Sacrificing His Core Supporters in a Race Against Defeat
ON November 24, 1927, the Portuguese Government asked the League of Nations to promote a loan of £12,000,000 for the purpose of carrying out in Portugal "a general plan of financial restoration, currency stabilization and economic development." The League took the request under consideration and sent a delegation to Lisbon to study the situation of the Treasury and the Bank of Portugal. Its findings were favorable. By balancing the budget, legally stabilizing the currency, consolidating the State's debt to the Bank of Portugal, and issuing a foreign loan, to be devoted in part to public works of genuine importance, the Committee of the League felt that it would be possible to set the finances and currency of the country on a solid basis. The Portuguese Government at first appeared to be in agreement with the general terms of the plan drawn up by the Committee, but on June 5, 1928, it dispatched another letter to the President of the Council of the League, declining the loan which it had requested six months earlier. What had happened? The matter is worth explaining, because it involves principles of foreign and domestic politics which transcend the particular case of Portugal.
First of all, certain historical preliminaries must be set forth. As we know, since May 28, 1926, Portugal has been governed by a military dictatorship, which is at present in the hands of General Oscar de Fragoso Carmona. The Portuguese dictatorship is an echo of the Spanish dictatorship, just as the latter is an echo of the Italian. At bottom all three are a reaction against the English and French type of parliamentary government. The doctrine behind this reaction is as old as the world: the doctrine of absolutism, of direct government, without restrictions or responsibilities before the law. Louis XIV formulated it more clearly than the innumerable philosophers who have tried to define it, when he said: "L'État c'est moi." In our time its most enthusiastic champions have been Charles Maurras and his colleagues of L'Action Française. The Russian Communist doctrine, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is a theoretical variant on classical absolutism, although its practice and aims are radically different. In Fascism, Mussolini, the ex-Socialist, has tried -- unsuccessfully -- to combine with the form and content of Russian Marxism that of French Nationalism. The Spanish and Portuguese Dictatorships are imitations of Fascism as a form of absolutism -- anti-Liberal and anti-democratic -- and as an expression of the State's effort to absorb completely the life of the individual, while preventing him from taking any part in the conduct of affairs save as a member of the party in power and (if the proposed constitutional reforms are realized) as a member of a profession or trade union. The opposition is excluded from all rights of representation and government; they are political pariahs.
General Carmona is a disciple of General Primo de Rivera and of Mussolini, yet in the twentieth century it was Portugal that was the first country to restore the system of dictatorships in Europe. Priority in this matter goes to King Carlos, who in 1907 appointed Joao Franco dictator. The pretext was the bad administration of the two constitutional parties which were returned to power. The pretext was partly justified. Both in Portugal and Spain -- two countries on the same political level and with similar historical backgrounds -- the constitution was democratic: one man, one vote. But because of public ignorance -- even today 70 percent of the Portuguese are illiterate -- the country was governed by oligarchical groups, which manipulated the suffrage as they pleased and regarded office only as a series of substantial sinecures, the fat booty of political warfare. Under such a system the colonies decayed, commerce and industry became exhausted, the population emigrated, and the national debt grew to alarming proportions.
However, in Portugal, as also in Spain, a curious political evolution had occurred during the nineteenth century. In both countries the monarchy was nominally constitutional, but in practice it was an absolute monarchy which entrusted the parties with power; and the parties, by cynically manipulating the political machinery, proceeded to impose that power on a people for the most part ignorant and indifferent. The suffrage was a fiction, a simulacrum of democracy. Power did not emanate from the people to the parties and from the latter to the Crown, but from the Crown to the parties and from the latter to the local organizations of bosses. The people voted as they were ordered, or for whoever paid most for votes. But gradually the oligarchical group were fortifying themselves against the Crown and creating antagonism to it. The oligarchy and its instruments, the bosses of the electoral districts, slowly restricted the absolute power of the King. After a century of pseudo-constitutional government, the monarchy no longer could control the political parties. At this point and for this reason -- because of the increasing power of the governing oligarchy and not because of the corruption of the parties, which was always more or less the same -- the Portuguese monarchy established the dictatorship of Joao Franco as, some years later, in 1923, and for analogous reasons, the Spanish monarchy had to establish the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera.
