1960 - Politics (Part 1)

Lusitania

Donor
1960 – 1969

Politics (Part 1)

The US and Portuguese Coup attempt

In 1961 tensions between the US and Soviet Union was at all-time high, the invasion of Cuba, and the Russian – China border clashes pushed the world closer to war. Following the naval confrontation with Soviet Union US President Kennedy initiated a visit of major European countries and allies. From 15 - 21 June 1961 he visited Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. On the way back to the US, President Kennedy stopped at the US military base in the Azores. During the visit US President Kennedy met with Portuguese President Semedo, the first Presidential meeting between the two countries was very cordial although a little tense. At the meeting President Kennedy invited the Portuguese President to Washington for the first US – Portuguese Summit.

The US – Portuguese Summit was originally scheduled to be held in April 1962 but due to political situation in US and both governments wanting to have several agreements to sign during the summit it was postponed to 2 - 5 October 1962. President Semedo was received warmly by President Kennedy and met with several major political leaders from both Democratic and Republican parties. Several major important issues were discussed such as the continued war against communism in Africa, Asia and the Americas, the Portuguese Federation as well as US – Portuguese trade. While there were some agreements such as the US recognition of Portuguese Federation which allowed the settling of several international disputes namely the allocation of country code 42 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A joint statement on continued fight against communism was issued at end but several major issues remained unresolved. The US continued to advocate the complete withdrawal of all European presence in Africa and Asia. The US government policy stated that the continued Portuguese presence in Africa and Asia was detrimental to US interests in those areas. While movement in trade disputes was made the US continued to block any military and advanced electronics trade with the Portuguese Federation.

On 5th of October President Semedo left Washington and flew to New York where he addressed the UN General Assembly. The Portuguese President’s speech was boycotted by many countries including all communist, most African and some Asian countries. At the end of the speech a gathering had been scheduled by the Portuguese embassy with many UN staffers and friendly countries’ ambassadors, but the gathering was abruptly cancelled after the speech. President Semedo left New York within an hour of his speech and returned to Portuguese Federation stopping on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. Following the sudden departure of President Semedo news reached the UN and rest of world regarding a coup on the Iberian Peninsula. Military units from Alentejo and Beira had converged against the government in Lisbon. The troops seized several government buildings, the Lisbon airport, several radio stations and RTP Television station as well as several bridges and roads in and out of the city. General Humberto da Silva Delgado emerged as the leader of the coup and proclaimed the overthrow of the Estado Novo and proclamation of free Portugal and the dissolution of the Portuguese Federation.

News of the revolt shocked the country and units loyal to the government moved south from Coimbra and Porto while the Portuguese Navy ships moved to block the rebel troops from moving south of Tagus River. As the Portuguese President flew back to Portuguese Federation the people of Lisbon revolted against the attempted coup. Thousands of civilians blocked the rebel troops and formed human chains surrounding the troops in many cases. With the attempted coup in jeopardy of collapsing General Humberto da Silva Delgado made the tactical mistake of ordering the troops to fire on the civilian demonstrators.[1] The troops hesitated to fire on the civilians and the attempted coup collapsed. By the time, the troops loyal to the government reached the city they were greeted as heroes and thousands of exuberant cheering civilians lined the major routes of the liberating troops entering the city. Just as President Semedo plane landed in Sao Miguel the last of the rebel troops surrendered to the civilians and police units, fearing for their lives many of the leaders including General Delgado fled the city.



Two hours after arriving in the Azores, with the attempted coup collapsed President Semedo went on Portuguese radio and television and expressed his love and gratitude for the Portuguese people and their support of the Portuguese Federation dream. He then promised to hold all those responsible for the attempted coup responsible and that all those involved would be brought to justice. As President Semedo left Sao Miguel to the cheer of the people in Ponta Delgada the DGS, PSP, GNR and Portuguese military hunted for all those responsible and participated in the attempted coup.

The arrival of President Semedo in Lisbon was carried live on radio and television. His arrival in Lisbon and the announcement that all Portuguese cabinet members including the triumvirate had survived was greeted with great joy by the city and Federation as whole where the coup had little to no support. On 6th of October in the border town of Olivenza General Humberto Delgado and several of his associates were cornered by Portuguese security forces and in the firefight, he along with most his associates were killed.



