The French translation: Une revolution dans la paix (1937) and Le Portugal et la crise europeenne (1940)

There is no documental proof but there is every likelihood that the intermediary behind this translation was Antonio Ferro, as he had already had works published in France and had very good contacts there in addition to being a friend of the Flammarion publisher and its director Max Fischer. Furthermore, there is the choice of the translator, Fernanda de Castro, Ferro’s wife, who had already translated her husband’s book on Salazar (see above), that points in this same direction. She was also due to work on the second volume but this was then carried out by Pierre Hourcade, a resident in Portugal, the director of Instituto Frances, first in Oporto and then in Lisbon. He was sounded out informally by the writer Luis Forjaz Trigueiros, possibly as a result of SPN intelligence gathering, and was known to be a great admirer of Salazar. The SPN sought the agreement of Ferro prior to making any formal approach to Hourcade. The Instituto Frances played a major role in this translation and when Hourcade was called up on national service, he was replaced by Raymond Warnier, his successor at the institute.[1]

Preparations for the publication of a second volume began in August 1938, when Paulo Osorio, services director for the Diario de Noticias newspaper in Paris, requested instructions from the SPN on the speeches for inclusion in the second volume. One of the lists he received details the “Speeches that are deemed appropriate to making up the second volume of the French translation” [“Discur- sos que se julga conveniente fazerem parte do 2.° volume da tradu^ao francesa”] (letter from Silva Dias to Osorio dated 10th August 1938). Nevertheless, Pierre Hourcade would only be officially contacted in May 1939 and, on acceptance, did not hide his own admiration for Salazar to the point of not wishing for his name to feature in the translation. Before the end of June, the translations were ready. The Office of Salazar was then informed about the conclusion of the work and made several alterations, not only to the titles and the subtitles but also ordered the SPN to provide a Final Note. On behalf of Flammarion, Max Fischer expressed congratulations on the conclusion of the translation (7th July) but raised the following objection: the Portuguese side wanted a preface written by a French dignitary but Fischer did not go along with this idea and justified his position with reference to Salazar’s own personality in an elucidative argument:

Le President Salazar est considere, en France, comme une fa^on d’arbitre des partis portu- gais. Il me semble qu’il y a un grand interet a ne pas risquer de fausser, chez nous, la vision que se font les Fran^ais de l’homme d’Etat qui a su operer, dans la paix et la concorde, de maniere aussi parfaite, le redressement de son Pays (letter dated 7th July 1939).

He recommended, alternatively, the writing of a “portrait” of Salazar by a writer “without any political opinion”. In September, Fischer acknowledges the reception of the texts before making some comments on the translation while mixing in high praise for Salazar: “la profondeur et la surete des vues politiques, la serenite du ton, la lucidite des aper^ues generaux, la vigueur et le bonheur d’expression des formules d’ordre general, font de ce livre un ouvrage definitif” (letter dated 27th September 1939). Furthermore, Fischer himself proposed the title of the book (Le Portugal et la crise europeenne) which was accepted by the Portuguese instances.

Meanwhile, following the call-up of Hourcade, as stated above, it was left to his successor to review the translations. This is one of the rare contexts in which there is any “theorising” over the translation: Warnier proposed the replacing of the overly literal version of Hourcade by a freer translation and therefore “better in agreement with the spirit of our language” [“plus conforme a l’esprit de notre langue”], in which he gained the backing of the SPN (Silva Dias): “Whenever, without harm to the exactitude, it should be preferable, to the benefit of the form, a free version shall then be adopted” [“Quando, sem prejuizo da exactidao, seja preferivel, em beneficio da forma, uma versao livre, deve ser adoptada”] (letter dated 2nd November 1939). Hence, there once again prevailed the criteria of quality in the target language, which certainly interrelates with the concerns in effect over the image of Salazar among the international target audiences.

The Office of Salazar was always respectfully informed about the ongoing correspondence between the SPN and Flammarion, whilst clearly it remained Salazar who held the final word on any matter. In fact, various alterations were made to the translation and then sent to the publisher that Silva Dias attributed to “His Excellence” [“Sua Excelencia”], which ranged from changes made to titles to the replacement of footnotes. Furthermore, also in December 1939, “an autographic note by the President of the Council” [“nota autografa do Senhor Presidente do Conselho”] was sent to Paris with comments on the notes and identifying corrections yet to be introduced to the text.

