THE DELAGOA BAY WORLD

23/04/2018

O GOLPE DE 25 DE ABRIL DE 1974 EM LOURENÇO MARQUES, VISTO PELO CONSULADO AMERICANO

Segundo a base de dados Wikileaks, estas são as quatro primeiras mensagens enviadas do Consulado Norte-Americano em Lourenço Marques no dia 25 de Abril de 1974, quando ocorreu o golpe militar em Lisboa que abriu o caminho para a independência do território, e nos dias que se seguiram.

Todas as mensagens são assinadas por Hendrik Van Oss, Cônsul-Geral dos EUA em Lourenço Marques entre 1971-1974, e que foi o seu último posto antes de se reformar. Van Oss, que se pode inferir que era da “velha escola”, deu uma interessantíssima entrevista em 1991 sobre a sua experiência em Moçambique que pode ser lida AQUI e da qual retirei esta pérola (mas há mais):

One point I want to make now is that the coup in Portugal took everybody in
Mozambique by surprise. Perhaps it shouldn’t have, but it did. It even took Frelimo by
surprise. Shortly after the coup, General Costa Gomes, Army Chief of Staff in Portugal,
who landed on his feet during this coup…he was Kaulza de Arriaga’s great enemy because
Kaulza had once blown the whistle on him for attempting a coup d’etat in Portugal years
ago, and Costa Gomes never forgave him for that, anyway he came to Lourenco Marques
and offered a cease-fire.

In other words, Portugal offered Mozambique to Frelimo on a silver platter. Frelimo
propaganda right up to that time had been along the lines that everybody should be
prepared for a long struggle, which would continue if necessary for 15 years. Suddenly
Frelimo was presented with the opportunity to take charge and they weren’t prepared for
it. They couldn’t take over immediately. They had to establish an interim government. I
think it took at least a year before they actually took over formally and became the official
government, although they were certainly involved in all decisions almost from April 25
on.

Talvez a mais curiosa seja a primeira mensagem de Van Oss, relativa a uma suposta instrução escrita por nada menos que Sua Alteza o Aga Khan, a ordenar que os seus seguidores abandonassem Moçambique imediatamente e  que antecedeu mesmo a informação do golpe em Lisboa.

Mensagem 1: Quinta-Feira, 25 de Abril de 1974, 12:25 horas

Msg 01

1. WE HAVE HEARD RUMOR CIRCULATING AROUND LOURENCO MARQUES’
INDIAN COMMUNITY THAT AGA KHAN FOLLOWERS (ISMAILI) HAVE
BEEN INSTRUCTED BY AGA KHAN TO LEAVE MOZAMBIQUE AND
ESTABLISH THEMSELVES IN ANOTHER COUNTRY WITH MORE PROMISING
ECONOMIC CLIMATE –E.G. EITHER METROPOLITAN PORTUGAL OR
CANADA. AGA KHAN’S LETTER TO ISMAILIAN COMMUNITY REPORTEDLY
INDICATED HE BELIEVED THAT MOZAMBIPUE WOULD BE OVERRUN BY
TERRORISM WITHIN TWO YEARS.

2. INDIAN AND PAKISTANI SOURCES SAY THAT SOME AGA KHAN
FOLLOWERS HAVE ALREADY LEFT AND OTHERS ARE PREPARING TO
CLOSE DOWN SHOPS IN LOURENCO MARQUES. THEY ARE ALLEGEDLY
OFFERING 60 PERCENT MORE IN MOZAMBIQUE ESCUDOS FOR PORTU-
GUESE ESCUDOS THAN REQUIRED BY OFFICIAL EXCHANGE RATE.
VAN OSS

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Mensagem 2: Quinta-Feira, 25 de Abril de 1974, 15:15 horas

Msg 2 01/02

Msg 2 02/02 end

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Mensagem 3: Sexta-Feira, 26 de Abril de 1974, 09:50 horas

Msg 03 01

1. NEWS OF COUP IN PORTUGAL BEGAN TO TRICKLE IN THROUGH
INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTS EARLY IN MORNING OF APRIL 25
AND NEWS FIRST REACHED CONGEN SHORTLY AFTER BBC 10 O’CLOCK
NEWSCAST.

