.r./v- . , t ^
x -\* ' " \^ .?
By fFarren. Rogers, /r.
At half past one, on the morning of
Sunday, January 22, 1961, the Portuguese
luxury liner Santa Maria throbbed
through the calm waters of the Carib-
bean. Among the 612 passengers aboard
was a small group of secretly armed
Portuguese rebels, poised ready to launch
one of the most fantastic and extravagant
hijacking operations in the annals of the
high seas. *
Carrying an array of small arms, the
rebels entered the bridge and engine
room. Suddenly the quiet Caribbean
night was shattered by the bark of a
submachine gun. Within a matter of
minutes, the sleek, $1,600,000 cruise ship
was completely in the hands of twenty-
four hijackers, led by Henrique Carlos
Malta Galvao the almost legendary
soldier, bureaucrat, big-game hunter,
playwright, novelist, rebel, fugitive, and
implacable foe of Premier Antonio cle
Salazar of Portugal.
From his vantage point as a leading
New York Herald Tribune reporter,
author Warren Rogers, Jr., tells the whole
story of the political realities and ideals
that led to the Santa Maria's seizure, and
(continued on back flap)
JACKET DESIGN BY DAVID LUNN
KANSAS CITY, MO. PUBLIC LIBRARY
946*9 173 f 62-18163
The floating revolution
OCT. """ " 1962"
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
BY WARREN RjOGERS, JR.
McGraw-HiU. Book Company, Inc.
NEW YORK TORONTO LONDON
For Patricia and Sean
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Copyright 1962 by Warren Rogers, Jr.
Printed in the United States of America.
All rights reserved. This book or parts
thereof may not be reproduced in any form
without written permission of the publishers.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 62-10846
First Edition 53305
Flying back from Rio de Janeiro on Monday, February 5,
1961, after covering the Santa Maria story, a group of us
got to rehashing it from beginning to end. As usual, we
found that there was an awful lot we did not know and
much more that we did not understand, even though we
had been reporting it, in that omniscient way of modern
journalism, for something like two weeks.
"Somebody ought to write a book about it," Saul Pett of
the Associated Press said. Andrew Tully, then of Scripps-
Howard, who has written three or four books, promptly
agreed. So did I, without really thinking. But then I got to
thinking about it, and by the time the big jet liner had set
us down in snow-clogged New York, so utterly different
from the steaming heat of Equatorial Recife, I had decided
to give it a try.
This is not the kind of scholarly book that somebody
ought to write about the Santa Maria and Captain Hen-
rique Galvao some day. But a great deal of reading and
research has gone into it. It is as accurate and as honest as
twenty-three years of training can make it.
Captain Galvao has written a book himself about his
'l*'ft .".V* ?-'')') V
grand coup. Unfortunately, as often happens, the persons
deeply involved in a great adventure see only part of the
picture and therefore do not place in full perspective
everything that is going on. Galvao's book does not always
jibe with the memory of others nor with what he said and
wrote when the floating revolution was fresher in his mind.
Consequently, my reportage differs in some instances from
his. In resolving conflicts, I gave priority to what the
courts call "immediate past recollection."
Many persons contributed information and guidance.
I regret that almost all of them must remain anonymous,
for they hold positions whose sensitivity requires anonym-
ity and it would be a disservice and a violation of our
understanding to say who they are, They know, however,
that I am deeply grateful.
I am indebted to the American passengers aboard the
Santa Maria with whom I talked at length, particularly
Mrs. Edna P. Chubb, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Douglas Patton,
and Professor and Mrs. Floyd W. Preston, all of whom
kindly permitted the use of their vivid diaries as source
material. I am indebted also to Dale L. Brown, for his
broad knowledge of the Iberian Peninsula and his discov-
ery of several useful volumes; to Charles Wingenbach, for
a detailed chronology; to my wife, Hilda Kenny Rogers,
and my good neighbor, Mrs. William M. ( Muriel) Stafford,
both of whom helped type the manuscript, and to Robert J.
Donovan, chief of the Washington Bureau of the New
York Herald Tribune, for his active encouragement and
Warren Rogers, Jr.
ONE: HIJACKED i
TWO: THE MAKING OF A REBEL 13
THREE: THE REBELS UNITE 24
FOUR: OPERATION DULCINEA 36
FIVE: "PIRATES! REAL PIRATES!" 52
SIX: THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 60
SEVEN: THE ALARM 70
EIGHT: THE CHASE BEGINS 82
NINE: WHERE is IT? 94
TEN: FOUND AT LAST 105
ELEVEN: PIRATES OR PATRIOTS? 113
TWELVE: THE "SANTA MAN AN A" 125
THIRTEEN: TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 136
FOURTEEN: THE TENSION GROWS 149
FIFTEEN: A FAREWELL FIESTA 158
SIXTEEN: "SET THESE PEOPLE FREE!" l6g
SEVENTEEN: THE PLOT: MUTINY 179
EIGHTEEN: "FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" igO
NINETEEN: TRIUMPHANT SURRENDER 204
SAN JUAN, RR.
ARRIVED JAM 23
SAILED JAN- JO .<&-
FUNCHAL / .
MADEIRA ^ ^
* ARRIVED ANO
TENER1FE / ^
B R A Z I L
CIRC LI M& JAN* 31
HARBOR. FEB. 2.
YO HO HO
When was ever a finer cruise
Than the one on the Santa Maria,
The gallant ship that stole the news
From Rio to Korea?
From now on, never a day on board
A boat on a tropic ocean,
But folks will yearn for an overlord
To set their lives in motion.
What end the games and the souvenirs,
The daily caviar ration,
When never a rebel chief appears
To switch their destination?
With never a navy on their tail
Or 'copters on their yardarm,
What use romancing by the rail
Or bending the bar-and-card arm?
So, travel agents, hearken ye:
Each cruise ye sell from now on
Must guarantee a mutiny
Or someone like Galvao on!
* Marya Mannes, The Reporter Magazine, February 16, 1961,
There are nights at sea of exquisite quiet, the time all
mariners love. The sea is smooth and the ship runs proud.
The wind is gentle and friendly, and evokes a delicious
melancholy, a peace that stirs memories and hopes that
lie buried in the bustle of day. So it was at half past one
on the morning of Sunday, January 22, 1961, as the Santa
Maria throbbed through the calm Caribbean, thirteen days
out of Lisbon and bound for Port Everglades, Florida. The
moon was bright, though badgered by fleeting clouds,
and balmy breezes caressed the Portuguese luxury liner's
She was the undoubted queen of the line. Built for
the government-controlled Companhia Colonial de Nave-
gacao of Lisbon at a cost of $1,600,000, she had graced
the mid-Atlantic and the Caribbean for seven years,
averaging ten round trips a year between Lisbon and Port
Everglades. Now on her seventy-first run, a pleasantly
uneventful one thus far, she had already cleared five
ports since leaving Lisbon January 9 Vigo, Spain;
Funchal, Madeira; Tenerife, Canaries; La Guaira, Vene-
zuela, and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. She was due
2 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
at Port Everglades, which is the port for Miami, at eight
on the morning of January 24. She would sail at dusk of
the next day for Lisbon, with calls on the way back at
Tenerif e, Funchal and Vigo.
And wherever she went, people would come out to ad-
mire her streamlined profile, marvel at the statistics of
her dimensions and performance, and envy those fortunate
enough to be aboard what her owners called "Your Portu-
guese Palace Afloat." She was 609 feet, 5 inches in length,
with a beam of 75 feet, 5)2 inches. Her draft was 28 feet
and her tonnage 20,906.5. Her trial speed had been 22.08
knots, and she could maintain a sustained speed of 20
knots. Her total maximum complement was listed at 1,561,
including room for 1,242 passengers ( 148 First Class, 250
Cabin Class and 844 Third Class) and 319 crew.
On this trip, however, there were many empty cabins.
Her crew numbered 356 but there were only 612 passen-
gers, two-thirds of them Portuguese and Spanish peasants
on their way back home after years of working and saving
in Latin America. These made up the bulk of the Third
Class passengers, quartered deep below deck and denied
the swimming pools, nightly dances and daily deck strolls
available to the First and Cabin Class passengers, mostly
well-to-do, retired Americans and Dutch.
The Santa Marias Captain Mario Simoes Maia, in the
prime of a vigorous middle age, was very proud of his
job. As a Portuguese, he loved the sea, and, since Fate
had also made him a handsome and personable man, he
enjoyed his other role as genial host to the First and Cabin
Class passengers. He welcomed the looks he drew as,
resplendent in white uniform with black and gold shoulder
boards, he presided over the merry shipboard parties. With
his crew, he was a strict disciplinarian. To Third Class, he
was a courteous if distant master of the vessel. But to the
doting First and Cabin Class passengers, he was the able
and affable friend who tried unceasingly to provide what
the Santa Maria's brochure had promised:
You'll find every shining moment packed with the
carefree enjoyment of life at sea. In the lounges there
is gayety and laughter as you dance to the rhythmic
melodies of the ship's orchestra . . . converse with
friends and make new ones. And when the moon rises
over an indigo sea, your luxury liner becomes a fairy
ship, aglow with a myriad of lights that cast their daz-
zling prisms into the darkling waters beneath.
At half past one on the morning of Sunday, January 22,
1961, Captain Maia slept soundly in his cabin. He was
tired after two busy days. On Friday, the Santa Maria had
entered and departed La Guaira, and on Saturday she had
repeated the maneuver at Curacao. The business of un-
loading and taking on passengers and cargo at two ports
in as many days was always taxing.
On the navigation bridge, all was well. Third Officer
Joao Jose do Nacimento Costa, whom Captain Mario
Simoes Maia considered a young officer of promise, was
in charge. Two crewmen were with him, one at the
wheel and the other standing by, respectfully awaiting
orders. In the adjoining chartroom, Apprentice Pilot Joao
Antonio Lopes de Souza, sat bent over his charts. He
plotted the course which, in less than two and a half days,
would take the Santa Maria, with bright flags flying from
stem to stern, into snug harbor near Miami.
Third Pilot Costa studied the horizon. He was a lucky
man. At twenty-seven, he had a job he liked and a wife
4 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
he loved and their brand-new baby daughter to care for.
Soon he would be in Miami, and then would begin the
long, pleasant voyage back home to Lisbon. He fetched
a cigarette and fumbled for a light. Life was good.
Suddenly, a door opened and five men in khaki burst
onto the bridge. All were armed. A husky, handsome man
in a black beret barked commands. Costa moved toward
the telephone. Two shots rang out and the slugs tore into
Costal left arm and lower abdomen. But he kept going,
He reached the chartroom door, and a fusillade of bullets
slammed into the bulkhead all about him. One struck
him in the right collarbone, broke it, grazed his right lung
and went out through the ribs. Costa staggered through
the door and, hand outstretched toward young de Souza,
he gasped, "Call the captain!" He fell unconscious at the
feet of the navigator.
Joao de Souza was out of his chair in a flash and run-
ning. He dashed to the radio room, about forty-five feet
aft of the bridge, and flung open the door. Operator Carlos
Garcia was there, but a man in khaki was standing be-
side him. The stranger raised a submachine gun and fired
point-blank. A bullet caught de Souza in the right arm.
He spun around and raced for the ladder leading to the
captain's cabin below. He heard more shots behind him
and then felt a crushing blow in the middle of his back.
He tumbled down the twenty steps and sprawled sense-
less a few feet from the captain's side door. Blood poured
from three wounds, near the spine and in the right chest
and left arm.
In the navigation room, the helmsman was beaten about
the ears with a pistol and roughly shoved aside. The other
crewman pressed flat against a bulkhead, hands clasped
behind his neck, horrified and confused by the pistols
and submacMae guns aimed at him. The two youngest
intruders, a boy o seventeen and a boy of nineteen,
looked at their smoking guns and at each other.
In his cabin, Dr. Cicero Campos Leite of the Portuguese
Immigration Service heard a commotion in the passage-
way outside his door. He sleepily pulled open the door,
and then came wide awake. There stood two men, with
a machine gun and a pistol pointed his way. The doctor
ducked back into his room in a hail of bullets. He dropped
to the deck and started crawling for cover. Another burst,
a long one this time, sprayed bullets all around him. One
struck him in the back just below the base of his neck.
Men in khaki, armed with pistols, submachine guns,
rifles, hand grenades, knives, machetes and blackjacks,
moved about the ship with a precision born of practice
and determination. In the officers' quarters, one of them
knocked at a door. The officer opened it and quickly
jumped back. Machine gun bullets thudded about him
as he kicked the door shut. More slugs tore through the
door but he was unharmed. In the engine room and the
radio shack and other duty stations, officers and crew
found themselves suddenly taken prisoner by the grim
and businesslike gunmen.
Carlos de Carvalho, an attendant in the ship's hospital,
stirred in his bunk. He had been asleep for only about an
hour and a half, having played cards with his shipmates
until midnight. He heard a sound like the muffled report
of a firearm and struggled to rouse himself from the deep
well of a sleep just begun. Crew members raced through
the passageway, babbling in voices of near-hysteria, and
he caught snatches of words amid the shouts, "guns . . .
shooting . . ."
Carlos stopped a man and asked what was going on.
6 THE FLOATING KEVOLUTION
The story came out in a rush. Armed men had taken
over the bridge. Third Officer Costa was shot. The men
were all over the ship, firing machine guns and pistols.
Some had hand grenades.
Carlos was incredulous, but he knew this was no joke.
The look of shock and terror in the man's eyes was too con-
vincing to be play-acting. He pulled on his clothes and
walked the few steps to the hospital. There would be
work to do tonight. He was forty-four and he loved the
sea, but after this night he was to say, "I want a job on
land, for I don't feel secure any more on the sea."
Captain Maia awoke to the rude sound of someone
pounding on his door. He called out to enter, and a sea-
man leaped in. Some passengers had attacked the bridge,
he said, and two officers were wounded, one of them seri-
"Madmen," the captain thought. "Or drunks."
Still in his pajamas, Captain Maia brushed past the
frightened seaman and started up the ladder to the bridge.
As his eyes came level with the deck of the bridge, he saw
a man on the other side of the bridge, aiming a subma-
chine gun at him. He dropped down the ladder and bolted
back into his cabin. He locked the door and cut off the
lights. Then he called the engine room and ordered the
He went to the side door of his cabin. Perhaps he could
round up some of the men in his crew, arm them with
pipes and bars and wrenches, and lead a counter-assault
against the bridge. Opening the door, he looked through
the glass pane and saw an officer stretched out on the
deck and covered with blood. It was the young navigator,
de Souza, He seemed to be dead, but then a leg twitched.
The captain decided to drag the officer into his cabin. He
stepped into the passageway, and froze. A man was there,
aiming a rifle at him.
Captain Maia jumped back into his cabin, locking the
door behind him. In the dark, he felt his way to the tele-
phone. Counting the holes, he dialed the crew rooms.
There was no answer. Though he did not know it, the
crewmen were all spread-eagled face down on the deck,
with guns aimed at the base of their skulls.
He dialed all the numbers he knew so well, counting
the holes as each number spun into place. The frustra-
tion was overwhelming. He could get no answer. Then
he heard a voice on the ship's intercommunication system,
and he yelled in vexation, "Who is talking there?"
"Who is calling?" came the reply.
"This is the commander of the vessel," he snapped.
"Ah, Senhor Commander," the voice said. "This is the
doctor of the Portuguese Immigration Service speaking. I
am badly wounded. Galvao and his followers have taken
over the boat."
"Galvao!" Well did Captain Maia know that name. Cap-
tain Henrique Carlos Malta Galvao, soldier, bureaucrat,
big-game hunter, playwright, novelist, rebel, fugitive, and
implacable foe of Premier Antonio de Oliveira Salazar of
Portugal. He was the most feared of Salazar's enemies, for
he towered above them all in intelligence, force of per-
sonality, physical endurance and undying hatred of the
bookkeeper-dictator of Portugal.
No Portuguese, not even the pompous and arrogant
General Humberto da Silva Delgado, was as dangerous
as Galvao, who at sixty-five combined the cunning of
experience with the fatalism of age. And there were re-
8 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
ports that he had been consulting with Delgado, who him-
self had fled to South America after his defeat in Portugal's
1958 presidential election.
Captain Maia turned back to the telephone and
laboriously dialed the bridge. An authoritative voice, un-
known to him, said hello. Captain Maia took a deep breath
and in a voice still hoarsened with sleep declared, "This
is Captain Maia. What's going on up there?"
"Oh, nothing much, Captain," the man replied. "Except
that I have just taken over your ship. Allow me to present
myself. I am Captain Henrique Galvao. In the name of
General Humberto Delgado, I have just taken your ship
by assault. You must not try any kind of resistance be-
cause it will be violently repressed. Surrender will bring
Captain Maia was silent a moment. Then he said,
"Captain Galvao, it is impossible for me to surrender
until I have met with my officers and the principal mem-
bers of my crew."
"Very well," Galvao said. "That can be arranged."
Captain Maia sent for his officers and chief crewmen.
Some of them arrived at his cabin still in their pajamas
and bathrobes. Briefly, hopelessly, they surveyed their
situation. They came to the sad realization that, without
arms, they were forced to submit to Galvao and his men,
who had proved how far they would go to gain their end.
Captain Maia telephoned the bridge.
"Captain Galvao, would you come to my cabin? I must
ask you to come unarmed because, as you know very well,
we don't have any guns."
"Certainly," Galvao replied.
But he came with a pistol tucked into a half -holster on
his hip. Four of his men accompanied him, their pistols
and submachine guns at the ready. Two of them stayed
close to his side. They were Jose Velo Mosquera, forty-
five, a fiery Spaniard from GaHcia on the Portuguese bor-
der, known also as "The Professor/' and Jorge Sotomayor
Portela, fifty-two, another tough Galician, whose code
name in numerous undergrounds had invariably been
"Hernandez." Velo, orator and organizer of repute, was
Galvao's political adviser, Sotomayor his naval-military
chief of staff. Behind them, in strategic positions at one
end of the cabin, were the icy-eyed son of Velo, seventeen-
year-old Victor Jose Velo Perez, and nineteen-year-old
Jose da Cunha Ramos.
Captain Maia opened the talks bluntly. With all the
dignity he could muster, considering his position, he took
"You promised me you would come unarmed," he said.
"You have a gun and the men with you are armed. You are
common pirates and you will be punished for it."
Galvao smiled and held up a hand. Slowly, contemptu-
ously, he withdrew his pistol from its holster and tossed it
carelessly on the desk in front of him.
"Pirates? Pirates? Nonsense!" he said. "We are political
insurgents. This ship is Portuguese property and we are
taking it in the name of General Delgado, the duly elected
president of Portugal, and in the name of the Portuguese
"You are pirates," Maia persisted.
"No, Captain," Galvao said, with a trace of anger. "The
pirate is Salazar, who robbed General Delgado of the
presidency. You are witnessing a political insurrection. It
is only the first ripple of a mighty wave of liberation which
will sweep Portugal and her provinces and crush Salazar
and his detestable dictatorship."