The experiment was fatal to the Portuguese monarchy. Before a year of dictatorship had passed, King Carlos and his son Luis, the Crown Prince, were shot dead in the streets of Lisbon. Manuel II succeeded to the throne, but the revolution of October 5, 1910, drove him into exile, and the Republic was proclaimed. There have been many unsuccessful attempts to restore the monarchy. Today, the monarchical cause in Portugal may be regarded as definitely lost. A contributing factor has been the indifference of ex-King Manuel, whose temperament is not bellicose, and who prefers the comfortable peace of his retirement in England to the re-conquest of his throne by arms; another is the absence of a pretender with sufficient titles of legitimacy. But the greatest factor has been the extensive and thorough republicanization of a large part of the country. The governing classes, the politicians, the intellectuals, the organized workers, even the soldiers, are frankly republican. The monarchical cause -- profoundly discredited by its last incarnation -- has scarcely any partisans even amongst the monarchists themselves.
Some years ago a group was formed under the name of Lusitanian Integralism, partisans of absolute monarchy without universal suffrage or public liberties. Integralism was, in a sense, a precursor of Fascism and a translation into Portuguese, with certain local modifications, of the doctrine of L'Action Française. But the collapse of all the attempts at restoring the monarchy and the ineptitude of the heirs and pretenders to the throne caused the Integralists to regard the monarchical form as of secondary importance. The essential thing was absolutism, although they continued to call it a republic. Joao Franco, the monarchist, and Sidonio Pais, the republican -- the dictator of December 5, 1917 -- amount to the same thing. What mattered was the dictatorship, the suppression of Parliament and of all personal and political liberty. It might be said that the military dictatorship of May 28, 1926, is substantially a realization of the aims of Lusitanian Integralism -- without the monarchy, of course. But what does it matter what the system of government is called? It is the fact that counts; and the fact is that the dictatorship over which General Carmona now presides is one of the most absolutist governments in power in the world today. It has adjourned Parliament sine die, muzzled the press, dissolved the political and trade union organizations, imprisoned, banished, or deported to the colonies hundreds of its adversaries who did not take the precaution of voluntarily expatriating themselves in time, and others it has killed.
Of course, neither the example of Italy and Spain nor the doctrine of Integralism would have been sufficient to ensure the triumph of dictatorship in Portugal if political conditions had not been favorable to the coup d'état of 1926. The pretext alleged by the dictators themselves was partly true, as in 1907. The Republic had put an end to the abuses of the Crown, but not to those of the governing oligarchy, and these were much the same as they had been under the deposed régime. Many public men of the monarchy promptly went over to the new Republic. The form of the state changed in name, but in reality the structure varied very little. The organization of the oligarchy and the bosses continued, under other names. As the saying goes, they were the same dogs with different collars. The political power of the Catholic Church was reduced by its separation from the State and the expulsion of a great many religious orders, but this work of spiritual emancipation remained incomplete because the Republic did not devote itself, as was its duty, to the improvement of education, nor to Public Works and a fairer distribution of the national wealth. Amongst the Republicans there were, and are, men of good will and great political discernment, but their attempts to raise the intellectual and economic level of the country conflicted with the vested interests of the new oligarchy and the vices of a parliamentary régime which was dissolving in torrents of words and in the intrigues and rivalries of partisan seekers after spoil. As a result we saw the following--the rural population, the majority of the country, indifferent to politics or disgusted by it; the working classes in the cities desperate from poverty, seeing in the illusion of the Russian revolution some hope for its misfortunes; the intellectuals extremely critical, with their most notable group rallying around the review Seara Nova, from which they launched darts against the ineptitude of the politicians and the irresponsibility of Parliament.