2. CITY REMAINED CALM THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND NIGHT, WITH
CLOSEST THING TO EXCITEMENT BEING CROWDS OF PEOPLE MOBBING
NEWS BOYS SELLING SPECIAL LATE EVENING EDITION OF TRIBUNA
WHICH CARRIED COMPLETE ANI ACCOUNT OF LISBON EVENTS FROM
0814 IN MORNING TO 1901 IN EVENING.

3. CONTRARY TO BBC BROADCAST, THERE WERE NO EXTRA MILITARY
OR GUARDS IN EVIDENCE AROUND GOVT BUILDINGS. DESPITE RUMORED

PAGE 02 LOUREN 00278 261057Z

HOUSE ARREST OF GOVERNOR GENERAL (WHICH STILL UNCONFIRMED),
THERE WERE ONLY TWO GUARDS TO BE SEEN AT EACH ENTRANCE TO
HIS RESIDENCE, AS NORMAL.

4. RUMOR THAT MILITARY POLICE HAD IMPOSED AN OBLIGATORY
CURFEW IN THE CITY STARTING AT 2100 WAS LATER OFFICIALLY
DENIED. ATTENDANCE AT CINEMAS, HOWEVER, WAS SIGNIFICANTLY
LOWER THAN USUAL.

5. MORNING PRESS OF APRIL 26 ALSO CARRIES FULL ACCOUNT OF
EVENTS IN PORTUGAL AS WELL AS SEMI-OFFICIAL (OFFICIOSO)
GOVT NOTE STATING THAT NEWS FROM LISBON INDICATED THAT
MILITARY MOVEMENT HAD ERUPTED, WHICH HAD SUPPORT OF VARIOUS
UNITS OF ARMED FORCES AND WHICH OBTAINED RESIGNATION OF
PRIME MINISTER CAETANO. WHILE THERE WAS NOT YET ANY OFFICIAL
INFORMATION, POWER HAD APPARENTLY BEEN ASSUMED BY MILITARY
JUNTA WHOSE MEMBERSHIP HAD NOT BEEN ANNOUNCED AS OF 2230
HOURS LOCAL TIME APRIL 25. NOTE CONTINUED THAT GOVERNOR
GENERAL, IN STRICT COOPERATION WITH CIVIL AND MILITARY
AUTHORITIES, WILL TRY TO ASSURE CONTINUED NORMALCY OF LIFE
IN THE STATE OF MOZAMBIQUE AND COUNTS ON POPULATION TO
MAINTAIN COMPLETE CALM AND CONFIDENCE DURING THESE MOMENTS.
WHEN MORE PRECISE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE, IT WILL BE
MADE PUBLIC.

6. NO HARD INFORMATION YET AVAILABLE ON REACTIONS IN BEIRA
AND NAMPULA, ALTHOUGH ACCORDING ONE REPORT, COMMANDER-IN-
CHIEF BASTO MACHADO IS “STILL AT HIS DESK.” VARIOUS PRO-
VINCIAL SECRETARIES SEEN YESTERDAY BY MY BRITISH COLLEAGUE,
WHO IS HOSTING A BRITISH TRADE MISSION, SEEMED RELAXED AND
QUITE EAGER TO VENT CRITICISM OF FORMER CENTRAL GOVERNMENT
IN LISBON OVER ITS FAILURE TO PAY SUFFICIENT ATTENTION TO
MOZAMBIQUE’S NEEDS.

7. DR. JOANA SIMIAO CHECKED IN APRIL 26 TO SAY NEW DEVELOP-
MENTS HAVE CHANGED GUMO PLANS AND SHE NO LONGER EXPECTS
TAKE GUMO CASE BEFORE UN COMMITTEE WITHIN FORESEEABLE FUTURE,
AS PROBLEM HAS NOW BECOME PURELY AN INTERNAL ONE. SHE
EXPECTS TO REDOUBLE EFFORTS TO BRING GUMO OBJECTIVES BEFORE
PUBLIC AND TO WORK OPENLY TO ESTABLISH GUMO AS FULL-FLEDGED
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION READY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE COMING

PAGE 03 LOUREN 00278 261057Z

ELECTIONS PROMISED IN SPINOLA’S SPEECH.