1O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
"You have committed an act of piracy/ 7 Maia grumbled,
and he was about to go on when the elder Velo inter-
"We are not here to bicker/' Velo said. "Get on with
the business at hand."
"Yes/' Galvao said. "Captain Maia, I did not come here
to argue with you. Your ship is completely in our hands.
You may choose freely between three situations: you may
join our movement and become our comrade. You may
recognize the hopelessness of your situation and, on your
honor, pledge to abide by our orders and offer no re-
sistance. Or, you may refuse both of these and become
Tears of fear and humiliation filled their eyes and a
few lost their struggle with their Latin emotions. Galvao
looked away from the sight of grown men weeping.
Captain Maia turned to his men and consulted with
them in whispers. In a very few minutes, it was all over.
"We are cut off and we submit to you only because of
the force of arms/' Captain Maia said. "We are surrender-
ing because the crew is unarmed and you have already
captured vital points of the ship. We think that this is the
best way to defend the lives of the passengers and of the
ship itself. We will continue to work only under the force
Galvao nodded agreement. At Velo's prompting, he di-
rected that the ship get underway again. The engines
were restarted, this time with an armed rebel overseeing
the work of the engine room crew. Sotomayor gave orders
for a ninety-degree turn, pointing the Santa Maria at the
channel which separates St. Lucia and Martinique. It
was the route to Portuguese Angola on the African west
coast. Galvao told Captain Maia he was confined to
quarters and then returned to his post of command on the
Almost without an order being given, the rebels began
to dig in. They set up watches. They were too few to
guard all parts of the ship, so, while some slept, others
waited post in key sections, keeping an eye on aU activity.
When a crew member walked past a guard in one section,
the guard would call out to the guard in the next section,
telling him where the crewman was going and why. They
maintained this team surveillance from the start, like
stations tracking a nose cone on a missile range. In less
than forty-five minutes, they were in full control.
In the ship's hospital, Attendant Carlos de Carvalho
did not have long to wait. Crewmen carried in Third Of-
ficer Costa and laid him on the examining table. He was
half -conscious and kept muttering, "They killed me, they
killed me." Carlos looked at the wounds in the chest,
abdomen and side. Blood coursed from them unstanched.
He did his best, but he knew the third officer was beyond
Doctor Leite was brought in by other crewmen. Carlos
saw that the wound high up on the back was slight, de-
spite the doctor's panicky self-diagnosis to Captain Maia.
He listened sympathetically as the doctor told of how all
he did was open the door and a young man sprayed him
with machine gun bullets. If he had not dropped to the
floor, he said, he might not be alive.
Apprentice Pilot de Souza came next. He was uncon-
scious and his wounds seemed almost as serious as those
of the dying third officer. There were holes in his back,
chest and left arm, and Carlos thought it possible that
one slug had lodged in de Souza's liver. His right lung
12 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
appeared to have been punctured. He had lost much blood
and, like Costa, already was in a state of shock.
Theodomiro Borges, the ship's doctor, came in and
patched up the three men. He had no trouble removing
the bullet from his fellow physician. But he was worried
about the other two men. The ship's chaplain, Father
Xavler Yrigoyen, was awakened. Sleepy-eyed, he admin-
istered the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church to
Costa and de Souza.
Carlos de Carvalho worked through the night in the
ship's hospital. He made his three patients as comfortable
as he could, fought to dam the flow of blood and treated
them for shock. Sometime before dawn, he had a visitor.
One of the rebels came in, with drawn pistol, to inquire
after the wounded. Guilty conscience, maybe? The rebel
did not indicate. Carlos stole a look at the man and his
pistol and wondered if more shootings were to come.
Possibly he himself would be killed. The man left and
Carlos, plagued with anxieties, busied himself with the
At twenty minutes past seven, Third Officer Joao Jose
do Nacimento Costa, aged twenty-seven and with much
to live for, died.
THE MAKING OF A REBEL
Taken in the context of Portuguese history, there was
nothing truly remarkable in Galvao's plot, however vision-
ary it might appear to the world at large. From the revo-
lutionary founding of the republic in 1910 until the
Salazar crowd took over in 1926, no less than forty cabinets
had arisen and been overthrown. There had been, during
that period, twenty-two coups d'etat; and only one presi-
dent, Dr. Antonio Almeida, ever served out his full four-
Galvao had watched his country stand still while virtu-
ally all the world progressed. He was convinced that the
downtrodden people of Portugal had had their fill and
were ready for a bold move. The bitter irony was that he
had welcomed the overthrow of the old regime with high
hopes. As a thirty-year-old career Army officer, he had
joined with typical gusto in the May 28, 1926, military
coup provoked by a parade of corrupt and inefficient gov-
ernments. On that date, the Portuguese Army, under the
leadership of Commander Mendes Cabecadas and General
Gomes da Costa, tried once more to seize powerand suc-
ceeded. By June i, 1926, Cabecadas and da Costa were in
14 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
control of all Portugal. They sent for prim Professor
Salazar, drafting him for the most onerous duty in the
"Estado Novo," Minister of Finance.
At the age of thirty-seven, the man Galvao was to rise
against lived in an untroubled world of his own, admirably
keeping his head while all about him were losing theirs,
in more ways than one. He was a bachelor and a solid
Roman Catholic, puritanical to the point of asceticism. He
was a social scientist without doubts, a respected professor
of economics at the University of Coimbra. His economic
theory, indeed his philosophy for the figures and statistics
with which he worked were also the code by which he
lived was simple. In American terms, it might be ex-
pressed this way: If you have $1,000,000, spend $900,000
and save $100,000; if you have a dollar, spend ninety
cents and save a dime; but whatever you have, above all
else, live within it, and always start by putting ten per
cent aside in savings.
Salazar was aghast at the state of his country's economy.
Unpaid bills, corrupt raids on the Treasury, millions in
counterfeit money, uncollected taxes and few sources of
revenue all these he had expected. But he was totally
dismayed by the attitude of the new military regime. He
had wisely not quit his job, having instead negotiated a
leave of absence. After less than a week, he packed and
went back to Coimbra, leaving the military squabbling
among themselves over plans and programs each more
grandiose than the other.
However, his ten-cents-on-a-dollar philosophy was not
to languish untested. Within two years, the Cabecadas-da
Costa team had been bounced, General Carmona was in
the saddle and, despite one more abortive and bloody
revolt in 1927, riding high. Carmona, elected and pro-
THE MAKING OF A BEBEL 1$
claimed president on April 15, 1928, remembered the
pinch-penny professor and, again, Salazar was called to
This time, however, Salazar attached conditions to his
acceptance of the Finance portfolio before he applied for
another leave of absence. The conditions were strenuous:
absolute powers for dealing with the economic chaos. But
the times were strenuous, too, and he had his way.
Thus, on April 27, 1928, one day short of his thirty-ninth
birthday, Salazar took over a country without firing a shot.
He was an unprepossessing figure, a small, bespectacled
man in a neat but inexpensive business suit among all the
strutting, bemedaled generals and admirals around him.
But in a year he had balanced the budget. In two years, he
had cut the government payroll by more than fifty per
cent. In three, he had raised taxes and paid off almost all
of the public debt. In four, the tail was wagging the dog;
he had become premier and, instead of depending upon
the president for appointment, it was he who in fact chose
the president and, for that matter, anybody in any job
anywhere in Portugal and its colonies.
Whatever his misgivings, Galvao was as discreet as
the three wise monkeys during the early Salazar years. He
profited by it. Out of the Army, he became head of the
infant radio broadcasting industry. It was customary in
those days for performers to present gifts of money to
officials for the privilege of appearing on the government-
Galvao lived well off this socially acceptable payola and,
although married, acquired a reputation as quite a ro-
mantic-about-town. He also became Portugal's impresario
of fairs, running two of them in 1934, at Oporto and Lis-
bon, and climaxing this career brilliantly with the 1940
l6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Lisbon Exposition celebrating eight hundred years as a
nation and the three hundredth anniversary of liberation
from Spain. In the meantime, he managed to become one
of Portugal's leading novelists and playwrights.
In 1931, Galvao's novel The Sun of the Tropics won the
Prize for Colonial Literature. His avant-garde approach
to drama, including adaptations in Portuguese of plays
by Eugene O'Neill and others uiJknown in Portugal, was
hailed as one of the most important changes in the theater
of his country.
Premier Salazar rewarded him with the governorship
of Huila Province in Angola, then in 1936 made him In-
spector Superior of Colonial Administration as well as an
Angola delegate to the National Assembly. In all three
posts, the way things go in Portugal, he was set up to live
better than ever, while able to stow away his entire gov-
ernment salary in a good little Swiss bank as insurance
against an indigent old age. All he had to do was to play
the game of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
He did very well for a time. He traveled through Africa,
learned many African dialects, turned out a number of
highly successful adventure stories, and became a well-
known big-game hunter. During his African decade, he
killed more than a hundred elephants and three hundred
lions. He does not boast of this any more. Now old and
infirm, living always with the prospect of his own death,
he regrets having shot down so many animals whose
only fault was in remaining untamed in a world run by
As events proved in 1947, he shared this fault. The
government asked him, as Inspector Superior of Colonial
Administration, to prepare a report on conditions in An-
THE MAKING OF A EEBEL I/
gola. The report he filed, in his well-disciplined and vivid
rhetoric, was too hot to handle. It wound up in a pigeon-
hole and, despite his persistent demands to make it public,
it stayed there.
Galvao took matters into his own hands. He read the
report at a public session of the National Assembly. The
other members of the Assembly were as astonished as the
passengers and crew of the Santa Maria would be when,
fourteen years later, he again took matters into his own
hands. It was not that the Assembly was unaware of the
bloody Angola situation. What confounded them was that
anybody, even the outspoken and unpredictable Galvao,
would have the temerity to drag it out in the open.
He described Portugal's three African colonies as suffer-
ing from critical "demographic anemia." Not enough work-
ers were available because native manpower flowed out
of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea in quest of a better
life a million from Angola alone during 1936-1947. He
denounced the system of compulsory labor as "more grave
than that created by pure slavery."
"Under slavery, the bought man, acquired as a head of
cattle, was regarded as an asset by his master/' he said.
"He was interested in keeping him healthy and strong and
agile in the same way as he would look after his horse
or his bull. Today, the native is not bought. He is simply
rented from the Government, though he may have the sta-
tus of a free man. . . . When he becomes unable to work
or when he dies, the master can always ask to be supplied
with other laborers."
While some natives were volunteer workers, all were
required by law to put in at least six months of labor
each year. Those whose work cards did not show they had
l8 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
done this or were doing it were subject to being rounded
up by chefes de posto, the government's regional straw
bosses, and put to work, sometimes in chains.
"Only the dead are really exempt from compulsory la-
bor/* Galvao said.
He painted a picture of pitifully inadequate medical
care. "About thirty-four per cent of the 1,023,717 males
of working age are rejected as unfit for work, primarily
for physical incapacity . . . infant mortality goes up to
sixty per cent Doctors try to escape going into the
interior and are still concentrated in the most important
urban centers. Hospitals still lack elementary sanitary
arrangements, and many places which have a strategic
need for a health service are still without hospitals
One could say that pre- and post-natal care, infant welfare,
the campaigns against malaria, sleeping sickness and other
indigenous diseases are pure formalities."
Galvao ended the report on a bitter and defiant note:
"I take the full responsibility to prove that all I say is
true. You can only criticize me for not saying the whole
truth or rather that I do not describe all the aspects of the
problem. But that would be a matter for many books and
take many hours."
The lightning struck, but from behind a cloud. First,
to quiet the scandal, there was a shakeup in the colonial
administration. Then, in due time, Galvao found himself
minus both of his jobs, politically as dead as any of the
hundred elephants and three hundred lions in his African
bag. Now he was a full-fledged rebel, feeling a right and
a duty to fight Salazar.
In 1951, he campaigned for the opposition candidate for
president, Vice Admiral Manuel Carlos Quintao Mcireles,
THE MAKING OF A BEBEL, 1Q
against Salazar's hand-picked puppet, General Francisco
Higino Craveiro Lopes. Three days before the election,
Admiral Meireles withdrew, charging it was impossible
to get his message across. It was another overwhelming
victory for Salazar and his head-busting secret police, the
P.I.D.E. (Policia Internacionale de Defensa do Estado).
Galvao and his colleagues, bloody but unbowed, de-
cided their problem was lack of organization. They formed
the Organizacao Civica Nacional, hired a staff and set up
shop in a Lisbon office building. But first they applied for
necessary permits, since such groups were technically legal
and they did not want to be arrested for clandestine
political activity. They felt secure, operating above board,
although they knew the P.I.D.E. was watching them. One
day in January, 1952, the P.I.D.E. walked in, arrested
everybody present and confiscated the files.
Eight men were charged with plotting to overthrow the
government. The others were set free, although some
were called as witnesses at the trial. The P.I.D.E. inter-
rogations, which somehow leaked out, and the public trial
itself were a source of great embarrassment to the govern-
ment. Galvao and his followers were unreconstructed
rebels. He denied all, insisting that the chief evidence, a
so-called blueprint for revolution, was actually a play
that he was working on. Defiant, he shrewdly seized the
opportunity to do what he had done in the campaign:
pummel the Salazar regime and arouse the people.
"I am not in any way concerned with revolutionary
movements or projects to overthrow the government by
force/' he said at one point. "Nevertheless, I confess with
pride that I deeply wish, not only that the government be
deposed, but for the liquidation of the police and the
2O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
arbitrary system which supports them, a system which is
against the letter of the Constitution and the aims inspir-
ing the military movements of May 28, 1926.
"As a Portuguese citizen, a member of the Armed
Forces, a public servant, and even as a European, I feel
downgraded, betrayed and humiliated by the deviations
to which the thought and intentions of the founders of the
regime have been progressively submitted. These devia-
tions have made the country a feudal domain under an
oligarchy of university teachers, bureaucrats, men of af-
fairs and other corrupt elements enjoying arbitrary powers
and making eternal the transitional dictatorship estab-
lished by the May twenty-eighth movement through an
array of legal sophistries.
"As an adamant anti-Communist, I feel betrayed, see-
ing that, in the name of the country, the government
has joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while
acting like the Communist governments. It exhibits the
same spirit of dictatorial violence over bodies and souls,
finding its mainstay in the censorship of all the rights
of the human spirit, and in a police modeled after the
Cheka and Gestapo, and functioning with laws, without
laws, and against laws, and in progaganda; in a word, in
all the basic institutions of Communist countries long dis-
honored and contradicting the spirit of Christian civiliza-
"I do not want to revert to the situation which existed
previous to the May twenty-eighth movement unless it is
the only choice over the present regime. At least then,
despite the street disorders, the financial crisis, the politi-
cal divisions and the backwardness of material develop-
ment, the moral and spiritual values of the country were
preserved. The citizens never lost their political freedoms,
THE MAKING OF A REBEL 21
corruption was never protected by imposed silence or the
mystifications of propaganda, and men never prostituted
their character for fear of responsibility or loss of bread,
as happens now."
Galvao had many supporters among the spectators, at
that 1952 trial in his native Lisbon, including both his
wife and mistress, who followed the testimony with
equally extravagant emotions. But the cards were stacked
against Galvao and his seven co-defendants. Two men ar-
rested with them had given incriminating evidence to the
P.I.D.E., but on the witness stand they behaved so
strangely that the whole affair was turned into a circus.
In the resultant uproar, six of the men were acquitted.
Only Galvao and Colonel Tadeu were convicted. Galvao
was sentenced to three years in solitary confinement. But
the Portuguese Supreme Court, scandalized at the legal
irregularities in the case, reversed the decision. Notwith-
standing this, in March, 1953, he was tried again on the
same evidence. Again he denied that the so-called blue-
print for revolution was anything but a play he was writ-
"I won't deny that I myself and thousands of other
Portuguese patriots are dissatisfied with the present re-
gime and eager for political freedom," he said. "But dream-
ing is one thing and action is another/'
He was convicted and began serving three years in
solitary. It would have been easy to lay low for those three
years. But not for Galvao. They caught him with a saw,
trying to cut through the bars of his cell. Transferred to
the Peniche military prison, he showed no submission.
Instead, a series of pamphlets began appearing in Lisbon
and throughout Portugal. They were witty and exceed-
ingly defamatory and irritating to the Salazar regime.
22 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
The Galvao style was unmistakable. With the connivance
of prison officials, he had been writing them behind bars
like an imprisoned Tom Paine cranking out Crisis tracts
in the American Revolution. There was a shakeup at
Peniche, and Galvao faced a third trial, on charges of
"inciting to armed rebellion."
He refused to leave his cell for the hearing, which he
said was certain to be rigged. Nothing happened for years.
Although his first sentence expired, the new charge hung
over him and he languished in jail. There were rumors that
he was not well, that his mind had snapped under P.I.D.E.
abuse and torture, that he had contracted tuberculosis
and other bodily ailments.
A date for the trial was set. Again he scorned it. They
held it without him and found him guilty, with a minimum
of publicity. A Time magazine issue, which carried a full
account of the trial, was banned in Portugal. On May 18,
1958, he was sentenced to sixteen more years* imprison-
ment. His citizenship was revoked for twenty years.
Five months later, he suffered a heart attack. He seemed
to be dying. Prison officials, not sure whether this was
genuine or feigned, transferred him to the Santa Maria
military hospital but posted a guard at his door. Soon,
however, it appeared Galvao would never leave his hospi-
tal bed alive, and the guards relaxed.
What they did not know was that the weak old man,
who seemed barely able to walk, was secretly doing deep
knee bends and pushups in the privacy of his room. Nor
did they know that he also had cached an overcoat, a hat,
a false mustache, and a bag which resembled a doctor's
Shortly after midnight of January 15, 1959, Galvao
succeeded in distracting his guards' attention long enough
THE MAKING OF A REBEL #3
to slip from Ms room to the bathroom down the hall.
There, he donned his regalia, squeezed out o the window
and, seven stories above the ground, made his way, win-
dow by window, to an annex whose hallways were un-
guarded. He went unseen to the ground floor, crossed the
hospital gardens, and ambled nonchalantly out the main
"Good night, doctor,'' the doorman said.
"And a very good night to you, my friend," he replied.
A month later, on February 17, 1959, a little old work-
man with a huge box on his shoulders staggered to the
front door of the Argentine Embassy in Lisbon. The guard
who opened it said icily that deliveries were made at the
rear. The workman dropped the heavy box, whipped off
his sombrero, and declared, "I am Captain Henrique Gal-
vao and I ask for political asylum."
