17 Sept. 1939

Fall of Poland

11 Nov. 1939

Circular nº 14 sent to posts abroad “to avoid abuses and loose practices which the Police of Vigilance and Defense of the State (henceforth PVDE) deems inconvenient or dangerous”. Establishes a list of cases where consuls cannot grant consular visas without previously consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (henceforth MNE).

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. 779)
Transcription (PDF)

Jan. 1940

Copy of a visa request form filled in by the applicant (Bordeaux Consulate).
1940 January

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, 2º P., A. 43, M. 79)

16 Jan. 1940

Note from the MNE to the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux drawing his attention to irregularities committed in issuing a visa to Arnold Wiznitzer and reminding him of the instructions contained in Circular nº 14.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

18 Mar. 1940

Official letter from the PVDE to the MNE concerning the Spaniard Eduardo Neira Laporte’s non-admission into Portugal, who had a visa issued by the Bordeaux Consulate against instructions issued by the PVDE.

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. – 779)

22 Apr. 1940

Official letter from the PVDE to the MNE noting that requests from Dutch Jews to enter Portugal have grown considerably, and requesting that bearing in mind the convulsions in Europe, and for the good of public service, consuls in Holland should be advised before requesting authorization to grant visas to scrutinize carefully if these were for Jews, so as to avoid the entry into Portugal of “individuals of that quality”.

(AHD – 2º P., A. 43, M. 49)

24 Apr. 1940

Note from the Secretary General of the MNE, Luiz Teixeira de Sampayo, to the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, again drawing his attention to the irregularities committed in issuing visas and warning him “that any new fault or infraction in this regard will be considered disobedience and give rise to disciplinary proceedings where it will have to be taken into account that you have repeatedly committed acts that merit warnings and reprimands”.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

5 May 1940

Germany invades Holland and advances on the West

17 May 1940

Telegraphic circular nº 17 from the MNE to the diplomatic missions containing instructions about issuing visas in passports, communicating that Consulates “may not in any case grant visas in passports without the prior authorization” of the MNE.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

24 May 1940

Circular nº 12 from the Directorate General of Economic and Consular Affairs containing instructions for the issue of visas in passports, in order to avoid granting residence permits and to avoid transit visas being transformed into resident permits.

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. – 779)
Transcription (PDF)

28 May 1940

Official letter from the PVDE to the MNE on the entry into Portugal of 17 Belgian subjects with visas issued by the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux without the necessary authorizations.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

7 Jun. 1940

Official letter from the PVDE to the MNE communicating the imprisonment of 3 Polish subjects whose passports had visas issued by the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux against all Instructions issued: “the repetition of these facts, which shows non-compliance with orders received, places the police in a difficult position as regards solving these cases as these individuals were not authorized to enter Portugal and will not be able to leave here as the other countries will not issue them with visas. We have drawn the attention of the Ministry several times concerning the behaviour of this Consul, who has issued visas in passports more than once without receiving the prior authorization of the Ministry and sometimes issues them without receiving a reply to requests previously made”.

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. – 779)

12 Jun. 1940

Spain alters its status in the War to non­belligerent

14 Jun. 1940

The Germans enter Paris

14 Jun. 1940

Telegraphic circular nº 23 from the MNE to the diplomatic Missions containing instructions on the issue of visas in passports: “as a general rule all requests should be addressed directly by the Consulates to the PVDE”, “all special cases” being reserved for the MNE.

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. – 779)

14–21 Jun. 1940

Register of Visas granted by the Portuguese Consulate in Bordeaux which shows that on 15 June the entries are made with full compliance with registration rules and that after 22 June the visas no longer have names attached to them, with a note saying that “visas nº 2763 to 2850 were issued by the Consul after working hours”.

(AHD – Bordeaux Consulate, L.2)

20 Jun. 1940

Memorandum from the British Embassy in Lisbon to the MNE casting suspicion on the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, having charged special rates “for Portuguese charity” when issuing visas.

