Dear Members,


Our Newsletter for July includes articles relating to António de Oliveira Salazar whose death took place 50 years ago on 27 July 1970. We cannot really begin to understand Portugal as we know it today without an understanding of politics, the economy and society in the Estado Novo, and its subsequent dismemberment with the creation of a modern democratic state following the revolution of 25 April 1974.


Many of the reforms of the Estado Novo are still with us today. The Código Civil became law in 1967 and, in particular, sets out the principles of the law relating to property, inheritance and the family. Labour legislation during the years of the Estado Novo introduced the right of employees to benefit from an extra month’s salary, both when they take annual holidays and at Christmas.


Our first article, Admiral Canaris of the Abwehr and WWII Spies in Lisbon, describes the German spy rings in Portugal and the activities of one of the principal spies working for the British Intelligence Services, Juan Pujol. Spies were particularly active in Portugal because of its neutrality, a status Salazar went out of his way to protect. This is one of the issues discussed in the other main article, which presents a brief biography of Salazar and discusses some of the events that brought him into conflict with the British, both during and after the war.


Our “50 Years Ago” section reproduces tributes to Salazar from the edition of the Anglo Portuguese News of 8 August 1970. No doubt readers will consider Sir Nigel Ronald’s tribute to be unduly flattering, but then we must remind ourselves that a repressive regime, which imposed strict censorship, was still in force. Sir Nigel was by then retired and was able to express his own opinions regarding the Salazar he knew. Interestingly, not even an article of condolence was included from the then British Ambassador to Portugal, Sir David Muirhead. Perhaps the APN approached him but he declined. In 1970 relations between the United Kingdom and Portugal were not at their best. The “old alliance” was under strain. Portugal was an important NATO ally and British trading partner but the United Nations and world opinion was becoming increasingly concerned over Portugal’s ongoing colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, the Portuguese régime showing no interest in granting independence to its colonies. As discussed in the article on Salazar and the British, there had been considerable bad blood between the two countries at the time of Rhodesian UDI in the mid-1960s, when Salazar saw support for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as being beneficial for his colonial cause.


Because of the Pandemic we have been avoiding organising indoor events and our AGM has been postponed until further notice. However, we were able to organise a walking tour in which we visited some of the places in Lisbon associated with WWII espionage and you will find a link to the report here.



Edward Godfrey, Chairman



NEWS see more News here

JULY 19, 2020

Distribution of the Annual Report, 2019

Reports will be posted soon


JULY 7, 2020

The British Cemetery in Elvas

New book on the cemetery

EVENTS see more Events here


Weekend trip to Mértola, the Minas de São Domingos and Beja

Further postponement


JULY 14, 2020

Report on the WW2 Spies in Lisbon Tour

Our first activity since Lockdown

ARTICLES see more Articles here

Admiral Canaris of the Abwehr and WWII Spies in Lisbon

Author: N.L. Taylor



Year: 2020

Subject Matter: World War II


António de Oliveira Salazar and the British

Author: Andrew Shepherd



Year: 2020

Subject Matter: Portuguese History


50 Years Ago

The following are extracts from items which appeared in the 8 August 1970 edition of the Anglo Portuguese News:


Leader. The Passing of a Great Man


After another brave fight for his life and in spite of the best medical care, Dr. Oliveira Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal for thirty-six years, finally succumbed to a fatal illness on 27 July 1970. Since his all but total recovery after a cerebral hemorrhage in 1968 Dr. Salazar, now enjoying the courtesy title of President, led a very quiet life at home, receiving many friends and taking a certain amount of exercise in the course of drives into the country. His last illness was unexpected and his many friends and the country as a whole mourn the passing of a great figure who did so much for his country.


Tribute from Sir Nigel Ronald, British Ambassador to Portugal 1947 to 1954


Like all great men Dr. Salazar was the object of malicious representation by countless little men, many of them, I fear in my country. In actual fact he was a magnificent specimen of that almost extinct mammal, a man of a highly developed sense of duty. His mission, as he conceived it, was to teach his compatriots what he thought they always lacked, the elements of civic sense and social duty.


To the end he remained the professor, the teacher who laid stress above all on character formation, turning out good men, good citizens, good Portuguese. With this in view he spared no pains in his endeavours to create a State in which every individual would feel that he had a stake in his country. His basic idea, as it always seemed to me, was that it was not only silly, but morally indefensible to ask a man to vote on matters he neither understood nor cared about; on the other hand it was the inescapable duty of everyone to express his opinion on any matter which he felt to be of concern to him, his family, his home and his calling. The first need of such a society was stability, especially financial stability. By profession he was a teacher of public finance and thus qualified to carry out his first task, bringing his country from bankruptcy to a state of financial equilibrium unrivalled anywhere in our time.