THE REBELS UNITE
When Galvao walked into the Argentine Embassy de-
manding asylum, he was in distinguished company. Al-
ready holed up in the Brazilian Embassy was General
Humberto da Silva Delgado, the man in whose name
Galvao was to seize the Santa Maria. Little more than a
month later another Army man, Major Luis Cesariny Gala-
fate, was to dash to sanctuary in the Venezuelan Legation,
where the P.I.D.E. sought him as the mastermind behind
the aborted May 12, 1959, plot to kill Salazar. The schem-
ing o all three of these wanted men was to give the
passengers and crew of the Santa Maria an unforgettable
Like Galvao, Delgado had fought in the military coup
which ultimately brought Salazar to power, and proudly
bore the scars of wounds suffered in the street fighting.
In recent years, Salazar and Delgado had become bitter
enemies. Now the pincers which had held Galvao im-
prisoned for seven years were closing on Delgado. When
they took his medals away from him, Delgado knew it
was the end of the line. With dignity, he checked in with
THE KEBELS UNITE 2$
his old friend, Brazilian Ambassador Alvaro Lins, and be-
gan life as a political exile.
He was a colorful guest and immediately made himself
at home. Like The Man Who Came to Dinner, he was
a take-charge type. The servants were given to understand
that, as a soldier since the age of ten, he expected instant
obedience. And as a national hero, the "father" of Portu-
guese aviation and the people's choice, robbed of the
presidency by the hateful Salazar, he was to be accorded
unquestioning respect. They understood his commands,
as only Portuguese can. But they must have wondered
whether such a man would democratize their country or
simply change the guard.
This hero had a hero of his own. Someone once had
commented that Delgado looked like the American gen-
eral, Douglas MacArthur. He consulted the mirror and
acknowledged to himself that there was a likeness. The
same aquiline nose and strong jaw. The same keen eyes.
The same military bearing. He had met MacArthur and
studied his brilliant military operations. He admired him
immensely, and he liked the comparison. Delgado began
covering his bald head, by letting the fringe hair grow
long, combing it forward and plastering it to the skull. Yes,
the physical resemblance was strong.
In his campaign for the presidency in 1958, Delgado
borrowed a stunt from another American general, the
late George Patton. Wherever he went, he carried a pair
of pearl-handled revolvers. And he made it plain that
they were always loaded. There were times when he could
have used them, for the way he stirred up the voters in
that campaign provoked the P.I.D.E. to many excessive
measures against him.
"I stand for justice and historical freedom!" he would
2,6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
bellow, and the P.I.D.E., taking offense at such subversive
talk, would crack a few heads among his audience.
Delgado was born in Torre Novas in 1906. At the age
of ten he enrolled in the Colegio Militar, moving up to the
Escola Militar, from which he was graduated in 1925
at the head of his class. With the advent of Salazar's
regime, Delgado's career flourished.
He helped organize the Portuguese air arm and by 1941
held the rank of major. He played a key role in acquir-
ing the Azores as an air base for the United States and
Great Britain. It took no small doing, for at that time
Salazar was still wavering as to which side to support in
World War II. For his efforts, Delgado was awarded the
United States' Legion of Merit and Britain's C.B.E. His
citation as an Honorary Commander, Military Division,
of the Order of the British Empire, praised his eighteen
months of work and declared: "He combined to an extraor-
dinarily successful degree the qualities of staff officer
and politician and staked his whole future on what, for
political purposes, was on behalf of the Allies."
It was like handing a honeycomb to a bear. He has been
a staunch friend of America and Britain ever since. He
helped see to it that by 1952 Portugal had a separate Air
Force, like the United States and Britain. He enhanced
this amity after the war with long tours of duty in Canada
and the United States. In Washington, during 1952-1957,
he was chief of the Portuguese Military Mission and Portu-
gal's North Atlantic Treaty Organization representative.
"He was very pro-American," one Washington official
recalled. "But hie was a funny bird. A free-wheeling extro-
vert, impetuous, always ready to speak his mind. He did
not seem to be popular with his colleagues. His close
friends were men in high places/'
THE BEBELS UNITE 2SJ
Indeed they were. They included Marshal Francisco
Higino Craveiro Lopes, president o Portugal during
1951-1958 despite Galvao's spirited campaigning against
him, and General Julio Botelho Moniz, Portugal's Min-
ister of National Defense.
Delgado returned to Lisbon from Washington in 1957,
picked up the third star which made him a full general,
and accepted appointment as Director General of Civil
Aviation. His contentment was short-lived. To the con-
sternation of his friends in high places, he accepted the
anti-Salazar coalition's nomination for the presidency in
"I am not a politician," he said, and then proceeded to
give Premier Salazar's man, Rear Admiral Americo Deus
Rodrigues Thomaz, a run for his money.
Delgado's campaign slogan was simple and direct:
"Throw Salazar out/' In a vague way, he favored fewer
government restrictions, such as ending censorship, and
a general relaxation of the government's all-pervading
control over the destinies of the Portuguese. But his
main pitch, delivered in swashbuckling eloquence, was
that it was time for a change.
"Everywhere I go in Portugal, crowds come out to see
me," he said. "It is not for me that they come. It is because
they are opposed to this regime. They are weary after
thirty years. They want a change. We all want a change."
Delgado's confidence grew as the campaign gained mo-
mentum. He predicted that, in a free election, he would
win eighty per cent of the vote. But it was no more a free
election than any other since 1926. Salazar's orators called
Delgado a "tool of Washington" and a pawn of the Com-
munists. They ridiculed his "give 'em hell" tactics, com-
plaining he had damaged the dignified tone of Portuguese
28 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
electioneering. The P.I.D.E. broke up crowds when Del-
gado spoke, sometimes thereby provoking a riot. They
harassed and arrested his campaign helpers. They de-
stroyed ballots with his name printed on them, so that on
Election Day voters who favored him had to write in his
name. Finally, early in the morning of June 8, 1958, the
day of the election, they arrested Viera de Almeida, his
seventy-year-old campaign manager. The old philosopher
was charged with subversion and "inciting rebellion." His
offense? He had quoted an ancient Portuguese verse con-
taining the words, "March on against the cannons."
The returns were astonishing. Not only was Delgado
the first anti-Salazar candidate ever to finish the presi-
dential race, but, in spite of all the governmental brutality
and chicanery, he had polled about twenty-three per cent
of the vote in continental Portugal He did even better in
the colonies, which are constitutionally provinces. He won
thirty-one per cent of the ballots in Angola, thirty-four
per cent in Mozambique. There were rumors that he
actually had carried Angola and Mozambique, and with
big enough margins to have won the election only to have
it taken away in falsified returns and ballot box stuffing.
Delgado reacted in the classic tradition. "I was robbed/'
His first thought, typically, was of himself. He had
offered the people a change, with perhaps a little civil
liberty. Now he could see a change ahead for himself
and there was little liberty in the prospect.
"They are sure to kick me out of my job as head of civil
aviation," he said. "They will trump up some charge of
subversion against me. I'm not afraid. In jail or out of
jail, I am a kind of myth. I want to remain a myth, an
THE REBELS UNITE 2,Q
Delgado submitted a detailed list of election irregulari-
ties. The Interior Ministry, without reference to his list,
acknowledged that there had been a hundred arrests dur-
ing the campaign. Salazar contemplated the election re-
turns, both those officially announced and those which
truly reflected the will of the electorate. It was time for
a change, all right. There would be no more of this election
nonsense. Henceforth, the president would be picked by
the National Assembly and Corporative Assembly, whose
delegates and members were picked by, of course, Salazar.
And Delgado had to go.
But Delgado had grabbed Portugal by the neck and
shaken it like a turgid, recalcitrant puppy. With no or-
ganization, no program, no public support, he had scored
a stunning moral victory. He had done it by sheer per-
sonality, courage and resourcefulness. The country was
The Bishop of Oporto, Doin Antonio Ferreira Gomes,
wrote to Salazar in July, 1958, and accused the govern-
ment of "despoiling the Portuguese worker/' who lives, he
said, in "rags and tatters, hunger and misery." Salazar
was incensed when he learned that copies of the letter
had gone to 200,000 persons. The bishop was barred from
returning to Portugal after a vacation in France.
Delgado was dealt with obliquely. Salazar suggested
that he go to Canada, enroll in McGill University and
study economics. Delgado refused. He retaliated by firing
off a string of "open letters," denouncing the McGill move
as an attempt to shanghai him out of the country. One
such letter was published October 4, 1958, in The New
York Times. The next day in Lisbon, the P.I.D.E. used
tear gas to break up a rally of three thousand, assembled
to hear Delgado speak and celebrate the forty-eighth
30 THE FLOATINTG BEVOLUTION
anniversary of the Portuguese Republic. On October 9,
1958, Delgado was told he did not have to go to Canada.
But he was forbidden to address any public gatherings. On
November 25, 1958, four of Delgado's aides were arrested
and charged with subversion. Their chief offense, it
seemed, had been to criticize the cancellation of a Portu-
guese lecture tour by Aneurin Bevan, the leader of the
British Labor Party. The pincers were closing.
On January 7, 1959, Delgado was cashiered from the
service. They cut him to three-quarters pay and took away
his uniform. Knowing the next step would be prison, he
resolved to flee and to continue the fight in exile.
On January 12, 1959, Delgado took refuge in the Bra-
zilian Embassy. After much negotiation, on April 20, 1959,
he was permitted to leave the Brazilian Embassy and fly
to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Galvao had preceded him into
exile by more than a month, flying to Buenos Aires, Argen-
tina, on March 12, 1959. Soon they were in touch.
Delgado, settling into his new role in South America,
liked the way Galvao deferred to him. Nonetheless, he
worried about the captain's passion for action. He believed
in patient scheming, careful preparations and constant
propaganda. He busied himself with the details of build-
ing an empire. He set up shop in Sao Paulo, the biggest
city in Brazil and its banking center. There he found
enough sympathizers with the wherewithal to sponsor his
activities, including a headquarters and a secretary who
was both efficient and decorative. He had a title on the
door, President of the Movimento Nacional Independente,
and the Brazilian equivalent of a Bigelow on the floor.
He helped publish a monthly newspaper, Portugal Demo-
cratico, in Sao Paulo, and saw to it that Salazar was regu-
larly lambasted in its columns for stealing that election
THE BEB3ELS UNITE 3!
from him. He got into serious trouble with tlie Brazilian
authorities only once. That was when he roared into a
banquet being given by loyal Portuguese in Sao Paulo
in honor of the Portuguese Ambassador. His temper tan-
trum, aimed at breaking up the dinner, almost got him
thrown out of the country. He was dressed down by the
Brazilian Foreign Ministry and he had to promise to be-
have more circumspectly in the future. His political asy-
lum depended upon his not engaging in any overt activi-
ties flagrantly hostile to the mother country.
Galvao had no taste for the slow, steady way. He did
not openly dispute Delgado, for he recognized his claim
to titular leadership and his importance as the man to
back against Salazar. But he switched his base of opera-
tions from Buenos Aires to the hotbed of Caracas, there
to plot in his own way.
In Caracas, Galvao became the rallying point for a
dozen and more Portuguese and Spanish exile groups, all
bent on destroying Salazar in Portugal and Franco in
Spain. They talked of propaganda and bombings and as-
sassinations. They broadcast via clandestine "Radio
Claridad" to the Iberian Peninsula, calling signals on ter-
rorist activity. Later, when the navies of the United States,
Great Britain, Portugal and Spain were out looking for
the Santa Maria, this little outlaw station was to throw
the searchers off the scent by sending confusing messages.
In October, 1959, men of every political complexion
assembled to solve the problem of too many exile groups
and to coordinate them under a single organization. Gus-
tave Machado, president of the Venezuelan Communist
Party, sat down with Galvao, whose politics were only
a step or two to the left of Salazar, and Delgado, who was
even more conservative. Among the others were Julio Cict
3& THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
da Costa Motta, the secretary of the Junta Nacional In-
dependente de Libertacao de Portugal; Fernando Quei-
roga, a former officer in the Portuguese Army; Major Luis
Cesariny Calafate, another former Portuguese Army of-
ficer held responsible for the abortive May 12, 1959,
attempt on Salazar's life; Rodrigo Abreu, an ex-officer of
the Spanish Army; Julio Vayo, one-time foreign minister of
Spain, and Spanish "General" Alberto Bayo Girod, who
taught guerrilla warfare to Fidel Castro. They quarreled
immediately over whether Communists should be admit-
ted. The bickering annoyed Delgado, and he left Caracas
in disgust. With his buxom young secretary, he flew back
to the quiet comfort of his apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
But Galvao stuck to it and, finally, with no direct link to
the Communist Party, the Diretorio Revolucionario Iberico
de Libertacao was born.
Long before Galvao, in black beret and gilt-trimmed
epaulettes, proudly painted "D.R XL." in red letters on the
bridge of the Santa Maria, the Diretorio was making its
presence felt in Lisbon and Madrid. Its program to pub-
licize and terrorize the Iberian dictatorships was launched
almost immediately after that autumn, 1959, meeting in
Caracas. During 1960, an epidemic of bombings broke out
in Spain. In Madrid, the targets included the City Hall,
the Iberian Air Line Terminal and the Art Treasure House.
A fellow named Perez blew himself up in the town square
of Toledo, a victim apparently of a bomb which acci-
dentally went off before he could get it to its destination.
An explosion rocked the Bilbao-San Sebastian train. An-
tonio Abad and several others were arrested in Spain and
jailed for "D.R.I.L. activities/' A D.R.I.L. unit cropped up
in Morocco, where Fernando Queiroga was reported to be
running its headquarters at Tangiers. It was said, however,
THE REBELS UNITE 33
that he was later fired in a row over alleged misappropria-
tion of D.R.I.L. funds. When last heard about, Queiroga
was in Switzerland, offering his services to an Angola
nationalist movement. At Liege, Belgium, miners from
Spain formed a Spanish-Belgian friendship society, but
somehow D.R.I.L. agents moved in and took it over. In
France, D.R.I.L. groups were formed, but the head-
quarters kept shifting between Paris and Toulouse, de-
pending apparently upon when it could pay the rent.
While this loosely coordinated pressure was being ap-
plied around and inside the Iberian Peninsula, the fortunes
of the D.R.I.L. in Caracas were placed in the hands of the
tall, cadaverous, hollow-cheeked Spaniard, Jose "The Pro-
fessor" Velo Mosquera, whose eyes were fixed intently
on the goal of exterminating Salazar and Franco. He could
talk for hours on end about why and how this had to be
done. Galvao, with a Latin's love of eloquence, dignity
and sincerity, respected Velo beyond the others.
For more than a year before he seized the Santa Maria,
Galvao pecked at the world's conscience. In widely pub-
lished writings, he was particularly bitter about the seem-
ing indifference of the Western world to his country's
plight. In one article, printed in Nation magazine on
January 9, 1960, Galvao declared from his Caracas asylum:
Governments and leading parties in the great West-
ern democracies look upon the human and universal
aspects of democratic principles from vantage points
much too dehumanized to allow for any interest in
the sufferings of a people not American, English or
French, and lacking in oil riches or international in-
fluence. . . .
Salazar's old and proven ability to lie has led to an
34 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
easy and prolonged success. It has apparently trans-
formed Mm into a dictator different from the rest
the caretaker and shepherd of the Portuguese peo-
ple. . . .
Thus he built up the image of a humble., modest
person, one who eschewed worldly glory and ambi-
tiona mask which seemed to make his regime one
of peace and order ( of the kind, one notes, that are
found in cemeteries ) . . . .
He appeared as a sort of medieval saint ... a tyrant
in the service of God ... a rare, peculiar species of
carnivorous lamb. . . .
But behind the fagade built up for the world, there
remained the effective reality of a dictator like the
others, basically more dangerous because he was
better disguised. . . .
Of the Portuguese budget, thirty-two per cent is
spent on the military and less than six per cent on
health. The Portuguese diet is among the most meager
in Europe; twenty per cent of the population suffers
from malnutrition. Portugal has one physician for
every 1,400 inhabitants. In contrast, no country in
Europe has more drug stores in proportion to popula-
tion. , . .
The country's death rate from tuberculosis forty-
five per thousand in 1958 is more than twice that of
any country in Western Europe.
How long could the old "carnivorous lamb" stand up
under attacks like these from such an articulate and bold
exile as Galvao? Or the discontent of the Roman Catholic
hierarchy at home? Or the adverse votes of the United
States on colonial questions in the United Nations? Or,
THE REBELS UNITE 35
potentially far more disastrous, tlie terror that grew with
each "night of the long knives" in Portuguese Africa?
All in all, things were not going well for the Portuguese
Spartan who for three decades had successfully imposed
his personal foibles on his nine million countrymen.
It was against this background that President Dwight
D. Eisenhower, on May 20, 1960, made a one-day visit to
Lisbon. The American president, in a few words, helped
immeasurably to pull some Salazar chestnuts out of the
fire. Eisenhower congratulated Salazar for "the real prog-
ress" achieved during his regime and urged closer coopera-
tion between the United States and Portugal in the strug-
gle against Communism.
In his furnished room in Caracas, Galvao must have
gnashed his teeth at the news. His efforts to wake up
America and the other democracies to the Portuguese
dictatorship had been unavailing. How much, he must
have wondered, were the Azores bases worth to Washing-
ton? What would it take to awaken the West?
It would be another month before he found the answer
in a little newspaper story about the sailing schedule of
the Santa Maria.
Galvao was getting restive. He was a man of action and
there was no action for him. He agreed wholeheartedly
with the general plan laid down by the D.R.I.L. high
command, of which he was a part. But it was far too
long-range for his tastes. He was already sixty-five and,
weakened by the illnesses and beatings of his imprison-
ment, he knew his days were numbered. Although he did
not fear death, he wanted to live long enough to strike
a mortal blow at the hated Salazar. He wracked his brain
for a plan. On June 18, 1960, as he sipped coffee and
read the morning newspaper in his furnished room, the
idea jumped out at him from the printed pages.
It was a routine little story. It reported simply that
the Portuguese luxury liner Santa Maria made a round
trip from Lisbon to Port Everglades, Florida, about once
a month, touching at a number of other points, including
La Guaira, the nearby port for Caracas, and Willemstad
in neighboring Curacao. And it was due at La Guaira that
If they could seize the Santa Maria, they would capture
the attention of the whole world! They could sail to An-
OPERATION DULGINEA 3/
gola and organize an Army of Liberation! It was a good
omen that Santa Maria was also the name o the hospi-
tal in Lisbon from which he had escaped a few months
before. And Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception
was the patron saint of Portugal.
He jammed his floppy straw hat on his head, set his
extra-large sun glasses on his nose and set out to learn
all he could about the Santa Maria. He went out, conscious
that he was always under surveillance, hopeful that the
disguise would throw off his furtive followers, as it always
had before. Only his square jaw, thin-lipped mouth and
tip of his nose showed, to give away his identity.