The disillusionment which the Republic brought to those who had placed a Messianic faith in its advent, and to those more moderate people who hoped from it a slow but sure improvement in the moral and material condition of the country, hastened the coup d'état of 1926. As in Spain -- the constant parallel is inevitable -- so in Portugal, the dictatorship marked the end of a sterile political system. It was the new popular illusion. But two years' trial were sufficient to prove that the Portuguese dictatorship had not succeeded in solving any problem, but had on the contrary aggravated existing evils. The civilian oligarchy has simply been succeeded by a military oligarchy. Almost the entire history of the nineteenth century in the Iberian Peninsula is a struggle, sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent, between the lawyers and the soldiers for the booty of political power. When the soldiers think that they are being thrust in the background by the civilians, they make a "pronunciamiento" -- that is, carry out a coup d'état -- a typical Spanish word which has been adopted into almost every European language. But as a rule the men of law and the men of arms agree without having recourse to force; in the end, a simple threat from the army is enough. Even in the case of a pronunciamiento, it was rare for the military to eliminate the civilians completely. Since this is what the Portuguese dictatorship has now done -- and it is its greatest novelty -- it may be said that the soldiers have almost entirely monopolized the important political posts, drawing double salaries in many cases. The coup d'état of 1926 is good example of the classical pronunciamiento, very much in the nineteenth century Iberian manner: but this new edition is revised and enlarged. Almost half the budget for expenditure, including the numerous civilian offices discharged by soldiers, is absorbed by the army and navy. It is the triumph of militarism over "attorneyism," or, as the soldiers say, a surprise attack.
One of the most serious problems facing Portugal is how to reduce the budget. During the last fifty years of the monarchy the annual State budget closed with a deficit. It is safe to say that extravagance ruined the monarchy. With the dictatorship of Franco -- the immediate cause of its fall -- the Portuguese Crown tried to recover the absolute power which the governing oligarchy was snatching away, not for the disinterested pleasure of possessing it, nor out of any platonic love for it, but in order to employ it on behalf of greed and extravagance. King Carlos, as sensual as an Oriental potentate, whose vices were flayed in immortal invective by the great poet, Guerra Junqueiro, was killed by his own incontinence. On the fall of the monarchy, the national debt was £69,459,915.[i] A few more years of the prodigality of a dictatorship and the bankruptcy of Portugal would have been inevitable.
Despite all its defects, the Republic soon succeeded in balancing the budget, and in the financial year 1912-1913 there was a surplus of 1,811 contos (1 conto is worth 1,000 escudos). The year 1913-1914 showed a larger surplus, 2,952 contos. Unfortunately for the finances of Portugal, the European War broke out and the entry of Portugal again upset the budget balance. A loan of £23,528,186 had to be raised in England, of which the dictatorship government has recently succeeded in repaying £3,393,597, at the same time setting the period of complete liquidation at sixty-two years, by annual payments of 5 percent. In the year 1922-23, owing to the war expenditure and the financial disturbance of the post-war period, the deficit amounted to 327,355 contos.
At the same time the Portuguese currency became greatly depreciated. The pound sterling, which at par is worth 4½ escudos, was quoted at 157 escudos. Nevertheless, the constitutional government brought it down in 1923 to 94 escudos. Under the dictatorship this figure has risen to 99, the official rate at the time of writing, but the real figure is much higher. According to the supporters of the constitutional government, their last budget deficit, for the year 1925-26, was 60,000 contos. According to spokesmen for the dictatorship, the deficit that year was 295,000 contos. But in 1926-27, one year after the dictatorship, the actual deficit had reached the enormous total of 678,000 contos, 678,000,000 escudos, approximately one-half the receipts.[ii] Meanwhile the foreign floating debt which, on May 31, 1926, when the dictatorship was established, amounted to £204,035, had risen to £1,575,015, in June 1927. The domestic floating debt which, in May, 1926, was 1,282,142 contos, rose to 1,631,964 contos in June, 1927. Furthermore, the dictatorship government squandered the gold deposit of some £3,000,000, which the constitutional governments had accumulated in London, Paris, and the Bank of Portugal, and considerably increased the amount of fiduciary currency.
In short, after a year of dictatorship, the Portuguese state was very much poorer than the year when the constitutional government was replaced. It is true that it has granted large subventions to the colonial governments and to the Portuguese municipal councils. It has also granted important loans to private companies, in order to enlist the sympathies of capital, although, to be sure, at a rate of interest often less than that paid by the government on its own loans. Generally speaking, the two first years of the dictatorship have been characterized by a very free and easy financial régime, as is usual under governments when Parliament and press have no fiscal control, and when supporters must be won by favors and sinecures at the expense of the public treasury. Of all parasitical forms of government, pretorianism has from antiquity been one of the most costly and one of the most dangerous for the political régime when the latter is not generous enough. Under contemporary dictatorships the army becomes a vast pretorian guard, as it was in decadent in Rome, an insatiable octopus, feeding on the national treasure and a constant menace to the stability of the State.