True to his peasant background, he was a hard bargainer for his country’s interest. Yet all the while in my dealings with him I had the feeling that it was a pleasure to do business with such a likeable man.

50 Years Ago

From the sermon preached on the Sunday after Dr. Salazar’s death at St. Paul’s Church, Estoril by the incumbent, Canon John Humphreys


It was at a service of homage to a great Englishman that, by chance, I met Dr. Salazar. I was at the back of the church just before the service began when he entered, unescorted and seemingly unexpected, as a private individual to offer his last respects to Sir Winston Churchill.


I wondered then what thoughts were uppermost in his mind. While most of us were thinking gratefully of Churchill as Britain’s lion-hearted liberator, I felt the respect and regard of the great patriot went further back to the time when Winston Churchill had held out a friendly, helpful hand to Portugal.


Portugal’s entry into World War I on the side of the allies had been a very costly business for her. When that war was over, Portugal sought to meet her debts by a loan from the League of Nations. The terms, however were humiliating and they were declined but her financial distress remained acute.


Winston Churchill took note of the undignified way in which our oldest ally had been treated, and in the year when Salazar was first called to save his country’s financial reputation, Churchill was responsible for scaling down Portugal’s debt to Britain as a gesture of appreciation for the help of an honourable ally.


Was it the memory of this helpful gesture that prompted Salazar to offer unlimited credit to Britain in World War II at a time when Britain’s own fortunes and finances were generally considered a highly speculative risk? Under Salazar’s direction, Portugal’s finances had recovered so strongly that she was able to give war-torn Britain credit for more than six times the amount she had sought at the League of Nations.


With acknowledgment to The Anglo Portuguese News.

Every Quarter you will find in your BHSP Newsletter a selection of key events that happened 50 years ago or more. If you know of upcoming events related to Anglo Portuguese relations please send the information in good time to the BHSP Librarian at



What is the Portuguese connection with this Japanese delicacy?

Every Quarter in the BHSP Newsletter you will be shown a mystery object. Please feel free to write in to the BHSP Librarian at to tell us more about the mystery object in question. The answer to the quiz can be found at the end of the Members' News section

Did you know?

Did you know that one of the escapes from an Estado Novo prison was carried out in Salazar’s own car?


Over the years the Estado Novo held many political prisoners. Torture was common and the prisoners were often held in solitary confinement. The three main prisons were Aljube, in Lisbon, now site of the Resistance Museum; the Caxias prison; and Peniche Fortress, also now a museum.


There were several successful escape attempts. One, by ten prisoners at Peniche, including future Communist Party Secretary-General, Álvaro Cunhal, involved descending the walls using a rope of knotted sheets. This was very embarrassing for the regime, which claimed that the escapees had been rescued by a Soviet submarine.


But arguably the most humiliating escape was one from Caxias prison that involved the use of Salazar’s armoured Chrysler, which was kept at the prison because he considered it too ostentatious. On 4 December 1961 eight communist party members were able to smash the car through the main gate. One of them had gained the confidence of the guards by pretending to no longer be a communist, and had been able to get access to the vehicle.

Every Quarter the BHSP Newsletter will share a fact of historic or cultural interest related to Britain or Portugal. If you know of any such a fact or facts related to Anglo Portuguese relations, please send the information in good time to the BHSP Librarian at



Members' News

Members who were interested in our articles on slavery in Newsletter 4 may like to take a look at a fascinating online article called Africa in Lisbon, by Barry Hatton. The author is Associated Press correspondent in Lisbon and the author of Queen of the Sea - A History of Lisbon, published in 2018.



We would be delighted to hear about items of news from members, however insignificant they may be. Of special interest is news about books or articles that have been published by members, or visits to historical sites or exhibitions of interest.


When sorting through your attics and/or cupboards, you might come across letters, diaries, articles, postcards or videos related to Anglo-Portugal relations that you think would be of interest to the BHSP and its Members. Please contact our Librarian to discuss the matter further on All objects handed over to the BHSP Library will be logged either for further reference by researchers, for recovery at a later date or to be listed as a permanent donation (with the relevant documents) to the BHSP.



Answer to the Quiz



Tempura, involving frying in batter, was introduced into Japan by Portuguese missionaries and merchants who mainly came from the Alentejo. They fried fritters made from a batter of flour and eggs to consume on Ember fasting days, which correspond to the beginning and end of the four annual seasons, periods known as the Têmporas.







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