By nightfall, he had rounded up the most trusted of his
fellow conspirators and they were at the docks in La
Guaira, lost in the crowd of visitors going aboard the
Santa Maria. For two hours, he and his colleagues roamed
the eight decks of the ship. Each had his assignment. They
already had obtained and studied the detailed plans of the
ship, for H. L. Boulton & Co., agents in Caracas for the
Santa Maria, had many copies and were only too happy to
supply them to prospective passengers. The men checked
all ladders and passageways, determining how to block
any counterattack at the time of seizure. They tried to
find out how much fuel, water and food the ship required,
and how many passengers it normally carried. They espe-
cially wanted to know whether it stored any small arms
and whether it carried any P.I.D.E. police as guards. The
answer to the last two questions, as far as they could tell,
Galvao himself inspected the three top decks. He went
to the bridge, passed by the steering wheel and even
poked his head into the captain's cabin, where he saw
Captain Mario Maia entertaining a few friends. Galvao
38 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
came away convinced that whoever controlled the upper-
most deck controlled the Santa Maria. And there were
only six ladders to hold on that deck to beat off any
attempt at counterattack.
The preparations began. Galvao estimated he needed
a hundred men to seize the ship. They would become his
officer corps when he had raised the Army o Liberation
In his romantic's eye, Galvao was a twentieth-century
Don Quixote and the Santa Maria his trusty Rozinante. He
had not one Sancho Panza, but many to squire him to the
lists against the foe, Premier Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.
Together they would free the people of Portugal from
the tyrant just as that other Don Quixote had fought for
~fair Dulcinea." What did it matter that many of the
people of Portugal, like those earlier unsympathetic Dul-
cineas, were ignorant of their plight or indifferent? He
smiled and, in his writer's mocking awareness of his own
romanticism, he dubbed his fantastic plot "Operation
Galvao rallied his followers with his vision: "When we
overthrow Salazar, then Franco will fall in Spain. And
then the people of Portugal and Spain, of Angola and Mo-
zambique and all the rest will control their own destinies
in a confederation of equal states The United States of
They listened and they believed in him and their hearts
almost broke as they saw their manpower dwindle when
the money they had hoped for simply did not materialize.
They kept their amazing scheme to themselves. Not even
the ultra-dignified General Humberto da Silva Delgado,
who came occasionally from Brazil to consult with them,
knew the intricacies of the plot.
OPERATION DULCINEA 3Q
Galvao, the man of action, needed Delgado, tihe symbol
of the oppressed and persecuted people of Portugal. He
admired Delgado's courage. But lie did not trust so con-
summate an egotist with all the dangerous details.
Galvao sent word to Delgado in September about "Op-
eration Dulcinea." He needed money to finance his com-
mando training and to pay the fares aboard the Santa
Maria. Could Delgado raise funds among the rich Basques
of Sao Paulo? Delgado did what he could, delighted to be
back in the swim again.
Delgado had suffered serious setbacks in power and
prestige since the fall of 1959. At titat time > be went on
a grand world tour to whip up enthusiasm for his cause
in such a way that Salazar would find the pressure unbear-
able. He set out with high hopes. Everything went well
at the start. In London, the Laborites made much of him.
But soon, wherever he went, the people stayed away.
There simply was no interest in him. The controlled Por-
tuguese press hooted at the fiasco, and he called off the
journey ahead of time. He returned to Sao Paulo heart-
broken but determined not to show it.
"Five minutes . . . five minutes ... all I can give you is
five minutes," he would say, with characteristic bustle, to
reporters who requested an interview. They usually went
along with this portrayal of a very busy man, although
in truth two or three minutes was all it really took to get
his story. He had become a rebel with a lost cause. For-
eign diplomats, whom he importuned in Brazil, charac-
terized him in their reports home as "a has-been."
In May, 1960, the Portuguese Communists gave up on
him, like rats deserting a sinking ship. Whereas they had
pitched in to organize street demonstrations for him in the
1958 election, now they denounced Delgado, Galvao and
4O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
the D.R XL. as representing "an undesirable type of orien-
tation." Their activities, in the view of the two to three
thousand hard-core Communist Party members in Portu-
gal, could only cause more Salazar-like oppression.
Delgado hit bottom in June, 1960. Salazar dismissed him
from the Portuguese Air Force for "making treasonable
statements." His three-quarters pay was stopped. He had
no money, no status at all at home, and no medals.
Now, with Galvao's message, the tide began to turn
Other messages passed between them. One, intercepted
by the Portuguese agents keeping an eye on Delgado, was
dated September 23, 1960. It made reference to operations
aimed at liberating a ship or airplane. The reference was
not clear and, in any event, sounded awfully harebrained
to the P.I.D.E. Orders went out to be especially alert on
Portuguese ships and aircraft. For a while, the Santa Maria
and her twin, the Vera Cruz, carried P.I.D.E. agents dis-
guised as passengers.
The rebels needed about $30,000. But they couldn't
get it, not even from the rich Basques in Venezuela and
Argentina who seemed always anxious to ante up for any-
thing that would hurt Franco. The most they could raise
was $10,000. Galvao reduced the number of men from
a hundred to fifty, to forty, to thirty, and finally to twenty-
With D.R.I.L. blessing, Galvao set up a commando
camp about sixty-five miles from Caracas, in a wild, moun-
tainous region. He and his men bought arms on the black
market a battered old submachine gun for $300, a rea-
sonably good Thompson submachine gun for $250, three
pistols at $100 each, five Colt .45 automatics at $80 each,
and four rifles at $200 each. Four hand grenades, donated
OPERATION BULCINEA 4!
by a Venezuelan poEticlan who had no idea what they
would be used for, completed the arsenal For that matter,
only ten of the twenty-four men who joined Galvao at
his mountain hideaway were in on the secret. The four-
teen others followed blindly.
As his chief of staff, Galvao selected Jorge Sotomayor,
a powerfully built, middle-aged Spaniard who had dis-
tinguished himself as a naval officer on the Republican
side during the Spanish Civil War. With three others, he
had blown up the Nationalist cruiser Baleares. He was
a man of great courage and, furthermore, the only one
among Galvao's conspirators who knew how to run a ship.
D-Day was set as October 14, 1960.
Galvao wanted to book passage from Caracas to Port
Everglades, Florida, because that would be far cheaper
than paying for a trip all the way to Lisbon. But the Amer-
ican Embassy in Caracas refused, without explanation, to
issue his men entrance visas to the United States. He had
no choice but to buy twenty-five Third Class fares to Lis-
bon at about $200 each. There was not enough money.
Frantically, the men set about trying to raise it.
Galvao turned to the various organizations in Caracas
which had dedicated themselves to opposition to the Sala-
zar and Franco regimes. They had no money to spare,
although Galvao noted bitterly that his whole expedition
could have been financed by the money they spent at
meetings, congresses, and commemorative outpourings on
dates in history on which various liberties had been lost
to their peoples.
A Spanish millionaire who had written a book critical
of Franco's regime looked like a good prospect. Galvao
and his men called on him, seeking only the price of two
Third Class fares. He treated them to a lunch, whose cost
42 THE FLOATING BEVOLUTION
alone would have bought one such ticket, but he sent
them away emptyhanded.
Three days before D-Day, Galvao was short $600, the
price of three fares, and he could not spare the manpower.
Fund-raising efforts were redoubled, but October 14 ar-
rived and they were no better off than before. With a
heavy heart, Galvao rescheduled the coup to the Santa
Marias next arrival in Caracas, November 16.
The delay ate into his meager resources. While he
searched for capital, what little he had trickled through
his fingers in subsistence allowances for his little band of
commandos. And then he struck it rich. He found an angel
who promised to deliver $5,000 by November 13 enough
to pay Third Class passage for everyone and with three
days to spare. But his joy was short-lived. He was later
told that the money could not be made available until
November 20, four days too late.
He accepted another month's delay, until the Santa
Marias return on December 19. This D-Day> too, was not
On December 10, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon,
Galvao suffered a terrific pain in his chest. He was rushed
to a clinic, where doctors diagnosed his trouble as a heart
attack. They ordered him to rest for at least a month, if
he wanted to live.
"The only thing that really concerns me," he told them,
"is that I am able to keep alive for another six months."
There were some in Caracas who thought he would not
be able to. Police agents, keeping an eye on the slippery
old man as best they could, learned of his illness. After
checking with the doctors, they cabled Lisbon that Galvao
OPERATION BULCINEA 43
In December, 1960, Delgado mysteriously left Sao
Paulo. The P.I.D.E. lost Ms trail, but lie was thought to
have gone either to Havana, Cuba, or Caracas. In Havana,
there were rumors that Premier Fidel Castro planned to
use blocked Spanish funds to help finance the D.R.I.L.
It seemed more likely that Delgado had gone there and
not to Caracas, where surely he could expect no such
help from old rebel Captain Galvao, who was obviously
near death with a faltering heart.
Word that Galvao was "enjoying his last illness" was
accepted and surveillance was withdrawn.
D-Day was postponed again until Friday, January 20.
This time they were ready. The submachine guns and
rifles were taken apart and packed with the pistols and
hand grenades in three suitcases marked with an X in
white paint. A Caracas customs guard was bribed to pass
this marked luggage without opening it for inspection.
One of Galvao's men, a radio specialist, failed to show
up. The others went on without him, chagrined at his loss,
for his skill as a telegrapher could not be approached by
any of them. At La Guaira nineteen of the twenty-four
rebels went aboard, singly and in twos or threes, mingling
with the crowd unobtrusively. Sotomayor took a Second
Class cabin which would give him greater freedom of
movement about the ship. Fourteen others went quietly
to Third Class compartments on D and E decks below
him. Five others were the most unobtrusive of all; they
had no tickets, only visitors' passes, and they hid out as
stowaways. The three suitcases marked with an X were
delivered to Cabin 358, where four rebels were quartered.
Galvao himself had already left Caracas, his face hidden
by his straw hat and sun glasses. At the last minute, he
44 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
decided his name and face were too well known to risk
boarding the Santa Maria openly at La Guaira. He could
not fake a name because, if credentials were demanded, he
would have to show his emergency Venezuelan passport
which gave his true identity. He spent his ticket money
for airplane fare for himself and Jose Frias de Oliveira,
and together they flew to Curacao, Netherlands West In-
dies, on the ten-o'clock plane that fateful morning of
Januaty 20. At Curacao they would be joined by two
others, Emanuel Jorge Pestana de Barros and Graciano
Esparrinha, who were delayed overnight by minor diffi-
culties in getting their travel documents.
As the plane gained altitude, Galvao looked down on
the Santa Maria, which his men would be boarding in
about eight hours, Would they get safely aboard or end up
in a Caracas jail? The great anxiety he felt was to stay
with him for the next twenty-four hours.
At Willernstad, Galvao and his companion checked
into the Brion, a small roominghouse on the waterfront.
It was a rather run-down hostelry, but the people were
pleasant, and the window of his room was a scant sixty
yards from the channel through which the Santa Maria
The first thing he did was to telephone Julio da Costa
Mota, his trusted lieutenant in Caracas, who was re-
maining behind to run things there and to spread false
rumors as to Galvao's whereabouts. But it was only two
o'clock and there was little news, for it would be four
hours yet before the embarkation began,
At dinner, he eavesdropped on the conversation at the
table next to his. His neighbors talked knowingly about
ships. At mention of the Santa Maria he listened intently.
OPERATION DX7LCINEA 45
The men said she had a damaged turbine and that her
hull was overdue for a cleaning. He recalled the scandals
associated with the construction of the Santa Maria
charges of excessive costs, shabby workmanship, and pay-
offs to politicians and his anxiety deepened.
That night, shut up in Ms room, he painfully endured
the slow passage of time. He tried to telephone Caracas
again but failed to make contact. He wrote letters, to Del-
gado and to Alvaro Lins, who as Brazil's ambassador to
Portugal had given asylum to Delgado in Lisbon. He went
to bed early, fretful and uncertain.
After a night spent tossing and turning, he arose early
and stood by the window, looking out to sea. At eight-
thirty, his vigil was rewarded. A commotion announced
the opening of the bridge across the channel of the port.
There, in all her majesty, steamed the Santa Maria. She
moved slowly past the window toward her berthing place.
An hour and a half of anxiety and apprehension passed.
Then someone knocked at the door. It was Sotomayor.
"All is well," he said in his grave, dignified way. "But
there are only twenty-four of us now. The radioman
failed to answer roll-call yesterday morning."
Sotomayor sat with him in the little room. He told
Galvao how, instead of sleeping, he had spent his first
night aboard the Santa Maria studying its operation.
From bridge to engine room, from port to starboard,
Sotomayor knew the ship, and he had no qualms about
his ability to make her go. As the day passed, they re-
viewed their plan. H-Hour was set at 1:30 the next morn-
ing, a time when most of the passengers and off-duty
crewmen, tired out from calling at La Guaira and Willem-
stad, should be fast asleep. Sotomayor figured there were
46 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
about 650 passengers and 350 crewmen aboard. Shortly
before 1:30, Galvao and his men were to rendezvous in the
Second Class recreation area at the aft end of A deck.
Weapons would be distributed there and, upon Galvao's
command, the men would divide into two groups. Soto-
mayor and seven others would seize the radio room, the
chart room, the navigation center and the bridge. These
were all located on the topmost deck, the boat deck, two
flights above A deck. Galvao and the remaining fifteen
men would subdue the captain and the ship's officers in
their quarters on the sun deck, which was just below the
boat deck and the bridge. He would also post guards at
six ladders connecting the boat deck and the sun deck. Two
of these were far aft, two forward on the flying bridge, one
just forward of the radio room, and the other leading from
the bridge to the passageway outside the captain's cabin.
One man with a rifle or submachine gun could hold off
an army at these points, for, no matter how many would-be
attackers there were, they would have to mount the ladders
one or two at a time.
Once in command of the Santa Maria, Galvao planned
to sail swiftly and secretly to the Spanish island of Fer-
nando Po off the west central coast of Africa. There, with
the help of hoped-for volunteers from among the Santa
Maria's crew and passengers, he would stage a commando
raid, seize control, sever communications with the outside
world, rally the natives to his cause, press into service
a captured gunboat and any available aircraft, and launch
an attack on Luanda, the capital of Angola. With Luanda
in his grasp, after a blitzkrieg lasting two or three days,
Galvao would proclaim it liberated Portuguese territory
and declare war on the Salazar regime. He anticipated that
OPERATION DULCINEA 47
this would touch off revolts in Portugal and Mozambique,
Portugal's other big African possession, and total victory
would soon be Ms.
A pipe dream? Certainly. But Alexander and Napoleon
and others had had pipe dreams and lived to see them
come true. And even if it failed, in whole or in part, its
utter boldness would capture the world's fancy and expose
the Salazar regime to the searing glare of unfavorable
It was seven weeks to the day since his heart attack,
but, listening to Sotoinayor lay out the familiar plan with
such crisp confidence, he felt like a very young man again.
At noon, Galvao, Sotomayor, and Jose Frias de Oliveira
were joined in the tiny hotel room by Emanuel Jorge de
Barros and Graciano Esparrinha, just arrived from Caracas
on a KLM airliner. Galvao's spirits soared when he re-
ceived at that time a gift from Julio da Costa Mota, a
copy of Ambassador Lins' new anti-Salazar book, Mission
in Portugal. In a joyous mood, the five conspirators went
out to lunch and to sight-see.
At four o'clock they checked out of the Hotel Brion.
Galvao paid for it with the last money he had in the
world, except for a few coins in his pocket. His eyes twin-
kling behind the sun glasses, his old straw hat flopping
around his ears, Galvao led the way to the docks. Only
Sotomayor had a ticket. Galvao and the others had visitors'
passes, which they had scrounged in Caracas. In a half-
hour they were at the pier, mingling with the mass of
people going aboard and coming ashore. The man at the
head of the gangplank did not even bother to look at his
As Galvao put his foot on the deck of the Santa Maria,
48 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
seven months of anguish and frustration miraculously
fell away. It seemed for an instant that, simply by step-
ping aboard, he had gained complete possession.
"Mine/' he thought. "You are mine."
One of his men in the crowd in the D deck embarka-
tion hall caught his eye and motioned to him to follow.
Galvao was led discreetly to an inboard Tourist Class
cabin. To save money, they had chosen such rooms, the
cheapest because there were no portholes. Some of the
men were in the cabin. He looked at their faces, and he
saw the same contentment he knew must be shining out
of his. Young Jose da Cunha Ramos had it. So did Joaquim
Manuel da Silva Paiva, the loquacious mechanical en-
gineer. And long-nosed Professor Velo. Even that valorous
old sea dog, Sotomayor. Galvao suddenly realized that
sweat was dripping from his fingertips and his khaki
pants and shirt clung to his skin in great, dark blotches.
"No air conditioning," someone said. "It broke down
three days ago/*
At seven o'clock, the Santa Maria's screws began to
turn and soon she cast off and headed to sea. Galvao went
topside to breathe the cool fresh air. By eleven o'clock,
he was back in the heat of Cabin 358, helping assemble
and load the weapons. They were hidden under mat-
tresses. Before the men broke up to wait tensely for H-
Hour, Galvao assigned the weapons.
He gave the two submachine guns to Paiva and Agustin
Romara Rojo, and rifles and pistols to Camillo Tavares
Mortagua, Julio Rodrigues, Luis Fernandez Ackerman,
Manuel Mazo Bravo, Graciano Maquis Esparrinha, Fran-
cisco Rico Leal, Sotomayor, Professor Velo, and Velo's
son, Victor Jose Velo Perez. Galvao kept for himself a
Colt .45, which he stuck in his belt and covered up with
OPERATION BULCINEA 49
Ills shirt. He shoved into his pocket a hand grenade which
he had made himself. It was actually a bomb, for it had
no detonator. If he had to use it, he planned to set it off
by lighting it with a cigarette. The three other hand gre-
nades he gave to Sotomayor, Rojo and Perez. The ten men
who had no firearms were not without weapons. They
carried knives, machetes and blackjacks.
Back in his cabin, Galvao studied his watch as the min-
utes dragged by. After an eternity, it was 1:2,5. H-Hour
minus five minutes. Into the pockets of his shirt he stuffed
the trappings of his new life a black beret, black epau-
lettes with their three golden stripes, and an arm band in
the green and red national colors of Portugal.
He went on deck. It was an extraordinarily beautiful
night, all clear overhead and with a few clouds scudding
about on the horizon. Passengers were lying about the
deck, enjoying the fresh air denied them in the swelter-
ing holes their cabins had become without air condi-
In Second Class Cabin 106, on the port side of deck B
aft, almost directly under the rendezvous point toward
which Galvao was headed, Arthur Douglas Patton and his
wife slept peacefully. Since they had left New Orleans
in October aboard the American freighter Dick Lykes,
they had visited thirteen countries. It had been a nice
three months. They would still be going strong if the
bankroll had held out.