The resources of the State having been exhausted, and the taxable capacity of the people being insufficient to meet such exorbitant expenditure, the dictatorship required a large loan in order to live. The national capital had dried up, or was heavily depleted, so it became necessary to have recourse to foreign credit. At first the Government applied directly to the banks of various countries, as is the custom in such cases. But in December, 1926, an incident occurred in Portugal which caused foreign capital to withdraw. On that date the directing committees of the chief republican parties signed a statement which was sent to the diplomatic representatives of the United States, France and England accredited to Lisbon, drawing attention to future possible loans. According to Article 26 of the Portuguese Constitution, still in force -- the dictatorship has not dared to abolish it -- no loan made without the previous consent of Parliament is binding on the nation. The following is verbally the relevant portion of Article 26: "It is the exclusive right of the Congress of the Republic. . . . Fourthly, to authorize the Executive to contract loans or engage in any kind of credit operations (except the floating debt), and to determine and approve of the general terms on which they are undertaken." This declaration by the constitutional parties, disavowing the loan which was being arranged, caused the failure of the first attempt. The foreign banks prudently withdrew.
It was then that the government of General Carmona appealed to the League of Nations to promote a loan of £12,000,000, as had been done for Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Esthonia. But the circumstances in Portugal were very different. It was not a country which had been shattered by defeat, like Austria and Hungary; nor a nation confronted by grave problems of immigration from neighboring states, like Greece and Bulgaria; nor a nation struggling with the difficulties of new statehood, like Esthonia. Portugal belonged to the victorious group; it had no immigrants; its existence as a nation dated back eight hundred years. To go to Geneva with a request for tutelage -- for such was the role of the League of Nations in the case of the countries mentioned -- was tantamount to a confession of financial incompetence. The dictatorship's step caused deep dissatisfaction both in Portugal and among the political refugees abroad. The constitutional parties, whose leaders are now for the most part in exile in Paris, sent delegates to Geneva to bring the declaration of December, 1926, to the notice of the League of Nations. They as well as some supporters of the dictatorship considered it injurious to the prestige of Portugal to solicit a loan under the auspices of Geneva. The present Minister of Finance, Dr. Oliveira Salazar, a former Professor of Economics at the University of Coimbra -- appointed after the loan had failed -- described it as "alms" in a statement to the Lisbon daily newspaper, O Seculo, on June 7. The Portuguese, one of the oldest nations in Europe, are very sensitive to points of historical honor and it chagrins them to be confounded with what they consider some anarchical Baltic state. Nor are they without reason, not merely because of their glorious past as explorers and conquerors, but also because of their future as a colonial power. The colonial possessions of Portugal are still third in the world; only England and France have more. But if a nation confesses that it needs the economic tutelage of the League of Nations, what moral right -- the only right that a nation without armaments can invoke -- can justify its possession of extensive colonies, which the great Powers, eager for markets and raw materials, have always looked at, and continue to look at, with ill-concealed envy?
Whether from this feeling of national pride, which regarded as a humiliation the action of the government in asking for League assistance, or whether from another less delicate motive, which I shall examine in a moment, or from a mixture of both, the fact remains that, on June 5, 1928, the Portuguese Government wrote to the President of the Council of the League of Nations as follows:
"At the meeting of the Council on March 10, General Ivens Ferraz, then ad interim Minister of Finance and Portuguese representative, undertook to submit to his Government the result of the negotiations entered into with the Financial Committee of the League of Nations relative to the possible issue of a foreign loan of twelve million pounds sterling for the execution of a plan of financial restoration, currency stabilization and economic development.
"The present Government of Portugal, having most carefully considered the clauses relating to the control of the League of Nations, which alone at the time prevented the successful conclusion of the negotiations, are compelled to state that these clauses are still inacceptable, and to their regret, they must decline the loan for whose issue these clauses were submitted."
Obviously the Portuguese Government refused to accept the conditions of control which the League of Nations proposed. But the dictators must have known only too well that economic control has been the rule of the League of Nations in every country where it was called upon to intervene as financial intermediary. Did Portugal think that in her case an exception would be made? That is hardly likely. What is more probable is that, accepting in advance the well-known rule as to control, the Portuguese dictators imagined that the League of Nations would be more tender with them. The exact conditions of control have not officially been made public, but granted the opposition of the constitutional parties, and in view of the dangers of an arbitrary régime of dubious competence such as now governs Portugal, I should not be surprised if the League of Nations demanded even more guarantees than from Esthonia, for example, and at least as many as from Greece. Certainly, so long as the agreement lasted, a representative of the League of Nations was to remain in Lisbon to keep the League informed of what was done. This is doubtless what the Portuguese dictatorship did not want: to be under the supervision of foreign eyes. Foreign money, by all means! But let their hands be perfectly free to convert it according to their pleasure, without being compelled to effect the important economies in administrative services which, I am informed, was another of the Geneva Committee's conditions.