Portuguese movie regarding Political intrigue of the Attempted Coup of October 1962

Like the attempted coup 30 years earlier it did not take long for the Portuguese security services to find foreign involvement in the coup attempt, this time though the funding and support had come from the US and not Britain. The US government denied all involvement and knowledge of the coup but when suspicion fell to the CIA there was silence. As the US senate intelligence committee held hearing into the alleged CIA involvement in the coup of a NATO member President Kennedy decided to visit Texas, while there he was assassinated by former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. The assassination of President Kennedy so soon after the attempted coup of Portuguese government drew some to speculate Portuguese involvement. The Minister of Interior flanked by the rest of Portuguese Cabinet and President Semedo appeared on Portuguese television and radio and all denied any involvement in the assassination of US President Kennedy. In one statement from the Minister of Interior took a swipe at the CIA stating that not only did the Portuguese not have any desire to institute a government change in another country but that it had not developed or intended to develop that ability unlike the US CIA.[2]
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/#_ftn2
[1] Several historians have disputed that the order to fire on the civilians came from General Humberto himself, with majority believing it was sent by one of more radical military leaders while a small minority believing the order was actually sent by the DGS to discredit the coup leaders.


[2] In 1963 the US President Johnston signed an executive order prohibiting the CIA from supporting a coup or action against any NATO country.
The attempted coup put Portuguese - American relations on front and center with every move by the Americans and Portuguese being scrutinized for potential escalation of the political tension. This was exactly what the US needed as its war with communism (both cold and hot) meant it could ill afford to create another adversary especially one situated in many crucial areas of the world. For one casualty of the attempted coup was the suspension of talks to establish American bases in both Portuguese Africa as well Asia. Questions/ Comments?

Return in 2 weeks on August 16 when we start posting World section.
 
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The stark contrast of the Portuguese provinces development and peoples standard of living compared to most of its neighbors in Africa and Asia only seemed to aggravate the feeling of resentment.
Yup, this was what I was afraid of. The Federation is not only a boogeyman, but a successful boogeyman at that whose prospering existence is an existential threat to most regimes of it's surrounding Region. They may not have the same reason for hating the Federation, but they're united in their hatred.
it did not take long for the Portuguese security services to find foreign involvement in the coup attempt, this time though the funding and support had come from the US
After this the Federation will become rather heavy-handed in responding to threats to itself with the confirmation that the two Superpowers seek it's demise and the supposed 'good' superpower isn't afraid of dirtying it's hand to destroy their nation.

If American involvement with the coup is as widespread as the Minister of Interior's implication of the CIA involvement suggests, then there will be a sharp turn of Federal Public's opinion on the US which even more than the government will have rather lasting effects.
 
Gotta love the CIA, they love to perform coups, even at the horrible time of when said president is in the US. That was just stupid, and believable.
 
The Portuguese killed Kennedy becoming a popular conspiracy theory ITTL...yeah, if people think Castro did it IOTL, this makes sense...
 
I still am skeptical of the US still being hostile to an anti-Communist country capable of carrying its own weight. For crying out loud, we were okay with places like Zaire or South Africa, and the Federation is leagues better.
 
I still am skeptical of the US still being hostile to an anti-Communist country capable of carrying its own weight. For crying out loud, we were okay with places like Zaire or South Africa, and the Federation is leagues better.
Well... America’s foreign policy has always been like the country itself: full of contradictions.
 
I guess the Federation isn't simply an ally that'll ultimately fall in line and unlike France isn't crucial and looked vulnerable enough that they took the chance. Also on some level the Federation has behaved more an alternative/rival to the US than the USSR.
 
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Ohhh this is going to sour Portuguese-American relations for a good couple of years. Like the drama and political intrigue this will form. I can see Portuguese intelligence gaining a big reputation for having a large reach in international affairs after this (even if its overblown and exaggerated).
 

Lusitania

Donor
Yup, this was what I was afraid of. The Federation is not only a boogeyman, but a successful boogeyman at that whose prospering existence is an existential threat to most regimes of it's surrounding Region. They may not have the same reason for hating the Federation, but they're united in their hatred.
After this the Federation will become rather heavy-handed in responding to threats to itself with the confirmation that the two Superpowers seek it's demise and the supposed 'good' superpower isn't afraid of dirtying it's hand to destroy their nation.
Yes we will be featuring the developments on African continent next as it becomes the political and military hot point for the Federation. Like iOTL the African continent became a major area of contention between the super powers as both the US and USSR rushed to both push the colonial Europeans out and try and replace them. Now we have a major country like the Federation which due to geography is becoming Africa centered. So like SA become the dominant military power in Southern Africa iOTL here it is replaced by the Federation who due to its size, development and geography becomes even greater dominant power in the continent.