The way they did it, it was an adventure. No particular
plans, no reservations. Exciting things happened, like
arriving in Venice at midnight, with no hotel arrange-
ments and knowing not a word of Italian, and winding
up in that strange little hotel where people kept arriving
5O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
and departing all night long. But the most exciting thing
of all had happened only the day before, in Caracas.
The Pattons were ambling along a street when all of a
sudden an Olds 88 came hurtling along with three fellows
and a girl in it. A police car was in close pursuit. Another
police car hemmed in the Olds from the opposite direction,
shots were fired from a submachine gun, and the fleeing
car squealed to a halt. Three more police cars roared
up. The three men and the girl were hauled roughly out
of their automobile. The police looked menacingly at the
Pattons, who suddenly realized that, except for them,
the streets were deserted. The Pattons took off on the
run. It would be a long time, they told each other, before
anything as exciting as that happened to them again.
Arthur, Jr., would be delighted to hear about it when they
got back home to Boulder City, Nevada, in a few days.
In Second Class Cabin 240, below and a little forward
of the Pattons on deck C, Mrs. Edna P. Chubb slept fit-
fully. Friday had been an exciting day in Caracas. "The
highlight," she wrote in the travel journal she always
kept for her children and grandchildren, "was hearing
the last ten minutes of President Kennedy's inaugural
address at the U.S. Embassy." She had nothing to write
about Curacao, for she had described it at length during
her 1958 visit there. Lonely since the death of her hus-
band in 1955, Mrs. Chubb had begun traveling in 1956,
usually taking a trip a year.
She was grateful that throughout the voyage home
she had had her cabin all to herself. She had been abroad
since September, traveling in Greece, Turkey, the Canary
Islands, Portugal and Spain. Now she was a little weary
and wanted to be left alone. They would arrive in Florida
in three days and, six days after that, she would be cele-
OPERATION BULCINEA $1
brating her seventy-first birthday in the bosom of her
family at Pasadena, California.
Henrique Galvao climbed the ladder three flights up
from D deck to A deck. He entered the open-air recreation
area near the Second Class swimming pool and surveyed
his men. A few of them appeared a little emotional. But
most were sprawled casually in deck chairs, smoking
cigarettes, or chatting amiably around the swimming pool
Many other passengers were lying about and a number of
crew members passed by, on their way to duty posts or
Galvao looked at his watch. It was exactly 1:30. He
pulled out his black beret and put it on at a rakish angle.
He attached the epaulettes and the arm band. The twenty-
three other men followed his example.
"Vamos!" he said. "Let's go!"
'PIRATES! REAL PIRATES!"
Mrs. Caroline Boyce, a bright and cheerful widow o sixty
from Lutherville, Maryland, near Baltimore, awakened
in her cabin about two in the morning. For no particular
reason, she felt wide awake. The engines were pounding
so hard that her cabin was vibrating. That was certainly
a change. Only a few minutes before, she had been
awakened when the engines stopped altogether. She had
then dozed off again. This time, she looked out her port-
hole and sniffed the fresh, warm salt air. The sky was
mostly clear, and she remembered she had neglected her
nightly custom of checking the ship's course by the con-
stellations. She clucked in mock disapproval. At this rate,
she would lose her standing as an amateur astronomer.
Somebody was sure to ask about it at breakfast.
Mrs. Boyce threw on a robe, went topside and looked
for the Big Dipper. She had trouble finding it, for it was
not where she thought it should be. Ah, there it was. She
followed the pointers thirty degrees over the located Po-
laris, the North Star. But something was wrong. If the
ship's course was northwest, as it was supposed to be,
what was Polaris doing off the port fantail and not off the
"PIRATES! BEAL PIRATES I" 53
starboard bow? And Orion seemingly due east instead of
"Jogging around, I guess, to get through these islands/'
Mrs. Boyce formed a mental picture of Willemstad,
Curacao, in the Netherlands West Indies, their last port
of call only the day before, and of the island-speckled
Caribbean to the north. She could not conjure up any
land that would call for such zigzag navigation. She dis-
missed the thought and went back to bed.
About four o'clock, Mrs. Sarah Jane Hamer Smith, of
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, came slowly awake, and won-
dered why. Then she felt a strong breeze blowing through
the porthole. That was nice. The cabin had been unbear-
ably hot and stuffy ever since the air conditioning broke
down before La Guaira. It was just her luck to be on the
side of the ship away from the prevailing wind. But now
the wind had shifted, and it was even stronger than be-
fore. It would freshen the sticky cabin for her and her
husband, Delbert Carl Smith, Jr., thirty-nine, and their
pretty, pony-tailed, blonde daughter, seven-year-old
Deborah Caroline. Mrs. Smith went back to sleep. It
never crossed her mind that the ship had turned about
and increased its speed to more than twenty knots.
It was about half-past six when Mrs. Boyce realized
that somebody was pounding on her door. She threw on
a robe and answered the summons. It was Mrs. David R.
Crockett, fifty, of Pompano Beach, Florida. In a strained
voice, Mrs. Crockett suggested that she hurry and get
dressed because somebody had been shot and killed. Mrs.
Boyce looked out and saw blood on the deck of the pas-
sageway. Crewmen were beginning to swab it up.
Arthur Douglas Patton and his wife Myrtle were up
54 THE FLOATING KEVOLITTION
bright and early. At seven, they went an deck to walk
around awhile in anticipation of the generous breakfast
they had come to enjoy aboard the Santa Maria. They
noticed that the crew was not washing down the decks, as
usual at that hour. They met Mrs. Henry A. Bates, sixty-
six, of Washington, D.C., and she told them that a man
with a gun had barred her from going topside for her regu-
lar morning stroll. They talked about the blood they had
seen in the passageway to the hospital, and wondered
what it was all about.
Nat Logan-Smith, a burly, red-faced man of fifty-seven
who was a retired civil service administrator from Hono-
lulu, Hawaii, was a late arrival on deck, He was met by
a fellow passenger he had come to like, a quiet, sensible
man named Martin Yunker, fifty-eight, a retired contractor
from Warren, Connecticut.
"Did you know we were taken over by pirates last
night?" Yunker asked.
Logan-Smith gave him a look of disbelief and waited for
Mrs. Yunker was at her husband's elbow, a little dis-
traught, as he went on. "They were all over the place this
morning, carrying guns and wearing red and green arm
bands, searching the boats. Are you ready to walk the
He was laughing, or trying to, when he said that last.
Logan-Smith was taken aback. He had been through
a war, traveled the world and was along in years. What
happened to him was not important. But he was hanged
if he was going to let anybody, guns or no guns, take
away from him the Karman-Ghia sport car he had bought
in Germany. It was sitting down in the hold at that mo-
"PIKATES! HEAL PIRATES!" 55
ment, and it was the first tiling lie thought of at the men-
tion of pirates.
"Aw, searching the boats for stowaways is customary
after leaving a port/ 5 he growled. "Come on, we're late for
In the First and Second Class salons, the breakf asters
were mystified. Gone were the cheery smiles of the maitre
d'hotel and his waiters. Gone were the sumptuous, many-
course meals to start the day right. The men wore long
faces, and there was no choice of a menu. It was fruit
juice, bread, butter and coffee take it or leave it.
Mr. and Mrs. Patton marked how tense the maitre
d'hotel was when, without explanation, he announced
they could have only coffee and rolls.
Logan-Smith thought he would loosen up his waiter and
maybe find out something. "Well," he said, "we'll be with
you only two more days/'
"Don't be too sure of that," the waiter sighed, and
scurried for the galley.
The maitre d'hotel went around to every table. In an
anguished voice, he disclosed there would be a meeting
of passengers in the lounge. He refused to say why, but
the word had gone the rounds. A few made jokes about
their predicament. It was inevitable that someone should
recall that this was, after all, the old Spanish Main, breed-
ing ground of pirates for centuries. But there was really
nothing very funny about it. One man was dead and two
were wounded. Who knew what was next in store?
A hush fell over the passengers as Captain Maia and a
tall, dark stranger entered the lounge with an escort of
khaki-clad gunmen. They all stood at attention as the
Portuguese national anthem was played on the ship's
56 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
loudspeaker system. It was their first good look at the rebel
uniform with its arm band of green and red.
Captain Maia made a long speech in Portuguese stating
that he was no longer in command because Galvao had
seized the vessel, killing one man and wounding others. At
length he was finished, and the newcomer, Velo, ad-
dressed the passengers for the first time. He spoke in
Portuguese too, and the Americans, straining for a familiar
sound, kept asking each other, "What was that?" "What
did he say?" The speeches by Maia and Velo were trans-
lated into Spanish and, finally, into English. Velo's was a
political harangue, denouncing the governments of Salazar
in Portugal and Generalissimo Francisco Franco in Spain.
Velo pledged fervently that they would be overthrown,
and he would never rest until they were. He wound up
with a promise to the passengers.
"Passengers have nothing to fear as long as they coop-
erate," Velo said. "But we will brook no interference. This
ship is not going to Miami. We regret the inconvenience
but it can not be helped. There is no cause for alarm. All
passengers will be disembarked at a "neutral port in five
or six days. Every effort will be made to insure your safety
and comfort/' And Galvao, who had quietly joined the
group, nodded sagely at his words.
The meeting ended with Tchaikovsky's 1812, Overture
banging and crashing over the loudspeaker.
In general, the passengers breathed more easily. Per-
haps things would not be too bad. Velo was a handsome
chap, nearly six feet tall, healthy suntan, flashing white
teeth. And when he talked, it was hard to believe that
he and the others could kill a man.
But Mrs. Floyd W. Preston, thirty-seven, of Lawrence,
Kansas, did not like the uncertainty. She wondered how
"PIKATES! REAL PIRATES I" 57
she could keep lier four robust sons out of mischief for
another five or six days. The boys Carl Bruce, eleven;
Harold Wayne, nine; Donald Floyd, five; and Steven
Dean, two would not take kindly to being cooped up.
And what about all her things down in the hold? The
station wagon, the furniture, the clothes in short, every-
thing the Prestons owned, for her husband, also thirty-
seven, a professor of petroleum engineering at the Univer-
sity of Kansas, was transferring back to campus after a
two-year sabbatical in Caracas. Eleven-year-old Carl
might be manageable. The little ones would probably be
difficult to keep amused. But nine-year-old Harold was
the one to watch. He had already served notice.
"Boy!" he had said, spectacles bobbing on his button
nose, as if he were a flirtatious owl. "Pirates! Real pirates!
Nat Logan-Smith was still concerned about the fate of
his Karman-Ghia. He talked it over with Martin Yunker,
who pointed out that, in all Velo's talk about a "neutral"
port for disembarking passengers, he never once hinted
where that might be. They decided to find somebody who
knew and could say. The two men climbed to the bridge.
The regular mate was on watch, but to his left a uniformed
rebel had him under surveillance. The rebel was extremly
courteous. They were perfectly safe, he said, and yes, all
the passengers could take their belongings with them
when they left the ship. Where? Ah, that was a secret!
Eben Neal Baty, sixty-four, of Paradise Cove, Cali-
fornia, a veteran traveler who once wrote a best-selling
book about his experiences abroad, rather liked the ad-
venture of it all. He turned to his wife Emma, sixty-six,
and said, "You know, I'm glad we didn't take that other
ship we were thinking about."
58 THE FLOATING ^REVOLUTION
But Mrs. Dorothy Thomas, sixty, of Los Angeles, could
not believe her senses. "Such a thing isn't possible," she
insisted. "It doesn't make sense!"
It remained, however, for Manuel Lourenco, a Portu-
guese en route to Lisbon from Venezuela, to come up
with the most plaintive reaction of all. "This is a hell of
a thing to happen to a man going home to retire after
thirty years in a foreign country," he said.
A number of the American women got together to talk
about something that was troubling them. These men,
however courteous they might appear, had shot three
officers. Who knew what other depredations they might
commit as time went by? It might be well to take no
chances. They decided they had better not wear any-
thing enticing, so they ruled out bathing suits, shorts and
About eleven that morning, a small freighter appeared
on the horizon. Then it came so close that the excited
passengers, looking through field glasses, could make out
its Japanese flag. The freighter slowed down and every-
body wondered if it suspected anything wrong on the
Santa Maria. Or was the freighter's captain simply curious
for a long, close look at the rakish lines of the $1,600,000
luxury liner? The Santa Maria cut crisply away to the
southeast and soon, at more than twenty knots, left the
Japanese ship far astern.
Lunch and dinner, like breakfast, were ample in quan-
tity but restricted in choice. There was no longer any
menu to pick from. And glum waiters set it on the table
without flourish, too demoralized to care for the niceties
any more. The little extras were missing, but there were
no significant shortages.
In the afternoon and evening, the passengers gathered
"PIRATES! REAL PIRATES 1" 59
about portable radios, listening intently to the news. The
rebels made no attempt to interfere. But the news was
routine. No mention of the Santa Maria. No word of any
uprisings in Portugal or any of its "provinces." People
talked of the legend of the Flying Dutchman and of how
that ship was doomed to sail forever, with never a port
of call. Arthur Douglas Patton remembered the two bot-
tles with messages inside that he had dropped over the
side in happier days for a lark. Maybe now was the time
to do it again, seriously. Maybe tomorrow.
"It is a terrible thing/' he told his wife, "to be a prisoner,
and nobody in the world knows it."
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE
Despite a heart attack, a dwindling cadre of supporters,
a lack of ready cash, and the sharp eye of the P.I.D.E.,
Galvao had captured the Santa Maria. He had carried out
the first phase of the bold scheme which came to him on
June 18, 1960, when he read of the Santa Maria's schedule,
and he was now headed for Angola and Phase Twothe
raising of an Army of Liberation against Salazar. As he
stood on the bridge and watched the prow turn toward
the channel between St. Lucia and Martinique, he de-
cided to rechristen the ship.
"Santa Liberdade," he thought. "Blessed Liberty."
He made a note to have a sign painted with the new
name and strung across the railing of the bridge on which
he stood. There would be another smaller sign above it
bearing the initials of his revolutionary organization. To-
gether, in letters three feet high, they would say:
Galvao chuckled, pleased with his originality. But there
is an old saw about nothing being new under the sun. And
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 6l
so it was in the case of even so daring a feat as liis. The
American comic strip "The Phantom" was at the time
featuring an adventure in which pirates disguised as
passengers smuggled arms aboard a ship.
The pirates of the China Coast long had worked with
the order and discipline of the Galvao crew.
The New York Times of December 12, 1929, in describ-
ing the China Sea pirates, might just as well have been
referring to Galvao's operation when it reported:
To recruit a reliable gang, select a likely victim,
gather the essential information, carry through the
enterprise and plan a retreat with spoils and prison-
ers, requires no ordinary ability. . . .
The whole gang goes on board, some in the saloon,
the majority in the steerage and one or two among
the crew. They are not slinking, cowardly ruffians, but
men who know their job and usually try to do it effi-
ciently and humanely provided that humanity is
compatible with efficiency. . . .
But it is not every piracy that works smoothly.
Often the Indian guard on duty is shot dead by a
treacherous volley, and when the Norwegian coaster
Soluiken was captured the master, Captain Jastoff,
was murdered because he did not immediately open
his cabin door.
Stranger still, there had actually sailed in those very
waters the fabulous French pirate, "Good" Captain Mis-
son, who founded a democratic Utopia aboard his ship
and dedicated it, fifty years before the French Revolution,
to Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
The amazing Misson, whose exploits are chronicled but
6& THE FLOATING BEVOI/0TION
not too well documented, took over the French man-of-
war Victoire off Martinique early in the eighteenth cen-
tury. The captain had been killed in a victory over the
English man-of-war Winchester. Misson and his counselor-
companion, an unfrocked Dominican priest from Italy
named Caraccioli, apparently were as glib a pair of talkers
as Galvao and his theoretician, Professor Velo. After a
harangue denouncing tyranny and extolling liberty, Mis-
son and Caraccioli were elected by the cheering French
sailors as captain and executive officer, respectively.
They rejected the black flag of piracy, choosing instead
a white one embroidered with the motto "For God and
Liberty/' Thereafter, they scourged the seas, politely
robbing ships and apologizing for each murder. Their ship
was not a ship but a "nation" and, according to C. John-
son's A General History of the Pyrates, published in Lon-
don in 1726, "they were no pyrates but men who were
resolved to affect the Liberty which God and Nature gave
Misson eventually led his men to Madagascar, where
they established a strictly socialistic colony and named it
"Libertatia." All property was commonly held, even
money, and there was no race or color bar. Libertatia had
a navy of two ships, the Childhood and the Liberty,
Finally, however, the previously friendly natives rose up
for some reason and attacked the flourishing settlement.
Misson and a few others escaped to sea, only to go down
with their ship in a hurricane.
It may be that Galvao knew all this as the Santa Maria
plowed on another voyage of liberation toward Angola,
where he hoped to find thousands of volunteers for a
military assault on Portugal. He had good reason to expect
support from the inhabitants of that oppressed colony.
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 63
In Angola, Galvao's goal, one of the great horror stories
of the century was being played out to its inexorable
denouement. On the one side were the black Angolese,,
becoming aware of the rising expectations sweeping
Africa and straining for the first time against the bonds
that have held them to Portugal for nearly five centuries.
On the other side were Salazar and his government, sworn
to expend "the blood from our veins" rather than accept
the inevitable. There could be no other end but tragedy,
and the floating revolution aboard the Santa Maria was to
play a role.
Angola has belonged to Portugal since Diogo Cao dis-
covered the mouth of the Congo River in 1482,, ten years
before Columbus discovered America. Those were the
days of Portugal's pre-eminence in the Era of Explora-
tion, and her kings Henry the Navigator, Alphonso the
African, John the Perfect and Manoel the Fortunate-
sent intrepid men into strange worlds with the Gospel
in one hand and shackles for slaves in the other. Quickly,
Portuguese settlers spread down the west coast of Africa
and around the Cape of Good Hope to the east coast,
advanced in South America and crossed the seas to the
Near and Far East. By 1540, Portugal had acquired,
through discovery, conquest, cession and colonization, a
maritime empire extending across half the globe. Portu-
gal was thus one of the first of the Western colonial pow-
ers, and today has elected to be the last.
There is still a yearning in those stout Portuguese hearts
which quicken at mention of names like Diogo Cao,,
Bartholomeu Diaz, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral
and Ferdinand Magellan, for the power of an earlier
Portugal. Small wonder, then, that any threat to the colo-
nies is met with such fierce determination to fight to the
64 THE FLOATING BEVOLUTION
last man. With them, Portugal boasts a territory of 805,586
square miles, a population of 22,419,666, a balanced
budget, international stature, and a protected market
for goods which would find few buyers anywhere else.
Without them, Portugal would be reduced to 34,230
square miles, a population of 8,980,000, a monstrous trade
deficit, and a tenth-rate level, wallowing in a depression
which would make its current per capita income of $245
a year seem high.