It was not, therefore, the principle of control which was inacceptable. That control, exercised by the League of Nations, could not threaten the sovereignty of Portugal, itself a member of the League. What was repudiated was the form of control which would automatically have restricted the Portuguese dictatorship's irresponsible régime. This, coupled with the unpopularity of the loan, of which the adversaries of the dictatorship would certainly have taken advantage, explains why no agreement was reached with the League of Nations.
Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether the dictatorship will definitely abandon the idea of a loan. The present Minister of Finance has initiated a policy of administrative economy, but a dictatorship which relies upon the army and the navy, and divides almost half the state's receipts between these two services, will have difficulty in lasting if it reduces expenditures, unless only at the expense of other departments of state, education, judiciary and public works -- which would only help swell the number of dissatisfied civilians. It might increase receipts by means of further taxation, but this is a dangerous method in a country where capital is not very prosperous and where the majority of the population lives in great poverty. It is probable that the loan will now be sought from foreign banks less scrupulous about the domestic government of the borrowing country. I have heard that a group of Spanish bankers has proposed to offer a loan to Portugal, for the most part on the basis of capital raised in the United States. But the statement of the constitutional Republicans still stands, and the failure of the loan in democratic countries like France and England, and at the League of Nations itself, is a warning to the banks on both sides of the Atlantic. In the difficult circumstances in which Portugal finds herself, a loan not authorized by Parliament, as laid down by the Portuguese Constitution, might give rise to troublesome future conflicts.
Those who know the psychology of the Portuguese people will ask why they do not solve their economic problems by selling some of their numerous and extensive colonies. There would certainly be no lack of purchasers. Early in the twentieth century Germany tried to acquire the Azores, in order to establish a coaling station, but King Carlos refused. Then Germany asked permission to build a sanatorium on one of the islands, stating that, in order to maintain it, it would be necessary to keep a supply of coal there. Hearing of this, and realizing the intentions of her rival, England informed Germany that any attempt to secure a coaling station in the Azores, or a naval base, would be regarded by the British Government as a sign of "hostile intentions." Some years after this failure, when the Portuguese Republic had been established, Germany tried to purchase Delgoa Bay in Mozambique, and an adjoining strip of coast. The Portuguese Government, which was wholly absorbed at that time in consolidating the new régime, declined to conclude negotiations about these East African territories; anyway, it is doubtful if England would have authorized the sale. In view of the ancient Anglo-Portuguese alliance, which dates from no less than the fourteenth century, and of the political relations existing on that account, everybody in Europe knew that the British Government would exercise its right of option on any transfer of colonial possessions that Portugal might wish to make. If, for example, England wished to give Rhodesia access to the sea through Mozambique, I doubt if Portugal would refuse the request, even if it were merely in the form of a lease, as at the time of the negotiations for the grant to build and exploit Porto Beira in East Africa.
In the circumstances, it may be assumed that Portugal would never voluntarily sell any of her colonies, though they are a very heavy burden on the man in the street and one of the chief causes of the country's decadence, just as Spain's American colonies -- another parallel between the Peninsular nations -- caused her downfall. Portugal's colonies cost Portugal much more than they produce. But they are, in a sense, her historic coats of arms; it was chiefly to retain them that she entered the European War, and she would rather be ruined than sell them, unless compelled to do so; and only England could compel her. Further, England, the secular ally, would never allow another Power to interfere with the Portuguese colonies. So long as British dominion is supreme in Europe it is useless to think that any foreign influence can break the six-century bond which binds England, in a tutelary sense, to Portugal. I feel sure that no well-informed Englishman fears that Brazil or any other American nation will exercise an anti-British influence at Lisbon, or elsewhere.
