Western European circles about

US complicityalmost regardless of the facts. Most West Europeans are alarmed about trends in Portugal, but they have not given up on it, and many would condemn the alleged US role as an unfriendly actATO ally. This view would be more pronounced on the left (including Socialist) and In prose and parliamentary circles than elsewhere in the European governments, but it wouldolitical complication in NATO. There is little likelihood that any European nation would support the move and probably none would extend recognition to an independent Azoreanunless they had given up on Portugalember of NATO and the independence movement had clearly consoli-

Intelligence Community is keeping theclose watch.

10. This memorandum has been discussed with offices in DIA, NSA, INR and CIA.

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