Angola, nearly twice the size of Texas, is the biggest,
richest and by far the most important of the Portuguese
provinces. Its loss would produce an estimated $100,000,-
ooo a year adverse balance of trade for Portugal. This is
so because Angola, together with Mozambique, buys
twenty-three per cent of what Portugal exports. Besides,
Angola and Mozambique send back millions every year
in diamonds, coffee, sisal and minerals. And, politically,
as Angola goes, so goes Mozambique, although not quite
As France did with Algeria, Salazar technically ended
Portuguese colonialism with a stroke of the pen, by saying
in his new constitution that the colonies were no longer
colonies but "provinces" and therefore an integral part
of Portugal. Technically, this was like giving statehood to
Alaska and Hawaii. Actually, it changed nothing.
"Forced labor in the Portuguese provinces is today in-
distinguishable from outright slavery/ 7 Captain Galvao
Galvao's was not a lone voice crying in the wilderness
of the "Kingdom of Silence," as the Burmese delegate to
the United Nations called Angola. Over the years, despite
a censorship worthy of the Kremlin, journalists and
political observers have gone to Angola, looked and
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 65
listened. They have been reporting for decades that,
despite the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the Berlin
Conference of 1885 and all the other international denun-
ciations of slavery since then, hundreds of thousands of
human beings live and die in bondage, however subtle
What happens is that the law says one thing and the
exigencies dictate just the opposite. The Portuguese Con-
stitution forbids the exploitation of native labor either for
the state or by the state for private enterprise. But there
is also a law which requires every African in Angola to
work at least six months a year. This is the legal basis
from which the abuses flow.
At eighteen, an indigena, or native Angolan, gets a plas-
tic-covered caderneta. It contains his photograph, finger-
prints, record of payments of his seven-dollar annual head
tax, and the log of his employment. Instead of paying the
tax, he may work it out on road-building or similar public
projects for one month. He must always carry the log of his
employment. And he must always make sure that his work
is recorded. If he cannot prove that he is working or al-
ready has worked his six months, he may be hauled away
to a remote camp, tied up or flogged with hippopotamus-
hide whips should he protest, and forced under guard to
accept Salazar's conception of "the dignity of labor."
If he is still uncooperative, he may be shipped away, to
Sao Tome or Principe or even some non-Portuguese terri-
tory like the Union of South Africa or, until the Belgians
gave it up with such disastrous consequences, the Congo.
For the especially recalcitrant, such as a man caught
bandying about subversive words like "freedom," even in
his native tongue, there is always the palmatoria. This is a
sort of ping-pong paddle with holes in it. Applied to the
66 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, its holes suck up
tiny patches of flesh. The victim may be all right in a few
days or he may be crippled for life. There is a law against
the hippo whip and the palmatoria, and it is sometimes ob-
served. The laggard may suffer nothing more than a
stretch of road-building for the government, and at no
In that case, he might just as well have gone off to the
sugar fields or the coffee plantation, where the pay is
about fifteen cents a day. Of course, he does not get this
pay all at once, whether he is a contradado, or contract
worker, or a uoluntario, signed up on his own with an
employer. He is paid about four cents a day. The rest is
saved until he has fulfilled the contract, usually for a year
or a year and a half. It is then sent to the chefe de posto?
usually a white man or mulatto, who is the government's
straw boss in his home town. If the chefe has sticky fingers,
as so many of them seem to, the worker may wind up with
very little to show for his long stay away from his family.
Portuguese officials argue that this is the only way to
get things done, that the native Angolan is likable but
lazy. They are fond of such sayings as: "An African is like
a woman. The more you beat her, the more she loves you."
And another: "Don't you slap a puppy if he soils the
carpet? Isn't he the better for it?" But their arguments are
not nearly so patronizingly pat when it comes to the other
fields to which Galvao pointed his damning finger health,
education and even the social, of which the Portuguese are
Galvao estimated that sixty per cent of the Angolese
who are born die in infancy. One-third of the labor force
is rejected as physically unable to work. Medical services,
he said, are non-existent or confined to the cities like
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 6/
Luanda, where, in the senzala, the native quarter, 120,000
Angolese live in filth and poverty. In the bush, the witch
doctors are the only available medical practitioners.
The Portuguese, from Salazar on down, are quick to
boast that they have no color consciousness. Certainly
Brazil, long a Portuguese colony, is the world's greatest
example of how people of different racial strains can live
and work together without a color bar. But what happened
in Brazil was not happening in Angola. Society had be-
come highly stratified and, with the recent influx of thou-
sands of new white settlers from mainland Portugal, a
color consciousness was beginning to creep into the social
attitude. No matter how black or how white, it was how
Portuguese a man was which fixed his station in life.
A black native might go to a four-year "rudimentary"
school run by missionaries and learn a little Portuguese
language and history, plus basic personal hygiene. But
he would be taught nothing of his tribal language and
traditions. And if he completed the course, he would be
among the four per cent who do. To get into primary
school, located in one of the larger towns, he would have
to be able to read and write Portuguese and to afford the
fees and living expenses. To move on to secondary school,
he would have to show that he had completed seven years
of education before the age of fourteen.
And always he would be bucking The System. The
schools in each case would accept him only if there was
room after the white students and the assimilados had
been accommodated. Small wonder that fewer than a
thousand Africans are in the primary schools of Angola.
The indigena can get on the social escalator by becom-
ing an assimilado, an assimilated person. This is fixed by
law. All he has to do is prove he is truly Portuguese in
68 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
spirit. He must cut himself off completely from his an-
cestry, speak only Portuguese and live like a Portuguese,
including wearing shoes. Once he has proved all this to
an examining board, he may be allowed to turn in his
caderneta for a Bilete de Identidade. He may now marry
a white Portuguese or a mulatto with social impunity and
fraternize freely in movies, restaurants and bars. But his
living expenses go up, for he no longer is treated as a ward
of the state. And if there is any backsliding into the old
tribal ways, he is severely punished according to Portu-
This, to Salazar, was the best of all possible worlds,
with perhaps a little room for improvement. What hap-
pened in Portugal or any of its "provinces" was Portugal's
business and had been for nearly five hundred years.
As he put it, in a speech to the National Assembly on
November 30, 1960: "We are not disposed to accept the
interfering intervention of others in our internal life and
affairs. . . . Any person of good faith can see for himself
that peace and complete calm reign in our overseas terri-
tories, without the use of force and merely by the habit of
peaceful living in common."
He said forces in the world, Communist and otherwise,
were working in Africa and elsewhere to threaten the
Portuguese way of life. It was then that he pledged: "I
do not see that we can rest in our labors nor can we have
any other care than to hold with one hand our plough
and with the other our sword, as did your ancestors
through many centuries. . . . Great sacrifices will be called
for, as well as the most absolute devotion and, if necessary,
also the blood from our veins. . . . This is our destiny, this
is the mission of our life, which we should not curse but
rather bless for the loftiness and nobility."
THE KINGDOM OF SILENCE 69
But other destinies were casting their shadow across
Angola. After nearly five hundred years, there were among
Angola's 4,500,000 population only about 70,000 assimila-
dos, half of them black, the other half mulatto. Yet, white
immigrants from the mother country, fleeing a grinding
poverty in which the highest-paid skilled worker could
get no more than the equivalent of $2.80 a day, were set-
tling in Angola at the rate of 20,000 a year. As a result, in
the scramble for jobs and status, racial "color blindness"
was being put to a severe test. Illiterate and poverty-
stricken, the newcomer by birth had rights and privileges
denied the African, the assimilado as well as the indigena*
He was genuine Portuguese, not ersatz.
This was the Angola toward which Galvao was headed.
He figured he needed four days of secrecy in which to get
the jump on the Portuguese Navy, which would surely
oppose his move with all its force. The Santa Maria was
due in Port Everglades, Florida, from Curacao in three
days. Nothing would be thought amiss until she failed to
arrive on time. To cover that one-day lag, he radioed
ahead to Shaw Brothers Shipping Company, the Miami
agents for the Santa Maria, that she had been slowed down
by minor engine trouble. She would therefore arrive a day
late, on January 25 instead of January 24, as scheduled.
But about ten o'clock on the morning of January 22,
after his first, sleepless night in command of the Santa
Maria y Galvao was approached by the ship's doctor, Dr.
Theodomiro Borges, with distressing news. The wounded
navigator, Joao Lopes de Souza, would die unless the
bullet he harbored was removed. This required a delicate
operation possible only in hospital surroundings. He had
to be put ashore, or die.
Galvao faced a grave ethical crisis. They would be near
St. Lucia in the morning. Souza could be put ashore there,
but that would give away the Santa Maria's secret. The
whole world would know that she had been seized, and
the Portuguese Navy would intercept him before he could
reach Angola. One man already was dead. Should he ac-
cept responsibility for the death of another? Was the
success of the enterprise worth the life of this young man?
Could he control the crew if he let this man die? Galvao
talked it over with Velo, Sotomayor and some of the
others. He went to his cabin and wrestled with his con-
The situation was a severe blow to Sotomayor. As the
second in command and, in fact, almost the equal in
authority, his advice would weigh heavily with Galvao.
He meditated on the alternatives, too, as he steered the
course for Angola, with Captain Maia helping with the
navigation under the guns of the other pistoleros. Soto-
mayor had suffered much in his fight against the Iberian
dictatorships. He had seen many men die.
At fifty-two, Sotomayor was still tall and darkly hand-
some. But his life, the conspiratorial life of the fugitive
THE ALAKM 71
rebel, had made him aloof and taciturn. It was strange that
a man in whom the fires o hate burned so high could be
so cold. "Franco and Salazar will receive analogous blows,"
he would say and that, to him, said it all.
He had joined Galvao in Caracas after slipping away
from secret-police surveillance in Lisbon, where he had
been living in exile. He could never go home to his native
Galicia or, for that matter, anywhere in Spain until the
Franco regime had been destroyed. He was one of the
generalissimo's most hated and feared foes.
Next in line to Sotomayor came another Spaniard, the
lean and hungry Professor Velo. With his bushy hair,
high forehead, sunken cheeks, expressive eyes, hatchet
nose and assertive Adam's apple, he looked like a brood-
ing figure out of an El Greco painting. Indeed, some of
the American passengers called him "El Greco/' after
Henry A. Bates of Washington, D.C., pinned the name on
him. Like Sotomayor, Velo was a Galician, having been
bom April 26, 1915, at Celenova in Orense.
Velo had fought in the Spanish Republican Army dur-
ing the Civil War. He dropped out of sight during World
War II, but in 1947 the Franco police arrested him. They
charged that his home in Galicia had served as the clan-
destine meeting place of an anti-Franco underground for
three years. He was accused of being a Communist and
put in jail. He was freed, however, and he went to Lis-
bon. In 1950, he made his way to Caracas, where he and
other Spanish revolutionaries soon banded together in old
Alberto Bayo's Union de Combatientes Espanoles. By
1959, he had become "secretary for special affairs" of the
U.C.E., which meant that he was calling signals for the
organization's terrorist campaign inside Spain.
He was a spellbinding orator, and even the Americans
72, THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
who could not understand Spanish were enthralled by his
harangues aboard the Santa Maria. As Galvao's chief
theoretician and organizer, he hardly let an hour go by
that he was not out trying to recruit new rebels among
the crew and Third Class passengers. Mrs. Chubb, the
indefatigable sympatica, would sit on the stairway lead-
ing up from the lounge, hug her knees and revel in the
sound of the Professor's importunate speechesthrilled by
them without understanding a word. David R. Crockett
of Pompano Beach, Florida, liked to discuss Spanish and
Portuguese politics with Velo, although Crockett had little
knowledge of either. He liked to see the sparks fly as "El
Greco" lit into the subject which had engrossed his life
"I am from Spain but Portugal is just as bad," Velo told
Crockett one day, when the American found an inter-
preter. "The people are downtrodden. There is no freedom
there. General Delgado actually won the election in 1958
but they stole it from him. Any who raise their voices in
protest are killed or put in jail and tortured."
Crockett nodded agreement, remembering a Santa
Maria crewman a few days out of Lisbon, before the rebels
came aboard. The crewman had popped a cork into his
mouth and said, "This is Portugal."
"I sympathize with the aims of your revolution," Crock-
ett told Velo.
Velo and Sotomay or these were the two men upon
whom Galvao most depended, the one his strong right
arm and the only man among them who could operate the
ship, and the other his ideologian and persuasive recruiter
for The Cause. Galvao gave great weight to their views in
trying to decide whether to dash for Angola and let young
de Souza die, or send him to a hospital ashore and sur-
THE ALARM 73
render the element of surprise. He had to consider also
the desires of the twenty-one others who had joined him in
"Operation Dulcinea." They had come far and sacrificed
much to be with him. They were:
Victor Jose Velo Perez, seventeen years old, the son of
the Spaniard, Velo. He lived with his parents in Caracas,
where he attended school. A fierce patriot, he was imbued
with his father's hatred for Franco and Salazar. He had
begged to be taken along on the seizure of the Santa
Maria. A cold youngster, it was he who fired the first of
the shots which mortally wounded Third Pilot Joao do
Jose de Cunha Ramos, nineteen and the youngest of
the Portuguese. He worked as a carpenter in Caracas,
where his family had moved from his home town of
Porto in Portugal. He teamed with young Velo and
throughout the trip the two were inseparable.
Francisco Rico Leal, forty-four, Spanish, married and
the father of two children. The Venezuelans to whom he
sold furniture as a salesman at a store in Caracas would
have been shocked at his background. He boasted aboard
the Santa Maria of having killed many "right wing Span-
iards" during the Civil War, and to Franco's Guardia
Civil he was known as "the King of the Assassins/' Rico
was a member of the Anarchist Party in Spain before and
during the Civil War. He is reputed to have led an as-
sault against a Guardia Civil barracks in Alicante, where
he was born, and taken six of the guards prisoner. As the
guards were being led away, the story goes, Rico and his
men opened fire, killing four and wounding two. In 1937,
he was arrested for robbery. He shot one policeman,
wounded another and fled. He turned up fighting in an An-
archist Division and, after the war, left Spain with a price
74 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
on his head. He eventually arrived in Caracas, where he
married a Venezuelan, and settled down to a new life.
But to him, the Spanish Civil War was not yet over.
Fermin Suarez Fernandez, forty-six, Spanish, married.
A native of Gijon, Asturias, he was a mechanic in Vene-
zuela, where he had become a citizen. For him, too, the
Civil War was still alive. He had made a number of trips
back to Spain. During the months prior to his going aboard
the Santa Maria, he had helped plant bombs in San
Sebastian and in the Atocha Railroad Station in Madrid.
Joaquim Manuel da Silva Paiva, thirty-five, Portuguese,
married. A civil engineer, he was a native of Lisbon. It was
Paiva who fired the submachine gun bullets which cut
down the young navigator, Joao de Souza. Toward the
end of the rebel cruise aboard the Santa Maria, Galvao
must have become disenchanted with him. A note ap-
parently in Galvao's hndwriting, found in the cabin which
he had just left, remarked on Paiva as follows: "Absolutely
without morals. Marked deceitful personality, great vivac-
ity, no culture, and perverse intelligence. Disloyal. Dan-
gerous by reason of ability to attract persons. Vanity and
cynicism. Great ease and ability in difficult situations.
Doesn't merit the confidence of anyone. Concerning his
personal bravery I have doubts; he is too great a braggart
to merit confidence in this respect. I judge him susceptible
of committing acts of cowardliness. Patriotism, ideals and
ideas: zero. Venal. Surrounded by moral incapacity. All
of companions, or the majority of them, judge him capable
Rafael Ojeda Henriquez, thirty-one, Venezuelan, single.
A civil engineer in Caracas, the city of his birth. A calm,
pleasant man, to whom the passengers turned naturally.
He was gentle, dignified, well-mannered. He was a close
THE ALARM 75
friend of Velo. Galvao liked him, too, and appointed him
Manuel Perez Rodriguez, twenty-eight, Spanish, a bach-
elor. He had come from Porrino, Pontavedra, where he
was born, to Caracas in search of work. He found it, as an
Camilo Tavares Mortagua, twenty-seven, Portuguese,
married. He was a native of Oliveira de Azemeis-Ul. In
Caracas, he was a radio announcer.
Luiz Manoel Mota de Oliveira, thirty-three, Portuguese,
a bachelor. A native of Espinho-Anta, he had lived in
Barcelona, Spain, before going to Caracas, where he
worked as a carpenter.
Graciano Maquis Esparrinha, twenty-four, Portuguese,
married. He went to Caracas from his native Oliveira de
Emanuel Jorge Pestana de Barros, twenty-three, Portu-
guese, single. He made his home in Caracas but he was
born in Funchal-S. Pedro.
Filipe Viegas Aleixo, forty-six, Portuguese, married. He
was born in Almancil. He worked in Caracas as a chauf-
Basilio Losada Losada, twenty-nine, Spanish, single.
Born in Lugo-Escairan, he was a furniture-finisher in
Alfredo Illanez Ferro, thirty-one, Spanish, a bachelor.
He was a mechanic in Caracas.
Jose Frias de Oliveira, thirty-seven, Portuguese, mar-
ried. He was a native of Albergaria-a-Velha. In Caracas,
he worked as a salesman.
Julio Ferreira de Andrade, thirty-four, Portuguese, mar-
ried. Born in Anadia-Arcos, he lived in Barcelona before
going to Caracas. By trade he was a locksmith.
76 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Jose Perez Martinez, forty-seven, Venezuelan, married.
A civil engineer, lie made his home in Caracas.
Manuel Mazo Bravo, thirty, Spanish, single. He was an
electrician in Caracas.
Luis (Federico) Fernandez Ackerman, twenty-one,
Spanish, a bachelor. His father, Jose Fernandez Vasquez,
was a Spanish diplomat assigned to the Spanish Embassy
in Paris. As a boy, he shocked his parents and friends with
his extremist views. He talked often about joining a ter-
rorist group to assassinate Franco. In Caracas, he worked
in an office.
Augustin Romara Rojo, forty, Spanish, married. An
anesthetist, he had left Madrid some time earlier and gone
secretly to Moscow. He turned up in Caracas two or three
months before "Operation Dulcinea" was launched.
Antonio de Almeida Frutuoso, twenty-six, Portuguese,
a bachelor. A native of Espinho-Anta, he had lived in
Barcelona, Spain, before going to Caracas, where he
worked as a carpenter.
These were the twenty-four meneleven Portuguese,
eleven Spaniards, two Venezuelans who took the Santa
Maria with two submachine guns, four rifles, eight pistols
and four hand grenades. None was an avowed, card-car-
rying Communist, although there were some incriminating
associations. And they all, in one way or another, were
disciples of that doughty old guerrilla expert, "General"
Alberto Bayo Girod.
Nobody seems sure about how Bayo came by his title.
Some say the Spanish Republican Army gave it to him.