To return to the Portuguese dictatorship, the following is a brief summary of what may be deduced from the preceding pages. If the government of General Carmona unconstitutionally obtains the loan which they need, the situation of the lenders with the Portuguese State, when normal conditions are restored, may be very embarrassing, if the constitutional parties, as they have repeatedly declared, refuse to recognize the debt. If the loan is not raised, and if the dictatorship has to live solely on ordinary receipts, one of two things must happen: either it will continue to pile up deficits, as in the days of the monarchy, in which case it will be exposed to the danger of the people's rising, in order to avoid national bankruptcy once more; or it will reduce the budget, chiefly by administrative economies, in which case it runs the risk of its own disappointed supporters turning against it.
In any event, it is probable that the Portuguese dictatorship will not last long. In February, 1927, it had to suppress a violent revolution in Lisbon and Oporto. The enemies of the dictatorship continue to conspire at home and abroad, and perhaps not many months will pass before another insurrection breaks out. The Portuguese, most of whom live almost in poverty, and who dream of Messianic remedies, are one of the most revolutionary peoples in Europe. In their contempt for human life -- their own and that of others -- there is a certain Oriental fatalism, combined with a sense of political idealism capable of every sacrifice, which is rare today in other parts of Europe. Dictatorships have been short-lived in Portugal and have usually had a tragic end.
The industrial working class is closer to anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism than to moderate Socialism, and it has also been influenced by the spectacle of the Russian revolution. However, the possibility of a Communist experiment may be dismissed. There are no leaders capable of organizing it, and even if they did, the isolation of Portugal in the extreme west of the continent, surrounded by conservative states like Spain and England (who would certainly not stand by helplessly while their neighbor's house was in flames) would doom the attempt to failure. As for the Portuguese country folk, their only political aspiration is to be assured each day of their daily bread.
Nevertheless, it is evident that the Portuguese people, if they wish ever to escape from the condition of anarchy -- financial and social -- to which they have been brought by numerous revolutions fomented by oligarchical castes, must in some way overcome the vicious system which has outlived the monarchy. They must free themselves from the old evils of "attorneyism" and militarism, and from the newer evil of plutocracy, that is, from the domination of the parasitic classes which struggle amongst themselves for office and booty. Bureaucracy -- civil and military -- is the cancer eating into the entrails of the nation; ninety percent of the State expenditure is swallowed up by unproductive and entirely unnecessary enterprises.
The most unnecessary factor, and the one most dangerous to political stability, is the military. No foreign danger threatens Portugal. In Spain nobody with the slightest intelligence thinks of invading the neighboring country. Judging from the indifference which the two Peninsular nations feel for each other, they might, so far from being neighbors, be at opposite poles. Perhaps the great advantage which both will derive from the electric exploitation of the Duero waterfalls, an agreement for which was ratified in August, 1927, may result in a closer material and spiritual rapprochement, but as yet this has not appeared. In any case, if a Continental Power were to move against Portugal, England would be a more effective defense for her than her army and navy. There are few countries in which the army and navy are so useless and at the same time so dangerous to domestic peace and to the public treasury. Only by radically suppressing them, or by reducing them to the modest proportions of sea and land police, can the Portuguese achieve the political equilibrium without which they cannot emerge from financial anarchy, raise their cultural level, develop their national wealth by giving it more equitable distribution, and become once more, as in the past, a lofty and original exponent of European civilization.
[i] According to the report of the Executive Committee of Peace Conference on the Economic and Financial Situation of Portugal, the Portuguese debt in 1910 was as follows, in pounds sterling:
|Public Debt (principal titles)||58,907,000|
|Floating Debt (domestic)||7,963,750|
|Floating Debt (foreign, in pounds)||1,751,000|
|Floating Debt (foreign, 20,954,131 frs.)||838,165|
[ii] Of course statistics, when the calculations are colored by political passion, are as dubious as truth seemed to Pilate. Each person juggles with figures pro domo sua. However, here are the figures of a former monarchist writer, Anselmo Vieira, now an enthusiastic partisan of the dictatorship. According to him, the deficit of the last constitutional government was 122,220 contos, and that of the first year of the dictatorship, 687,578 contos. Vieira calculates that this year, taking into account the new debts contracted by the dictatorship, expenditure will exceed all receipts to the amount of 1,080,000 contos, an absolutely astounding figure for Portugal, and one never reached even in the worst days of the monarchy (Journal de Noticias, Oporto, June 22, 1928).