(AHD – Consular Administration Department, R.C. – 779)

20 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 62 sent from the MNE to the Portuguese Legation in France (Bordeaux) communicating the complaint by the British Embassy in Lisbon and alluding to “violations verified against instructions sent Consul” and ordering the Portuguese Minister in France to “call Consul, demand a complete explanation, and adopt …prompt and energetic measures”.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams sent France)

21 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 179 sent from the MNE to the Portuguese Embassy in London informing that the number of foreigners requesting entry into Portugal is growing every day and that the British Ambassador “has requested with disturbing urgency a collective visa for 2 000 English who wish to leave France for Portugal to sail for England or overseas”.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received)

22 Jun. 1940

Telegram from the Portuguese Consul in Bayonne to the MNE informing about the orders received personally from Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, to grant free transit visas in all passports.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received)

22 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 65 sent from the MNE to the Portuguese Legation in France (Bordeaux) communicating that the Consul in Bordeaux must be told that “he is strictly forbidden to issue visas or passports. Exit visas from France to Portugal to be issued by Consul in Bayonne”.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams sent France)

23 Jun. 1940

Telegram from Lopo Simeão – special envoy to Bayonne – to the MNE saying in view of circumstances cannot go to Bordeaux and informing that the Spanish Consul in [Bayonne] “said that if Portuguese Government did not punish Bordeaux Consul immediately it would not be able entirely to disclaim responsibility for these acts that should be considered abuse of power. Unusually tragic circumstances may justify act of madness of said functionary or any other”.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received)

24 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 66 sent by the Foreign Minister to the Portuguese Embassy in France, ordering the immediate return to Portugal of the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams sent France)

25 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 101 from the Portuguese Ambassador in Madrid to the MNE recounting his mission to France (Bayonne), describing the chaotic situation of refugees at the border and informing that all visas granted by Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux had been declared invalid.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received Madrid)
Transcription (PDF)

26 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 104 from the Portuguese Ambassador in Madrid to the MNE conveying a request from the British Ambassador there to aid in the evacuation of 900 British nationals in France via Portugal.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received Madrid)

27 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 283 from the Portuguese Ambassador in London to the MNE conveying the request of the Polish Ambassador there to grant visas to about 1 000 Poles “of pure race” on the French border who had asked our Consul for visas to go to Portugal and heard that these had been declared invalid by orders from Lisbon.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

30 Jun. 1940

Report by the Director General of Economic and Consular Affairs, Count Tovar, on the irregularities committed by the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, when granting visas. Contains a dispatch from the Foreign Minister, Oliveira Salazar, dated 4 July 1940, ordering the initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

30 Jun. 1940

Telegram nº 17-A from the Portuguese Minister in France to the MNE on the actions of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, communicating “said Consul guaranteed that there was absolutely no foundation for the complaints submitted to you”, and requesting that he be heard on the facts.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received France)

1 Jul. 1940

Report by Armando Lopo Simeão on his special mission to Bayonne.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)
Transcription (PDF)

2 Jul. 1940

Telegram nº 19-A from the Portuguese Minister in France to the MNE informing that it was said in diplomatic circles that the German troops had reached San Sebastian and that it was estimated that five German divisions had passed through Bordeaux on the way to the border.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams received France)

2 Jul. 1940

Telegram nº 189 sent from the MNE to the Portuguese Minister in London on the problem of the increasing number of refugees arriving in Portugal: “The question of the foreign refugees in Portugal will easily become complicated and is already a serious problem, which cannot be allowed to get worse, despite all our good will. The entry of members of the Belgian and Luxembourg Governments was authorized with a prior declaration on arrival at the border that we were taking them in on an individual basis [...] Political and intellectual refugees [...] are among the least desirable on account of the activities they will want to carry out. Furthermore their number would require prior security and the possibility of immediate embarkation for another country, as our accommodation capacity is full. All visas granted in Bordeaux were done in strict contravention of express instructions from the MNE by a Consul whom I have already recalled”.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection of Telegrams sent London)

4 Jul. 1940

Order by the Foreign Minister, Oliveira Salazar, bringing disciplinary proceedings against the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, and appointing the Consul General, Francisco de Paula Brito, as Instructor.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

5 Jul. 1940

Draft decree placing Aristides de Sousa Mendes out of duty due to service reasons.
(published in D.G. Official Journal of 27 July 1940)

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

9 Jul. 1940

Telegram from the Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, to the MNE informing his return to Lisbon as ordered.

(AHD – Cipher, Collection Telegrams received Bordeaux)

9 Jul. 1940

Statements of Count Tovar, indicating Captain Agostinho Lourenço, Director of the PVDE, Pedro Teotónio Pereira, Ambassador in Madrid, and Armando Lopo Simeão, functionary of the Consular Section, as witnesses for the prosecution.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

10 Jul. 1940

Battle of Britain begins

15–26 Jul. 1940

Deposition of the witnesses for the prosecution, Ambassador Pedro Teotónio Pereira and Captain Agostinho Lourenço.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)
Transcription (PDF)

17 Jul. 1940

Letter from the PVDE concerning the arrival in Lisbon of the Luxembourgeois Paul Miny and Maria da Conceição Miny and the irregularities in their respective passports (attached are the passports and a report appended to the disciplinary proceedings as constituting yet another infraction, in this case falsification of documents by unduly issuing a Portuguese passport).