Others say he gave it to himself. But there is no doubt
that he knows a lot about guerrilla fighting. In fact, he
wrote a pamphlet about it, drawn from experiences in
THE ALABM 77
Spain, and this little booHet had great effect on the
Alberto Bayo was born in Cuba, in Camaguey Province,
on March 27, 1892. He first went to Spain as a youth, to
enroll in the Infantry Academy at Toledo. He saw his first
combat in the 1916-1917 Moroccan Campaign and, smit-
ten by the new aerial warfare, returned to Spain to enter
the Four Winds Academy. He was almost thrown out
in 1922, after he beat to death a Spanish nobleman, Don
Joaquim Gonzalez Gullarza, in a fist fight. But the acad-
emy relented and he was graduated with the title of
"Pilot in Military Skills"
When the Civil War came, Bayo fought on the Repub-
lican side. He led the Republican attack on Majorca which
failed miserably. For a time he served as aide-de-camp
to the Republican minister of war, with the rank of colonel.
He spent the last days of the war in England, trying to
buy airplanes, and in Paris, recuperating from injuries.
At war's end in 1939 he went back to his native Cuba
and started calling himself "General" Bayo. He studied
and taught mathematics in Havana until 1942, when he
shifted to Mexico City to teach aerodynamics and aerial
navigation at the Mexican Army's Aviation School.
It was in 1957 that Bayo, his military life put aside and
his attention turned to running a Mexico City book store,
was first approached by Castro with an appeal to help
him learn guerrilla warfare.
Bayo had written a pamphlet, 150 Questions for a
Guerrilla, drawn from experiences in Spain. It caught
the eye of Fidel Castro, who also was in Mexico City then.
Bayo agreed to set up a school of instruction, with Fidel
and Raul Castro, "Che" Guevara and Camillo Cienfueges
as his first students. They quietly organized a guerrilla
78 THE FLOATING BEVOLUTION
training camp at La Rosa Ranch in Charco, a few miles
from Mexico City. A number of Cuban exiles went through
this school, but Bayo always afterward referred to the
Castros, Guevara and Cienfueges as his "star pupils."
When they had triumphed over the Batista regime in
Cuba, Fidel Castro brought old Bayo to Havana as his
chief of guerrilla tactics.
Soon, age began to catch up with Bayo. To some, he
had become a tiresome old man, quick to reminisce and
quicker to embroider each tale with the retelling. But he
kept his hand in. He wrote two more pamphlets, Tempest
in the Caribbean and My Part in the Cuban Revolution,,
and he popped up all over the area, holding secret meet-
ings with Latin dissidents from the Old and the New
World. He organized the Union de Combatientes Espa-
noles, which sought to bring all anti-Franco exiles under
central authority, and he was on hand in Caracas in Oc-
tober, 1959, when he and other Spanish and Portuguese,
including Galvao and Delgado, joined forces in the crea-
tion of the Diretorio Revolucionario Iberico de Libertacao.
Bayo's connection to Castro suggests that the Cuban
leader had an interest in the Santa Maria. Trie was prob-
ably kept informed as the plotting progressed.
One strange event might indicate as much, and more.
Two Cuban revolutionary leaders, Major Elroy Gutierrez
Menoyo and Major Armando Fleitas, were picked up in a
small boat with about fifteen other Cubans off Key West,
Florida, late in January, 1961. They were thought to be
defectors and were taken to the United States Immigra-
tion and Naturalization Service camp in Texas. There they
told a weird tale. They claimed they had set out from
Cuba and were hanging around waiting for the Santa
Maria, in order to board her as rebel reinforcements.
THE ALARM 79
Whether or not a rendezvous had been planned, and
missed by design or poor coordination, they were far
from the Santa Maria's redirected course.
The Santa Maria-Liberdade was steaming at more than
twenty knots away from Miami's $35>a-day hotels and
toward Angola, where most men count themselves incred-
ibly lucky to hold that much money in their hands once
in a lifetime.
As Galvao balanced de Souza's life against his venture's
precious secrecy, black men and brown men and even
white men in Angola schemed for freedom and waited for
some signal to rise up against nearly five centuries of re-
Just outside Angola's boundaries, the revolutionaries
watched and waited. Uniao das Populacoes de Angola,
a moderate organization, made its headquarters in Leo-
poldville in the Congo. FRAIN, a radical group dominated
by Communists, was set up in Conakry, the capital of
Guinea. They aimed their propaganda broadcasts at the
Angolans and sent their agents into northern Angola.
They waited for some signal, some word or deed that
would touch off the bloodletting.
Aboard the Santa Maria., Galvao reached his decision.
The life of the young navigator had to be saved.
Dawn was breaking and a light rain was falling when
the Santa Maria raised St. Lucia on Monday, January 23.
She steamed to within two miles of the docks at Castries.
Lifeboat No. 3, the second one on the starboard side, was
reeled into the placid water. In it were an engineer, a
coxswain, two deckhands, a crewman suffering with yellow
jaundice, the wounded de Souza and the hospital at-
tendant, Carlos de Carvalho.
As the big launch sputtered to life and headed for
8O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
shore, Carlos turned from his patient and looked up at
the ship. Captain Galvao and Captain Maia stood on the
outcropping of the flying bridge. Around them were a
number of armed rebels. Lining the rails from bow to
stern were what seemed to be every last one of the ship's
passengers. The men looked grim, and some of the
women and children were softly crying. They were silent,
all eyes on the launch.
But not all of the passengers were topside that misty
morning. Arthur Douglas Patton and his wife Myrtle had
been on deck earlier, about half past six. They saw a
coastline but could not tell what it was. A radio was play-
ing and the announcer was speaking French, so they fig-
ured they were near Martinique, and the land they saw
was either Martinique or St. Lucia. A large aircraft flew
"Look!" Patton cried. "It dipped its wings! Maybe it
The Santa Maria made a sharp turn, almost a hairpin,
and seemed to be heading back in the direction from
which it had come. The Pattons returned to their cabin,
as mystified as ever, torn between the hope inspired by
the aircraft and the depressing signs of the land receding
in the distance.
In their cabin later the Pattons were startled at the
sound of an engine. They went to the porthole and looked
out. They saw the lifeboat pulling away from the idling
ship. They went back on deck, where fellow captives
swapped dozens of versions of what was going on.
In her cabin, Mrs. Chubb was just starting to stir. She
had been up until nearly four o'clock in the morning, writ-
ing in her journal. She still could not believe she was
actually living through the strange adventure that seemed
THE ALARM 8l
so much like a dream. But she was beginning to get a
little worried. She wrote:
January 23, 19613 A.M. It just simply isn't true
and can't be true. In my wildest dreams of something
dreadful or something wonderful that could happen
to me, this I never dreamed of to be held a prisoner
of pirates (actually revolutionaries) in mid- Atlantic
on a large ocean liner in this day and age.
Tomorrow I shall awake. But here I am and it be-
gins to look serious. Small things I do not write about
huddled groups; grim stolid faces; gay fretfulness;
watchfulness. The crew remains kind, helpful but un-
communicative and we do not try to break that down,
thinking of their interests. The menu slashed by %
leaves plenty of food; the new promptness demanded
is not difficult. The flag flown from our ship is gone.
It may be to make it less recognizable.
Rumor says we go to Belem or Cape Verde Islands.
We shall, because we have no choice, wait and see. A
Portuguese man let me listen to Voice of America.
We were not mentioned. . . .
The sea is beautiful and calm and wholly un-
troubled. Most of us are showing, we think, proper
poise and control, a few fussers
On the flying bridge, Galvao's face was a serene mask
of resignation. He felt the wind quicken as the Santa
Maria picked up speed and his hopes for a secret dash
to Angola went bobbing away behind him with the seven
men in the lifeboat.
The alarm, he knew, would be spread around the world.
THE CHASE BEGINS
The Santa Maria broke free of St. Lucia and the other
Windward Islands, strung like a gate across the eastern
end of the Caribbean. As she knifed east-southeast through
the lower North Atlantic, still bound for Angola on the
African west coast, Galvao took stock of the situation.
There was enough food and water to last almost a
month, if properly conserved. He already had ordered ra-
tioning. Food was being served on a no-menu, take-it-or-
leave-it basis, and water for bathing and laundry was
available only three times a day, in the morning, midday
and evening, and for two hours each time. His fuel, about
1,600 tons of oil and normally good for about five thousand
miles, was burning up at an alarming rate as Sotomayor
pressed ahead at more than twenty knots. But how beau-
tifully she sailed! It was only the beginning of his second
day in command of this 610 feet of Portugal, but already
he loved her.
It was crucial that the world understand why he had
seized the Santa Maria. Soon the chase would begin. If
the world adjudged them pirates, they would be shown
no mercy and The Cause would be lost. As insurrectionists,
they would at least be heard and The Cause would
THE CHASE BEGINS 83
flourish, no matter what happened to them as individuals.
This was what he and Professor Velo and the others who
spoke to the passengers and crew were trying to get
across. This was the message he hoped would rally the
passengers and crew to his side, or at least deter them
from active opposition, for he wanted no more bloodshed
aboard this ship, his ship.
Galvao was worried about the progress of the indoc-
trination. The first thing he did after seizing the Santa
Maria was to make the rounds of the crew's quarters
and talk to the seamen.
As he looked at their strong bodies and smooth-browed
Portuguese faces, a note of entreaty came into his voice.
He was a leader with very few followers, and he could
be forgiven if he felt an urgency about recruiting more
men for his assault on Salazar. The series of meetings with
the crewmen started about seven o'clock that first Sunday
morning. Galvao followed up with an address to the pas-
sengers over the ship's loudspeaker.
The impassioned speeches won over few new recruits.
But they had one noticeable effect on the passengers and
crew. They seemed to ease the shock. The crew was still
melancholy but deferential and cooperative. The passen-
gers were no longer in a near-panic. Some, in fact, were
beginning to smile faint greetings at the pistoleros, and
one or two had even struck up conversations. Galvao
wondered how he could improve relations.
There were a lot of passengers to be concerned about,
for only twenty-four men and fourteen guns. Neverthe-
less, the ship was far from crowded, especially in First
Class and Cabin Class, and Galvao gave orders for his
men to move into the empty rooms. They chose the First
Class Cabins, for human as well as tactical reasons. They
84 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
were the most comfortable and spacious. Besides, being
high and forward, they were closer to the boat deck and
the bridge, from which the small band of armed men con-
troEed the whole vessel. Altogether, there were 612 pas-
sengers 239 Spaniards, 189 Portuguese, 87 Venezuelans,
44 Dutch, 42 Americans, 7 Cubans, 2 Brazilians, i Italian
and i Panamanian.
The 44 Dutch and the 42 Americans comprised the
bulk of the 165 First Class and Cabin Class passengers.
The 447 others were in the crammed Tourist Class quarters
on the lower three decks aft. These were the least desirable
areas of the ship and, with the air conditioning out, they
were pestholes of muggy heat and trapped stale air. But
the Spaniards, Portuguese and other Latins in Third Class
did not complain at first. Of peasant stock, weighed down
for generations by poverty and lack of status, they were
used to adversity. With typical stoicism, they were ready to
sweat patiently while the masters of their fate played out
the string. Soon, they hoped and prayed, it would be all
over. They would be back home, after working in the
dollar-rich New World, and they could resume the old
way or, with the savings they had accumulated, live a
notch above the old way. Such was the mental attitude at
first of the people "in steerage.'*
The Americans saw immediately that few, if any, of
their prerogatives were likely to suffer. Galvao had in-
dicated as much at the outset. The steel barriers in the
passageways, separating First, Cabin and Tourist Classes,
were kept locked. And Galvao even left the first two
classes their deck chairs, for which they had paid two dol-
lars rental at the start of the trip. The Americans were
confident that their government would not let them down.
The world's most powerful navy would soon be on their
THE CHASE BEGINS 85
trail and somehow they would be rescued. As the Ameri-
cans talked, in little groups which then passed the word
around, they decided that it was all really out of their
hands and there was nothing much they could do except
to maintain a dignified calm until others dissuaded Galvao
from his mad scheme and they could be put safely ashore.
Thanks to her many years as a social worker, Mrs.
Chubb had a towering interest in people. Unlike some
of the passengers, she looked kindly upon "the pirates."
She felt no animosity toward them, although she could
not condone their violence. She had spent some time
in Portugal and she knew what its police-state repression
was like. The rebels' goal was certainly laudable.
Relaxing in her deck chair in the open air that first
Sunday night, Mrs. Chubb had discussed things with
those in nearby chairs. She was as confused as anyone else
about what would happen next. But she was sure of one
thing. She knew it would be many days before they would
be allowed to leave the ship.
Mrs. Chubb went to her cabin and, with a touch
of sadness, broke the cellophane off a set of bridge
cards. They would come in handy, to while away the
long hours ahead. She was sad because they were particu-
larly beautiful cards, and she had bought them as souve-
nirs for her grandchildren. There were full-color pictures
on the backs depicting Portuguese and Spanish explorers
and settlers in North and South America.
When Henry Bates saw them, he was inspired. Mrs.
Chubb's gesture seemed ceremonial, like cutting the rib-
bon on a new bridge or highway. It marked the beginning
of a great adventure in their lives. He could do no less
than respond as generously. He went below and came
back with one of his precious bottles of Cointreau. Laugh-
86 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
ing, they all had an after-dinner drink Mrs. Chubb, Bates
and his wife, and Mrs. Caroline Boyce and played the
first of what were to be many hands of bridge with Mrs.
Chubb's donated cards.
John W. Dawson, born in the bush country of Australia
sixty years before but living in the United States since
192,3, was of another mind on how to meet the situation.
Dawson and his sixty-two-year-old wife Hedwig had
run a bookstore in Palo Alto, California, and they made
money. But thirteen years before they boarded the Santa
Maria at Lisbon, they sold the bookstore and began to
travel the world.
Dawson was a prolific reader, and as he often said, "I
don't read junk." His tastes ran to meaty, non-fiction works
from which he could glean useful information and atti-
tudes which were grist for his philosophy, which was
rugged individualism-conservatism. He directed his read-
ing toward his travels, so that as he trotted the globe his
knowledge of it increased through books as well as per-
sonal observation. Gerald Brenan, an authority on Spain
and Portugal, was a favorite while the Dawsons were con-
templating the Iberian Peninsula. They studied his Face
of Spain. They also brought along Aldous Huxley's Col-
lected Essays and E. M. Forster's Passage to India and
what could be more appropriate? Max Nomad's Aspects
Dawson thought Salazar's economic plan was sound,
all things considered. And his favorable inclination toward
Salazar, although not generally shared among his fellow
passengers in Cabin Class, was reinforced by his detesta-
tion for the Galvao rebels. He had no use for men who,
in flagrant immorality, as he saw it, seized a ship at sea
and shot down members of the crew.
(Left) Captain Mario Simoes Maia, skipper of the Santa Maria, who gave
over his ship to Captain Henrique Galvao under force of arms to protect
passengers and crew. (Right) Captain Henrique Galvao, rebel-poBtician-
playwright extraordinary, who seized the Santa Maria at gunpoint on
January 22, 1961, as Phase One of his anti-Salazar campaign, Operation
(Below) The luxury liner Santa Maria, pride of Portugal, is renamed Santa
Liberdade by rebel Captain Galvao, in honor of his mission.
WIDE WORLD PHOTO
The rebel-held Santa Maria, once
found, receives a U.S. Navy patrol
plane escort as it heads toward the
Brazilian coast. It was this escort
that gave hope to the passengers
that they would be rescued.
At a rendezvous point some fifty-five
miles from Recife, Admiral Allen
Smith enters launch from the U.S. S.
Gearing on January 31 to discuss
safe removal of the passengers.
fr^, ' i? ". - , j.,^ .*-. ;,*j
T. - *-;
, * ' * " * ,,^*** 4, j., .., _ ^^
The U.S.S. Gearing stands by as the admiral boards the Santa Maria to
consult with Captain Galvao.
Admiral Smith and Lieutenant Commander Reaney try to reassure the
passengers of the Santa Maria.
An emotional moment: co-conspirators Captain Henrique Galvao and
General Humberto Delgado embrace as the general boards the Santa
Maria-Liberdade at Recife.
A proud moment. General Delgado, who opposed the Salazar regime in
the 1958 election, considered by the rebels the true leader of Portugal,
receives a salute from his followers.
(Top right) A pensive moment; as
General Delgado ponders, perhaps,
how Operation Dulcinea will end,
how it will affect the Salazar regime.
(Below right) French photographer-
parachutist Charles Bonnay makes
his first attempt to drop in on the
Santa Maria and misses. Picked up
by the U.S.S. Gearing, he kept try-
ing and eventually boarded the ship
before passengers left one of the
few newsmen to succeed.
(Below left) Life photographer Joe
Sojerschet hangs from a ladder while
trying to board the Santa Maria in
Recife harbor on February 1. Not
so lucky as Charles Bonnay, he was
ominously warned off by a rebel
guard, had to retreat to a waiting
Iff The twelve-day ordeal is over. Wait-
_*^ ing hands reach out to lift a baby
rt r om the landing stage to the tug
that will carry him to shore.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bates of Wash-
ington, D.C., wait with their lug-
gage on the Recife dock for arrange-
ments that will get them home.
WIDE WORLD PHOT
(Top right) Delbert Carl Smith of
Johnstown, Pa., looks thankful and
weary as he holds his daughter Deb-
orah in his arms after leaving the
Santa Maria at last.
(Below) Mrs. Floyd Preston and her
sons Harold and Stephen peer joy-
fully through the portholes as they
Brazilian Admiral Dias Fernandas
reads a document putting the Santa
Maria in the hands of Brazil on
February 3. Captain Galvao stands
at attention during the dramatic
shipboard ceremony. In the docu-
ment, Galvao was promised political
asylum for himself and his rebels.
Captain Galvao signs the document
handing over the Santa Maria. Later,
he was incensed because Brazil re-
turned the liner to Portuguese gov-
Colonial de Navegacao. The adven-
ture is over; the Santa Maria is no
THE CHASE BEGINS 87
He knew a lot about books and he had a mind that was
quick to grasp and sift details and then form opinions,
firmly. Why not, he thought, write a book himself about
the Santa Maria incident? He kept on the lookout, observ-
ing and recording, and he asserted himself as one of the
leaders among the forty-two American passengers. He was
thus able to talk personally to Galvao on two occasions,
and each time he did not bite his tongue.
Dawson, in his blunt way, was contemptuous of the
bridge players and other dawdlers among his fellow pas-
sengers. He occasionally stomped around in fits of anger
at Galvao, the American passengers, the rambunctious
children, President John F. Kennedy and the United
States Navy. On such occasions, a mild cuss word would
slip out. He would "damn" the Santa Maria and the con-
fusion, and sometimes he would say, "Nobody knows what
the hell's going on in this damn boat. They all stay in
their cabins and play cards. I'm going down to Third
Class. That's where the fighting's going to be, and that's
where I'm going to be when it starts."
Mrs. Caroline Boyce, widowed mother of four, grand-
mother of ten, knew something about the Portuguese, too.
