SOE Portugal, conference in Warsawa

SOE activity in Portugal is usually out of official accounts, because it was a failure. For many SOE failure in Portugal is usually described as a result of local police infiltration. That is part of the truth. The real cause must be searched also on the ambiguous nature of the double game played by John Beevor, establishing its networks here with the left-wingers that were opponents to Salazar’s regime but not preventing from close contacts with the Legião Portuguesa, a armed militia, organized by the extreme right to fight communism. Internal disputes between Legião and PVDE, the State Police, the amateurish nature of Beevor’s work, and conflict with the Foreign Office mentality created the explosive mixture. The British were saved by Salazar from the scandal of being traitor’s vis-à-vis our oldest diplomatic Alliance, the Portuguese involved suffered deportation to Tarrafal, a concentration camp and prison in Cape Vert. A gloomy story, and «a case study».

These are the conclusions of a lecture I gave at Warsawa yesterday in an international conference organised by the Office fo War Veternas and Victims of Oppression entitled On the Secret Front: the Intelligence during the World War II