As for Portuguese reaction to threats both internally and externally the 1950s and attempted coup figured very prominently in their reactions. Using whatever means at its disposal be it diplomatic, public support and media as well as military to deal with threats. Much more next few posts.

If American involvement with the coup is as widespread as the Minister of Interior's implication of the CIA involvement suggests, then there will be a sharp turn of Federal Public's opinion on the US which even more than the government will have rather lasting effects.
It actually worked in the Federation's favor as the American administrations of the 1960s were very cautious in supporting any government who was clearly opposed to the Federation which in end worked in the Federation favor while for a while seemed to favor the USSR. That will be a major theme will be explore next posts.

Gotta love the CIA, they love to perform coups, even at the horrible time of when said president is in the US. That was just stupid, and believable.
History shows us that the US was only looking at their political and trade interests. They facilitated coups in so many countries such as South Vietnam, Chile, Central America and elsewhere. With the Federation an opportunity was presented to them and someone in the CIA felt it was worth the risk. The timing of the Portuguese President's visit to the USA was chosen as symbolic and it was felt that him being away they had best chance to succeed. They greatest failure was in not understanding the new mentality that most Portuguese were feeling. The creation of the Federation had somehow ignited pride amongst a people so used to for generations believing they were inferior to those from the rich and big countries. After being sidelined and downcast for so long the development they had witnessed and both social and economic accomplishments had awakened a feeling of pride and hope. The biggest mistake was not the ordering the troops to fire on civilians but on the declaration that they were dissolving the Federation. They attacked the one thing that had symbolized to many Portuguese a new mentality and way of thinking; that they were equal to rest of European powers. From that moment the coup was dead and it was just a matter of time before it collapsed.

The Portuguese killed Kennedy becoming a popular conspiracy theory ITTL...yeah, if people think Castro did it IOTL, this makes sense...
Yes still today it lives online.
I still am skeptical of the US still being hostile to an anti-Communist country capable of carrying its own weight. For crying out loud, we were okay with places like Zaire or South Africa, and the Federation is leagues better.
I can understand your skepticism, but the attitude against the Federation comes from the war years. Like iOTL Portugal was almost sanctioned by the US due o its trade with the Axis. Only the intervention of Britain prevented it coming to blows. IOTL Salazar was more worried about US taking over the Azores than an attack from Spain or Axis. To the point that the Portuguese had over 30,000 troops stationed on the islands during the war. The US even made a statement that it would not allow the islands to fall under Axis influence or control should the Portuguese fall or join the Axis. Then following the war the spat with America over Nazi gold it had received from Germany during the war had resulted in America freezing Portuguese assets. Again the UK had to intervene to resolve the issue. During the 1950s Portugal and USA had a good relation but during the 1960s it once again felt American displeasure with its refusal to withdraw from Africa.

During the early 1950s the Americans displaced both French and British from Middle East and prevented them reasserting their influence during the Suez Crises. During the 1960s the process was repeated in Africa. The Americans were happy to allow the British and French to play second fiddle as long as they not interfere with American interests.

So now lets see how its attitude would be to the Federation in the iTTL, Portuguese trade with the Axis during the war was greater and Portuguese went to great lengths to hide the extent of the trade even lying to the Allies. It had joined the Allies when the risk of attack by Axis was gone and to lessen American criticism but after the war when the full extent of the Portuguese trade and gold received was revealed Portugal faced an even angrier USA than iOTL.

Following the war Portuguese involvement in South East Asia and Indian Sub continent went complete contrary to American interests. At time working against the Americans who supported the Republic of India and Republic of Indonesia. The Portuguese wanted a splintered Indian Sub continent and Former Dutch East Indies for it was in Portugal best interest to have smaller countries surrounding it instead of one large country. During the 1950s when peace arrived both Republics of India and Indonesia demanded US not support or recognize the Federation.