8. COMMENT: WHILE TOO EARLY MAKE DEFINITIVE JUDGMENT,
OUR FIRST IMPRESSION IS THAT MAJORITY OF ARTICULATE POPU-
LATION OVERWHELMINGLY FAVORS NEW DEVELOPMENT, AND WHILE
SOME EXPRESS QUALMS OVER PREDOMINANTLY MILITARY ASPECTS OF
NEW CONTROLLING GROUP, SENTIMENT IS THAT THINGS COULDN’T
POSSIBLY BE WORSE THAN THEY HAVE BEEN. EVERYONE SEEMS
DELIGHTED AT FIRST UNCENSORED PRESS ACCOUNTS SEEN HERE IN
OVER FORTY YEARS. LIFE IN LOURENCO MARQUES GOES ON NORMALLY
AND GOVT OFFICIALS CONTINUE CARRY OUT THEIR FUNCTIONS.
VAN OSS

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Mensagem 4: Domingo, 28 de Abril de 1974, 08:30 horas

 

Msg 4 01/08

1. LIFE IN LOURENCO MARQUES CONTINUES IN NORMAL FASHION.
BEIRA, NAMPULA AND TETE ALL REPORTED CALM. LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
OF PAST TWO DAYS HAVE CARRIED FULL ACCOUNTS OF SPINOLA
TAKEOVER BASED ON ANI REPORTS, INCLUDING ENTIRE PROGRAM OF
NATIONAL SALVATION JUNTA WITH ITS ANNOUNCEMENT OF GOVERNOR
GENERAL’S DISMISSAL AND TEMPORARY ASSUMPTION OF GOVERNING
POWERS BY SECRETARY GENERAL. REPORTEDLY, GOVERNOR GENERAL
PIMENTEL DOS SANTOS HAS REFUSED TO ACCEPT DISMISSAL BASED
ON PRESS PROCLAMATION, AND INSISTS HE WILL STEP DOWN ONLY
ON WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS THROUGH CHANNELS. NO DOUBT DISMISSAL

PAGE 02 LOUREN 00282 281238Z

WILL EVENTUALLY STICK, AND WILL BE REGARDED WITH CONSIDERABLE
SATISFACTION AS DOS SANTOS IS NOT POPULAR HERE. THERE IS
NO OUTWARD EVIDENCE OF JUNTA CONTROL. NO LOCAL JUNTA REPRE-
SENTATIVE HAS YET BEEN NAMED. SO FAR AS IS KNOWN, ALL
GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS STILL BEING CARRIED OUT BY USUAL
PERSONNEL ACTING UNDER OWN MOMENTUM WITHOUT DIRECT INSTRU-
CTIONS FROM JUNTA. SOME THOUGHT GENERAL MARIO DIEGO NETO,
CHIEF OF AIR FORCE IN MOZAMBIQUE AND MEMBER OF JUNTA, MIGHT
ASSUME OVERALL COMMAND. HOWEVER, TRIBUNA OF APRIL 26 REPORTS
HE HAS FLOWN TO LISBON.

2. DESPITE FULL COVERAGE OF FACTS, THERE HAS YET BEEN NO
EDITORIAL COMMENT IN LOCAL PRESS ON TAKEOVER. WE WERE
TOLD BY ONE EDITOR AND LONG-TIME OPPONENT OF FORMER REGIME,
THAT AFTER YEARS OF WORRYING ABOUT CENSOR’S RED PENCIL AND
WRITING IN PARABLES TO CONVEY THOUGHTS WITHOUT SAYING THINGS
OPENLY, HE AND HIS COLLEAGUES FIND THEMSELVES STYMIED BY
THEIR NEW-FOUND FREEDOM AND UNABLE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES.
THIS WILL NO DOUBT PASS.

