1947-10-09 PDF Imprimir e-mail
Discurso proferido em 9 de Outubro de 1947 por José Caeiro da Matta no Palácio Nacional de Sintra por ocasião da visita a Portugal de Senadores e membros da Câmara dos Representantes dos Estados Unidos da América.


I only wish to say a few words, in the first place to address my warmest greetings to His Excellency Ambassador Wiley who, with such distinction, represents his country in our midst, and, in the second place, to welcome most cordially the illustrious Senators and Members of ' the House of Representatives of the United States of America, whom it gives me very great pleasure indeed to entertain in this historic building, and who are, at this moment, special Envoys of the great Nation, the prominence of whose position in the leadership of the world is so clearly acknowledged and willingly accepted.

Our American friends are always welcome at this time of anxiety, when the destiny of our civilization depends, to a large extent, on the action of the United States, as President Truman so aptly said a few weeks ago, at Petropolis, their presence cannot but be a source of gratification and comfort to us.  

Your coming, Gentlemen, coincides with the gathering of a great cloud over the world. The nature of the recent war, its extent, its total character, the political, economic and social disturbances to which it has given rise, the development of an industrial economy of world-wide scope, the disruption of the international political order, the existence of atomic weapons, all this has placed us in a strange world - a world which undoubtedly presents new possibilities but which also contains within itself new and enormous perils. The inescapable situation we face is this: either mankind succeeds in creating and upholding institutions capable of preserving it from war, or it will find itself in imminent danger of perishing.  

It is imperative that each Nation should recover its soul, its mind, its own way of life, and that it should re-build thereon its institutions. We well know that, unfortunately, not all peoples are at present in a position to do this, subjected as some of them are to an abhorrent foreign domination. In these times of disquieting collective passions, in this horizon of ours, dark with foreboding, in which the world organization set - up at San Francisco would almost seem to be in danger of being turned into a source of insecurity and an instrument for the disruption of peace-owing mainly to the unscrupulous use of the right of veto by those who, at times, appear to belong to the United Nations for the sole purpose of brandishing that weapon (and well are the United States sensing this!) in these times. I say, it is to the great American Nation that the majority of countries are anxiously turning. 

Portugal, from the first, received with the utmost satisfaction and full understanding the words with which the American Secretary of State, Mr. Marshall, aroused such great hopes in the world. These sentiments he unhesitatingly expressed to the State Department and implemented by accepting the invitation of the British and French Governments to the European Economic Conference taking part in its labours with the liveliest interest. We went to Paris animated by the desire to co-operate in the work of European economic reconstruction to the fullest extent of our powers. I, myself, did my best stress this as strongly as I could at the Conference.  

More than ever is it imperative that there should be forthcoming from all quarters that will for co-operation to which Mr. Bevin so dramatically and so vigourously appealed in his impressive speech at the closing session of the Conference. 

Many problems which, until recently, were considered from a purely national point of view, have now to be reviewed and re-assessed: such are the problems of production, of manpower, of price levels, of trade, of customs barriers ' of transport, of finance and so many others.  

With American economic aid - which is that we might call the Marshall doctrine - the needy countries of the European continent are now offered an opportunity to re-build themselves, as also an incentive to seek their own salvation. May this be understood by all. Alas, very recent events are again shaking the faith and endurance of the peace workers, but let US not lose the hope that in a reconstructed world, with balances restored whereby alone its individual and collective liberties can be effectively secured, and the principle of national political autonomy proclaimed anew, our ideals may at last become the reality of a human society in which. Harmoniously - and without violence or constraint, in a world of free men, law and order shall be the true international rulers. 

In conclusion, I wish to say how deeply the Portuguese Government appreciated the words which the United States delegate to the Security Council, Senator Warren Austin, spoke at Flushing Meadows, on behalf of his Government, only a few days ago in referring to my country. 

Gentlemen, in giving you the toast of the United States of America I drink to President Truman and to the distinguished American guests who have honoured me with their company on this occasion. 

MATTA, José Caeiro da, Portugal and the United States of America, Lisboa, Imprensa Portugal-Brasil, 1947.