SOE in Portugal: a gloomy story

Last year in Warsaw in a lecture for which I was invited by Professor Jan Ciechanowski, I said: «since Mackenzie, SOE activity in Portugal is usually out of official accounts, because it was a failure[1]. For some, 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 "Jack" 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, an 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's 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».
I have now written a book with a more detailed account of this event.


[1] Neville Wylie is an exception to this. His ‘An Amateur Learns his Job’? Special Operations Executive in Portugal, 1940.1942, published on the Journal of Contemporary History [volume 36 (3), 441-457, 2001] is a landmark on the studies on this topic. He published another remarkable study about SOE and the neutrals in Special Operations Executive, a new instrument of war (edited by Mark Seaman), Routledge, 2006, pages 157 ff.