Added to this the involvement of the Portuguese in the Affairs of both Argentina and Brazil resulting in both countries rebuffed American interests even more than iOTL. Lastly the Portuguese interaction with Spain both in taking over its African colonies and in destabilizing it during the 1950s had proven to the Americans that the Portuguese could not be trusted. Yes they were partners in the war against communism but one that came with a lot of baggage and political fallout. The failure of the USA to limit Portuguese Federation growth and influence during the 1950s was viewed as failure by the USA government at the end of the decade. President Eisenhower personally did not trust the Portuguese who he felt had been deceitful in their dealing with the Allies and Axis during the war.

Like the invasion of the Cuba the CIA involvement in the Portuguese coup attempt were products of the former Administration but fell to the new American President Kennedy to deal with. Unlike the invasion of Cuba the Portuguese coup was failure and soured Portuguese-American relations for years.

Muito bom até agora!
Obrigado

Well... America’s foreign policy has always been like the country itself: full of contradictions.
Not when it comes to anti-Communism.
idk, most South Vietnamese governments were toppled with American assistance.
The US foreign policy is always a trade off of one interest vs another. The US had built up in political allies in the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. These two areas were the ones the most affected the Federation for both the Republic of India and Republic of Indonesia were cornerstone American allies in those regions. But those countries animosity towards the Federation in the late 1950s compounded American distrust of the Portuguese due to the above mentioned factors. All this while the USA and Portugal cooperated against communist threat. So by the early 1960s the Portuguese had became crucial allies against communism in Africa but there was a lot of distrust and things to resolve between the two countries. This was the aim of the Kennedy Administration except it got blindsided by the CIA operation which had not even told the new Administration due to its involvement with the Cuba Crises situation as the USA supported Nationalist Cuba re-assertion on the island and at same time faced down Soviet threat.

When the coup collapsed and information regarding CIA involvement was leaked by the Portuguese Intelligence it was very damaging and would take several years and great effort on President Johnson administration to try and calm things down. (we will discuss the speculation of how much the Portuguese intelligence knew and the American reaction in future posts) security and Foreign Affairs respectively.

The Important aspect here is that Portuguese were a partner in the American Anti-communism but one the Americans did not trust a great deal because dealing with the Portuguese meant antagonizing other crucial partners.

I guess the Federation isn't simply an ally that'll ultimately fall in line and unlike France isn't crucial and looked vulnerable enough that they took the chance. Also on some level the Federation has behaved more an alternative/rival to the US than the USSR.
If you have read a little of the information posted on near future, it does continue to become a major rival, not by itself but we are getting some small picture of whom Federation partners are, they will come from 4 different continents and by themselves never be able to take on the Americans and USSR but over time as part of an alliance and commonwealth of nations be able to rival both.

Ohhh this is going to sour Portuguese-American relations for a good couple of years. Like the drama and political intrigue this will form. I can see Portuguese intelligence gaining a big reputation for having a large reach in international affairs after this (even if its overblown and exaggerated).
Oh yes It will look bad on the Americans but questions will be asked about the SIS and DGS intelligence and what they knew and what they did not know. British historian A J P Taylor even went as far as speculate that the Portuguese had hoodwinked the American into sponsoring and financing the coup.
 
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Lusitania

Donor
Hi this was a figurine made by Portuguese Toy company Majora which in 1955 expanded its plant in Porto as well a second plant in Aveiro.

In 1960 it started producing a line of Portuguese comic action heroes and Portuguese historical figures.

Can you guess his name. Prize for correct answer.

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Lusitania

Donor
Private Portugal?
No none of Lusitos are called Privado Portugal. Good try
Lieutenant Lusitania
Good guess but she is yellow.
Capitão falcão
Another good guess but he is another Lusito but this times from Azores.
Será o Magriço?
Ah, you are getting Superhero figurines mixed up with your historical figures. Which Magriço is one.

Legionário Lusitano!
Interesting but alas no one of the Lusitos


The ANSWER IS:
He is the leader of the Lusitos, which are the Portuguese superheroes from all the various regions of the Federation. The Lusitos are here to protect the country from evil communists, enemy agents and other bad guys plus a few aliens. They each have the attributes of the various regions and people of the federation.

His name is Colonel Barcelos and as mentioned is the leader of the Lusitos. While he is not the strongest, fastest or smartest of the Lusitos his attributes are honesty, integrity, trust and honor, and it is also believed to bring good luck when he is present in battles and conflicts.

The Lusitos operate out of a secret headquarters in the center of the country and also have bases in the various regions. Defending the country in the air, land and sea. Here is their coat of arms.

 
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