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

29 Jul. 1940

Additional Protocol to the Luso­-Spanish Treaty signed in Lisbon, reiterating the policy of Peninsular neutrality

1 Aug. 1940

Charge note of Aristides de Sousa Mendes presented by the Instructor of the disciplinary proceedings, Francisco de Paula Brito, outlining the facts of the proceedings.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

10 Aug. 1940

Defense of Aristides de Sousa Mendes in reply to the Charge Note, indicating his witnesses, the diplomats Francisco Calheiros e Meneses, Portuguese Minister in Brussels, Agapito Pedroso Rodrigues, Consular Inspector, and Agnelo Lopes da Cunha Pessoa, Consul (1st class).

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)
Transcription (PDF)

12 Aug. 1940

Letter from Gisèle Quittner Allatini to Aristides de Sousa Mendes thanking him for his help in Bordeaux: “I am writing to tell you how deeply admired you are in all the countries where you were consul. You are Portugal’s best propaganda and an honour to your country. All those who know you praise your courage, your great heart, your gentlemanly spirit, and say: if all Portuguese are like Consul General Mendes they are a people of gentlemen and heroes”.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

19 Aug. 1940

Deposition of Francisco Calheiros e Meneses, Portuguese Minister in Belgium, witness for the defense in the disciplinary proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes, describing the exodus of thousands of people fleeing from the German invasion and commenting on the moral fortitude required by a civil servant to obey orders instead of listening to the appeals of the victims.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)
Transcription (PDF)

23 Aug. 1940

Letter from Aristides de Sousa Mendes to the Foreign Ministry requesting that an article published in the Lisbon daily Diário de Notícias be appended to his defense. The article, dated 14 August 1940 and entitled “Portugal has always been Christian”, is about “the hospitality shown by Portugal” to foreigners and highlights “the absolute impartiality that characterizes the understanding attitude that has, individually and nationally, inspired our welcome, without preferences for nationalities or reservations of opinions, to all those who harassed by panic or hardship have beaten on our door”.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

29 Aug. 1940

Report by Francisco de Paula Brito, Instructor of the disciplinary proceedings, analyzing the possible applicable penalties and, considering the extenuating circumstances due to the “exceptional moral climate”, recommending “suspension of duties and pay ranging from more than 30 to 180 days”.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

1 Oct. 1940

Dispatch from the Foreign Minister, Oliveira Salazar, appointing Count Tovar as rapporteur in the disciplinary proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)
Transcription (PDF)

3 Oct. 1940

The Vichy Government publishes the Statute of the Jews and the next day a law on Jews of foreign nationality

19 Oct. 1940

Report by Count Tovar, rapporteur of the disciplinary proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

28 Oct. 1940

Mussolini invades Greece

29 Oct. 1940

Minutes of the Disciplinary Board of the Foreign Ministry, consisting of the Secretary General of the Ministry, Luiz Teixeira de Sampayo, the Director of Political Affairs, José da Costa Carneiro, and Count Tovar, rapporteur of the disciplinary proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes, proposing a penalty of “demotion to the preceding rank”.

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

30 Oct. 1940

Dispatch of the Foreign Minister, Oliveira Salazar, condemning Aristides de Sousa Mendes to one year’s suspension on half-pay, followed by compulsory retirement.
(published in official journal D.G., II Series, 18/11/1940)

(AHD – Disciplinary Proceedings against Aristides de Sousa Mendes)

31 Oct. 1940

Battle of Britain ended

Dec. 1940

Personal telegram from Aristides de Sousa Mendes to Salazar requesting payment of monies outstanding and stating that he is totally without funds.

(AHD – Aristides de Sousa Mendes, individual file)

14 Dec. 1940

Telegraphic circular nº 29 sent by the MNE with instructions for the issue of visas according to which transit visas through Portugal must be previously agreed by the PVDE.

(AHD – 2P, A44, M150)

31 Dec. 1940

Official letter nº 180 from the Portuguese Consul in Marseilles, José Augusto de Magalhães, to the MNE, criticizing the restrictions to people’s right of free transit introduced by Circular nº 29, and asking to be replaced as he did not wish to act in accordance with same.

(AHD – 2P, A44, M152)
Transcription (PDF)

20 Mar. 1941

Decree of 17 March 1941 suspending Aristides de Sousa Mendes on half-pay for one year, after which he must be compulsorily retired.
(Official Journal D.G. nº 65, series II, of 20/03/41)