3. REPORTEDLY, COMMANDER IN CHIEF BASTO MACHADO HAS SENT
TELEGRAM TO LISBON SUPPORTING JUNTA. IF TRUE, THIS SHOULD
REMOVE ANY LINGERING DOUBT OVER HOW PORTUGUESE ARMED FORCE
IN MOZAMBIQUE WILL REACT. MANY YOUNGER OFFICERS HAD PRE-
VIOUSLY INDICATED THEIR SUPPORT FOR SPINOLA AFTER HIS
DISMISSAL FOLLOWING PUBLICATION OF HIS BOOK. REACTION OF THE
HIGHER OFFICERS WAS THE ONLY REMAINING QUESTION MARK.

4. BBC AND SOUTH AFRICAN MEDIA HAVE BEEN SUGGESTING POSSI-
BILITY OF WHITE UDI IN MOZAMBIQUE ALONG LINES OF RHODSIAN
MODEL. NO ONE HERE CONSIDERS THIS TO BE IN THE CARDS. WHITE
MINORITY IS NOT SUFFICIENTLY DISCIPLINED, NUMEROUS, OR UNITED
TO CONTEMPLATE GOING IT ALONE. IT LACKS ANY POWER BASE, AND
WITHOUT ACTIVE SUPPORT FROM THE ARMED FORCES, A UDI MOVE-
MENT WOULD BE DOOMED FROM THE START. THERE HAS IN PAST BEEN
SOME UDI SENTIMENT, PARTICULARLY AMONG THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
IN BEIRA. BUT AFTER RECENT DEMONSTRATIONS AIMED AT ARMY IN
THAT CITY, CHANCES OF ARMY SUPPORT ARE NIL. THIS DOES NOT
DENY THAT MOST BUSINESSMEN WOULD WELCOME LESS STRINGENT
CONTROL FROM LISBON OVER ECONOMIC MATTERSGM BUT THEY STILL
COUNT ON THE METROPOLE TO LOOK OUT FOR WELFARE OF ITS WHITE

PAGE 03 LOUREN 00282 281238Z

CITIZENS OVERSEAS, TO PROVIDE PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT FOR
CARRYING ON WAR AGAINST FRELIMO GUERRILLAS, AND TO GIVE
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE WHEN REQUIRED.

5. ON MORE CAREFUL OBSERVATION, WHAT WE REPORTED AS FAVORABLE
REACTION TO TAKEOVER, (SEE REFTEL) MAY NOT BE SO FAVORABLE
AS WE HAD THOUGHT. WHILE FEW DEFEND THE FORMER GOVERNMENT,
A NUMBER ARE DISPLAYING CONCERN OVER THE MILITARY CHARACTER
OF THE NEW RULING JUNTA, POINTING OUT THAT HISTORY SHOWS FEW
MILITARY GOVERNMENTS TURN OUT TO BE AS PROGRESSIVE AS THEIR
ORIGINAL PROCLAMATIONS PROFESS, AND THAT THE FREEDOMS BEING
RESTORED MAY TURN OUT TO BE SHORT-LIVED. OTHERS WORRY ABOUT
THE IMPACT OF THE COUP ON THE AFRICAN MAJORITY, (ALTHOUGH
THUS FAR THERE HAS BEEN NO INDICATION HOW THE AFRICANS WILL
REACT), FEARING THAT A REFERENDUM WILL SPEED THE EVENTUAL
TAKEOVER OF POWER BY THE AFRICANS AND CONSEQUENT ABANDONMENT
BY THE METROPOLE. I HAVE EVEN HEARD THE VIEW THAT THE COUP
WAS ACTUALLY ENGINEERED BY CAETANO HIMSELF AS A MEANS OF
FORCING THROUGH CHANGES WHICH HE COULD NOT BRING ABOUT
BECAUSE OF RIGHTIST OPPOSITION. THERE IS THUS CONSIDERABLE
CONFUSION; PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT AND ARE WAITING
TO SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

6. NO REACTION YET FROM FRELIMO, ALTHOUGH IT IS EXPECTED
TO BE SIMILAR TO THOSE EXPRESSED BY PAIGC AND ANGOLAN LIBE-
RATION MOVEMENTS. NO FRELIMO GUERRILLA ACTIVITY HAS BEEN
REPORTED SINCE SPINOLA TAKEOVER, BUT THIS PROBABLY COINCI-
DENCE.
VAN OSS

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