In relation to the preface, a still pending issue, Ferro and Fischer decided to close the subject by giving up on it. However, the words of Fischer to Silva Dias, explaining the decision with recourse to the already known argument as to the “apolitical” nature and “impartiality” of Salazar again serve to impress and deserve due quotation:

Quel que soit le prefacier que nous choisirions, nous risquerions de diminuer ou l’importance de l’oeuvre, ou l’importance de l’auteur. Le President Salazar est un homme politique tout a fait original et personnel, il a ses methodes. De Paris, on n’a pas l’impression, en regardant Lisbonne, que le President Salazar puisse etre le Chef d’un parti politique situe soit a droite, soit au centre, soit ailleurs; mais on a l’impression tres nette qu’il est le chef eclair et impartial du Gouvernement de son pays. Quelle que soit l’opinion politique du prefacier, une introduction risquerait de fausser le sens tout a fait general de l’oeuvre, en la teintant d’une couleur politique (letter dated 23/12/1939).

Antonio Ferro represented Salazar at the signing of the contract with Flammarion, which took place in January 1940. There is one further step worthy of due highlight given how this encapsulates the interrelationship between this publication and the political situation then prevailing. The final notes to the book (anonymous but certainly the work of either Salazar’s Office or the SPN) were delivered to

Flammarion in February when Fischer suggested to Ferro that they be left out so as to withdraw any tone of propaganda (which indeed gets recognised as such!) and because they were misaligned in time with their attack on democracies.

[...] Le livre, tel qu’il se presente actuellement, garde son air important et necessaire d’ouvrage de politique generate, de politique europeenne. Les notes en question - notes anonymes - lui donneraient un ton de propagande qui en attenuerait la portee, et en fausserait le sens. [...] Il existe, en effet, a l’heure actuelle, dans ces notes, un certain nombre de jugements severes sur ^organization et le gouvernement des Democraties. Or ces jugements sont anonymes. Une Censure de guerre porrait-elle envisager de viser ainsi ces affirmations sans visage et sans responsable.

The Portuguese side agreed and the book came out without notes in May 1940, shortly before the occupation of Paris by German troops. The promotional campaign was carefully prepared among both intellectuals and leading figures and newspapers and magazines. Thus far, there were no references from the Portuguese side as to the political situation then experienced. However, the final set of documents analysed changed this oversight. Paulo Osorio, now Press Attache at the Delegation of Portugal to occupied France,[2] requested instructions from Ferro as regards the promotion/propaganda of the second volume of the Discursos (30/8/1940). The response raises interest: the propaganda “would be of use in a non-occupied France, where they are studying the political reforms of the country” [“a sua divulga^ao e expansao seria util na Franca nao ocupada, onde estao a estudar-se as reformas politicas daquele pais”]. At this time, SPN was making insistent requests both to Flammarion, which had in the meanwhile relocated to Lyon, and to the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the objective of securing the dispatch of two volumes to Lisbon, where the book had sold out, and where it now proved necessary “for the action of this Organism and, especially, to supply to foreign individuals wishing to translate the works into languages in which they are not yet published” [“para a ac^ao deste Organismo e, especialmente, para serem fornecidos a individualidades estrangeiras que pretendem traduzi-los para linguas em que ainda o nao estao”] (letter from Silva Dias to the Foreign Ministry on the orders of Salazar, 3/1/1941). The Foreign Ministry was told to undertake, whether in free or in occupied France, every due effort to send the copies to Portugal. The SPN did not even hold back from recalling the terms of the contract to the French publisher even while there were clearly exceptional circumstances prevailing. These insistences extended through to at least May 1942 and included invoking the argument (considering the commercial interest) of the many foreigners then passing through Lisbon (as a matter of fact, refugees on their way to America!). The French publisher also ended up positing the scope for a second edition of the work.

The two volumes of the French translation, but especially the first volume, would end up taking on major significance given that Salazar himself, whilst always preferring translations based upon the original (with substantial evidence proving this point), would always recommend, whenever direct translation was not possible, the French edition out of the consideration that this was the closest to his own original texts. Furthermore, the choice of the texts in the first volume would be repeated across the other editions that took French as the intermediary language: the Italian, Spanish, Greek, Rumanian, Serbian and Japanese editions and as well as the English. However, the SPN, always in close connection with Salazar’s Office, remained constantly on hand to add on the most recent speeches, chronologically closest to the date of publication (as happened with the second French volume).

  • [1] The materials relating to the first volume are found in FSNI, Cx 4226, whilst the highlydetailed dossier on the second volume comes in Cx 4231.
  • [2] Now in Vichy, in the Hotel des Ambassadeurs.
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