When she boarded the Santa Maria at Lisbon on January
9, 1961, she had just spent three months in Madeira and
five weeks in Portugal.
It was her first visit to Portugal and her principal reac-
tion was, "The Portuguese are desperately poor people."
She wondered about a regime which permitted its people
to live in near-starvation. She was impressed, therefore,
with the perorations of Galvao and his rebel chieftains
aboard the Santa Maria. And, like Mrs. Chubb, she felt
tolerant toward them, not at all harshly, like Dawson.
The forty-four Dutch passengers, mainly vacationing
88 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
tourists, lacked the security o any of the others. Galvao
ignored their existence, not bothering to have anything
translated for them. Portuguese, Spanish and English
were the languages aboard the runaway ship. The Dutch
spent much of their time running around trying to piece
together what was being said and done from among
those in their number who understood any of the three
languages. Those Dutch who lived in Curacao, and had
boarded there for the trip to Europe, were generally fluent
Paul Venetian of Noordwejk, the Netherlands, was not
one of the confused Dutch. With three others, he plotted
a sudden counterattack which he hoped would overthrow
the rebels. Huddling at the rail, leaning against a bulk-
head with studied nonchalance, innocently promenading
the deck, they plotted furiously as the second day of
captivity waned, trying to reach a decision on when and
how to act. This was despite the fact that their inability
to speak either Spanish or Portuguese made it hard for
them to keep up with much of what was going on.
For another Netherlander, William van der Meer, the
situation was no trouble at all. He was seized in a different
kind of captivity. Laura Mendes, a lovely brunette pas-
senger from Spain, had captured his heart and he had no
thoughts left for piracy or politics. He was in love with her,
and she with him, and they vowed to be married as soon
as they got off the ship.
Mrs. Delbert Smith had a special problem. First of all,
she was terrified of Galvao, his men and their guns. She
was afraid for herself, her husband and their seven-year-
old Deborah. They had decided to go for their usual
morning swim that first day. But when she saw men lurk-
ing around the pool with guns, she called it off. Worst of
THE CHASE BEGINS 89
all, Debbie seemed to have come down with something.
She was feverish and bleary-eyed, listless and cross. For-
tunately., the Smiths' call for a doctor was promptly
heeded. The diagnosis was unhesitating: measles. That
meant confinement to the cabin for all three. Jane re-
sented it at first as a piece of tough luck. But gradually
she came to look on it as a blessing in disguise. It kept
ber away from the gunmen and it gave her a chance to
prepare Debbie for the extraordinary situation in which
:hey were all caught. She swabbed Debbie's wispy blond
hair off her feverish forehead and helped her count the
measles as they popped out all over.
About noon on Monday, the second day of captivity,
Mrs. Chubb went to her cabin to tidy up for lunch. She
tvas surprised to find in her bureau drawer a handsome
md obviously expensive radio set. She heard her cabin
loor open and she turned quickly. There was a ship's
naid, one she had not seen before. The woman's eyes
vere as big and round as only frightened Portuguese eyes
^an get, and she held an index finger to her pursed lips in
i gesture of silence. Without a word, the maid gently em-
braced Mrs. Chubb, motioned to her to cover the radio
vith a scarf and to close the bureau drawer. Mrs. Chubb,
ler heart thumping, followed directions and went to lunch.
On the dining room stairs, a ship's officer took both of
ier hands in his and whispered, "God bless you." At her
:able, the waiter came up solemnly, shook her hand and
;aid, "Thank you." Mrs. Chubb, baffled by it all, hurried
hrough lunch and hastened back to her cabin. She was
n the dark but she was game. It was like something out of
i good British spy thriller and at seventy (really seventy-
me in a few days ) one does not deal lightly with adven-
ures. Throwing herself into the spirit of whatever the
9O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
conspiracy was all about, Mrs. Chubb unzipped the big
suitcase she kept flat on the deck, put the radio inside,
covered it with clothing, zipped the suitcase shut and laid
on top of it a folded kimono and a batch of unanswered
letters. She rang for the maid and, with sign language,
showed her the new hiding place. She resolved to keep
feeling for it once or twice a day, to make sure it was still
there and not ferreted out by rebel searchers.
Mrs. Floyd Preston's big problem was laundry. After
mothering four lively boys and living two years in Caracas,
where riots and even assassinations are not uncommon,
she had built up a certain equanimity. She and her hus-
band were taking the violence in stride. But laundry was
not so easily ignored. The maid assigned to her in First
Class Cabin No. 15, Maria Sousa, had carted off a huge
load of laundry on Saturday, just after the departure from
Curacao. Mrs. Preston had not had time to do it in the
hubbub of packing all her belongings, selling or giving
away unwanted furniture, saying farewells to friends and
herding her brood to the docks at La Guaira. She had
looked forward to having all the clothes and diapers
nicely done up by the ship's laundry in time for disem-
barkation at Port Everglades on Tuesday. But Maria had
brought them back on Saturday and, with tears in her
eyes, explained that the laundry was closed because of
"However, I have washed the clothes with my hands,"
Maria said. "I am sorry, but all of them are not yet dry."
June Preston expressed her great thanks and, with
Maria's help, festooned the bathroom with the limp, wet
diapers, shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, blouses, skirts
and dresses. And that was the way it would be for the rest
of the trip for her. She managed a pretty good schedule r
THE CHASE BEGINS QI
although taking advantage of the midday water meant
skipping lunch now and again. She figured out an ex-
tremely effective, if unorthodox, method of rinsing. She
used the bidet. Its fountain of fresh water was more prac-
tical than sloshing the clothes in the wash basin or tub.
June and the two younger boys with her in Cabin No.
15, Donald and Steven, awakened early on Monday, Janu-
ary 23, and popped their heads out of the portholes. In
Cabin No. 17, next door but not connecting, Floyd Preston
and the two older boys, Carl Bruce, and Harold, were also
awake. The ship had stopped and either that or the heat,
intense when the ship was not moving, even with the
electric fans, had disturbed their sleep. Outside they saw
the lifeboat being lowered with the wounded navigator
and the others in it. Floyd and the big boys went on deck
to see what it was all about. They soon came back with
word that Galvao was sending some sick men to a hospital
All that day, the Prestons tried like the other passen-
gers to find out what would happen to them. There was a
great guessing game among the passengers as to where
the Santa Maria was headed. Some said northeast, others
said southeast, but all agreed it was east and toward the
open mid-Atlantic. They listened to portable radios but as
night fell they still had heard no mention of themselves
on the news.
The older Preston boys amused themselves by playing
chess with some of the Spanish children in Cabin Class.
They climbed over the steel barriers in a passageway to
go there. The younger Prestons pulled wooden toys around
on strings or went for endless rides on the slide in the
First Class playroom. Floyd turned in early that night,
but June went on deck. She intended to go to the movie
Q2 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
but instead fell into giiessing-game conversations with her
fellow passengers, especially Howard R. Weisberger of
Las Vegas, Nevada, who had a battery-operated radio and
a good chart of the Atlantic sea lanes. The evening ended
on a grisly note for June. She had to sit politely through a
long dissertation by the Portuguese Immigration Service
doctor as he explained how he had embalmed the body of
the slain officer and put it in one of the ship's large storage
On the bridge, Galvao was mystified. He had put the
lifeboat ashore at St. Lucia about eight o'clock in the
morning. Yet, by midnight, he had not received a single
message. Surely, the arrival of the men from the Santa
Maria would sound the alarm. Where were the messages?
Was his secret, by some miracle, still preserved?
Not quite. The men in the lifeboat had indeed gone
ashore at Castries shouting about pirates and murder on
the high seas. The startled fishermen and workers on the
quays in the sleepy, tropical port had thought them mad-
men at first. But gradually, the truth dawned. Word was
rushed to the authorities.
Commodore Clinton Shand of the British Royal Navy,
the Senior Naval Officer in the West Indies, was contem-
plating the start of another routine week when the in-
credible news reached him. Pirates? In the twentieth
century? Certainly, one knew about Bartholomew Rob-
erts, Sir Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd and John "Long
Ben" Avery, and even of the lady pirates Anne Bonney
and Mary Read. They had roamed these waters, murder-
ing and pillaging until they came to the end that all pi-
rates come to well, almost all. But that was long ago.
Piracy had not been a real menace to shipping in Ameri-
can waters since the public hanging of Captain Gibert and
THE CHASE BEGINS 93
four others from the pirate ship Panda at Salem, Massa-
chusetts, in 1835. But all this notwithstanding, Commo-
dore Shand reacted without hesitation. He ordered the
British frigate H.M.S. Rothesay to get underway immedi-
ately. With one of the men from the lifeboat along as a
guide, he set out in the Rothesay in hot pursuit of the
But the authorities had delayed too long, The British
commodore, for all his determination, was badly outdis-
tanced. The Santa Maria had a start of more than two
hours and a half on the Rothesay and was clipping along
at more than twenty knots on an unknown course. Be-
sides, the Rothesay was low on fuel. Commodore Shand
searched out as far as he dared and then sailed, frustrated
and still a little stunned, back to St. Lucia.
The mills of bureaucracy ( even a military bureaucracy) ,
grind slowly. Commodore Shand messaged promptly to
Barbados Radio and his message was relayed without
delay. But it was not until two o'clock in the afternoon
that Rear Admiral Allen E. Smith, Jr., United States Navy,
Commander of the Caribbean Sea Frontier, heard about
the hijacked liner at his headquarters at San Juan, Puerto
Rico. The admiral ordered an immediate air search. By
half-past four that hot Monday afternoon, January 23,
the first PaV Neptune reconnaissance plane had taken
off from San Juan in quest of the needle in the haystack.
An hour later, the second one was in the air. Soon, a
third was sent up.
The chase was on.
WHERE IS IT?
Commodore Shand's "TTT'-code for "Urgent" had
skipped out via Barbados Radio to London, Washington
and Lisbon. Understandably, Lisbon was the first to react.
In Lisbon, American Ambassador C. Burke Elbrick re-
ceived an urgent summons late Monday, January 23, to
the Foreign Ministry. There, excited officials told him
of what had happened. Pirates had boarded the Portu-
guese liner Santa Maria and the United States, as an ally
in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, should do
something about it, Elbrick, completely in the dark but
an experienced foreign service officer, expertly covered
up. Talking with great self-assurance but saying nothing
which might commit him or his country, he beat a grace-
ful retreat and made straight for the telephone.
"The Portuguese Government has just handed me a
formal request for American assistance in rescuing one of
their ships from pirates," Elbrick reported to the State
Department. "What in the world is this all about?"
Hastily, State Department specialists in Portuguese af-
fairs filled him in. It was true, they said. The United
States Navy had a report from the British frigate H.M.S.
WHERE IS IT? 95
Rothesay that pirates had boarded the Santa Maria. The
Rothesay had tried pursuit but gave it up for lack of fuel
and clear knowledge of where the ship had gone. Another
British frigate in the area, H.M.S. Ulster, was joining the
hunt. Dutch aircraft were up also and Spain had promised
some warships. The American Navy had aircraft aloft
and had assigned two nearby destroyers, U.S.S. Damato
and U.S.S. Wilson, to scout the scene. Clear orders were
being dispatched to the Caribbean Sea Frontier by Robert
L. Dennison, Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet,
from his headquarters at Norfolk, Virginia. It looked like
piracy, believe it or not, and Elbrick was to notify the
Portuguese of the United States' intentions to cooperate
At twenty-three minutes past eleven on the evening
of January 23, Admiral Dennison, acting on the informa-
tion available to him, radioed Rear Admiral Smith at
San Juan, Puerto Rico, to follow this procedure:
1. Identify and determine destination.
2. Intercept and search if required to ascertain if
reported piracy is true.
3. If act of piracy occurred bring ship into nearest
U.S. port (presumably San Juan). Follow applicable
provisions of international law in accomplishing
above. Use force as necessary, bearing in mind safety
of passengers and crew.
These were clear orders, the kind all military men love
to receive but seldom do.
Far to the north, on snowbound and windswept Cape
Cod, Francis Doane reported as usual for his midnight-to-
eight "lobster shift" at the Radio Corporation of America
wireless station at Chatham, Massachusetts. It promised
to be a fairly busy night for Doane and the other operator
96 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
on duty. Chatham Radio, with its fifty kilowatts on a
frequency of five hundred kilocycles, was one of the
world's most powerful. Since its inauguration in 1914., it
had been one of the busiest marine stations on the Atlantic
coast, handling messages from North America to ships at
sea all over the world.
Doane had four routine messages for the Santa Maria,
and he was having trouble raising her. Over and over he
tapped out the Morse code contact signal on five hundred
"CSAL DE WCC," the coded message clicked out.
"Calling the Santa Maria from Chatham Radio."
At eighteen minutes past midnight, the Santa Maria
sputtered a response. It came in the nonchalant "hand" of
an experienced Morse operator, a dying breed in this
day of voice-radio communication. Doane sent his four
messages and the ship signed off, without giving Doane
a hint of anything unusual aboard.
At half past two in the morning on January 24, Doane
had a fifth message for the Santa Maria, this one from
Lisbon. He raised the ship, sent the message and stood
by for a sign-off. Instead, the Santa Maria's operator came
through with a message of his own. It was in Portuguese,
which neither Doane nor his colleague comprehended.
But they figured out that it was addressed to The Press,
so they sent it to the R.C.A. network, the National Broad-
casting Company in New York. Translated there, it let
the cat out of the bag:
To all newspapers: All normal aboard. We will in-
form the world in due time. Due to weather we will
make a telephone broadcast on 2037 kilocycles.
(Signed) Captain Henrique Galvao.
WHEKE IS IT? 97
Galvao had decided not to wait. To achieve his goal of
exposing the abuses o the Salazar regime, he needed
maximum publicity. He had expected a deluge of Press
inquiries once the word spread from St. Lucia. But not
a single question had been sent all day. Now he was
fishing for them, by a teaser message that was bound to
N.B.C., thanks to having Chatham Radio in its R.C.A.
family, had a running head start on its news competitors.
It rushed back a message to the ship requesting more in-
formation, thereby establishing the first contact with Gal-
vao's floating revolution. N.B.C. then released Galvao's
first message to "all newspapers/' to whom it had been
addressed, and began lining up reporters and television
cameramen and sound technicians for the race to be the
first to board "the pirate ship" and interview the par-
ticipants in the fantastic drama.
At half past seven Francis Doane pricked up his ears
at Chatham Radio. Galvao was transmitting a reply to the
N.B.C. query for information. Striking a blow at the
piracy theme, the message said:
First official communique to all democratic news-
papers of the free world from the command of the
forces occupying the S.S. Santa Maria in the name
of the National Independent Junta of Liberation led
by General Humberto Delgado, legally elected presi-
dent of the Portuguese Republic, who has been fraud-
ulently deprived of his rights by the Salazar Adminis-
After a brief combat at about 1:45 A.M. I captured
and occupied the S.S. Santa Maria with the forces
under my command, the first free group from the
98 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
national territory. The crew accepted the act as a
political one in accordance with international mari-
time law, and the majority of the passengers welcome
the action enthusiastically. There is complete calm
and safety on board, services are being furnished as
normally as on an ordinary voyage. Best relations with
the occupying forces. I give you this on my word of
honor. Passengers and crew request their families be
informed that they are well, and I add that they are
well and free.
We can not reveal our destination without open
hostilities against the tyrannical government of Sala-
zar. We shall try to reach it. Political objectives purely
democratic, therefore purely anti-totalitarian, against
all forms of tyrannical governments (and) peoples.
We ask not only the support of all truly free gov-
ernments and peoples but also political recognition
of this party liberated from the national territory, led
by General Delgado, whom the Portuguese people
elected chief in a legal election.
In executing our action, we did not have the slight-
est political or material aid from any foreign govern-
ment, only the sacrifice and patriotic devotion of the
occupying forces under my command and the base
personnel. None of us and none of those who came
over to our side of their own free will is willing to
We shall put the passengers ashore in complete
safety and as quickly as possible at the first neutral
port that assures non-internment of the ship.
We salute the Portuguese people and other op-
pressed people of the Peninsula with many thanks for
their behavior and understanding of the circum-
WHERE IS IT? 99
stances, and invite them to join the democratic up-
rising which will follow us. We salute the Brazilian
people and press for their constant support of our
cause. The occupying forces are well and ask the
press of the world to greet their families in their
Galvao followed this with a message addressed to
Mission integrally accomplished. After brief est com-
bat, occupation. All our companions acted serene
bravery worthy of praise. I confirm the communique
and at same time I give it to free world press that
from all world asks information.
As it was and will be, Salazar's newspaper insult
and calumny. Crew accepted consummated fact and
maintains itself disciplined, majority passengers en-
thusiastically with us.
Aboard there is absolute tranquility, safety in per-
fectly normal life. All are well, asking their health
be communicated families. I beg obtain, as rightful,
recognition of insurrectional act and consequently
state of belligerence, through hearing of specialists
We follow our secret destiny and we hail in Your
Excellency, Chief of State, elected by people. I shall
communicate whenever possible without prejudice of
secrecy of destination and operational plans. In no
event shall we surrender.
I beg to make known to our families and Portu-
guese people, whom Your Excellency represents, that
1OO THE FLOATING KEVOLUTION
we are well and we salute you. Everything established
according to powers conferred me by Your Excellency
and National Independent Liberation Junta as the
political, military, administration organ of National
We shall land passengers in first neutral port that
assures us this possibility without internment of ship.
Our desire is ever so much greater since all are show-
ing themselves in sympathy and understanding, in-
We salute people, press, president-elect Brazil, very
sensitive their support of our cause. For Motherland,
And then, until half past nine, came a stream of mes-
sages from passengers to their families.
"Destination unknown. Love. Mother," Mrs. Boyce
wired her son, C. Prevost Boyce, Jr., in Baltimore, Mary-
land. He was relieved and said he felt little concern
about the future because "Mother always is able to adapt
to difficult situations."
"Everything is all right," Mrs. Joan Densmore Harber-
son messaged her father in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"We're safe. Don't worry," was the wire from the Del-
"Safe. Well," the Henry Bateses said.
"We are OK," the John W. Dietzes wired.
And Mrs. Chubb settled for one word: "Fine."
Galvao was fighting back against the piracy charge. In
Sao Paulo, Brazil, eager to join the battle, General Del-
gado chimed in. Besieged by reporters, and therefore in
his element, Delgado declared:
WHERE IS IT? 1O1
"We are not pirates, only politicians."
Delgado said he had sent telegrams to John Moors
Cabot and Sir Geoffrey Wallinger, the American and
British Ambassadors to Brazil. He read the identical tele-
The Santa Maria case does not represent mutiny or
piracy but is an appropriation of a Portuguese trans-
port by Portuguese men for Portuguese political pur-
poses. I ask insistently that your government does not
interfere in the case.
Holding a copy of the radiogram he received from
Galvao, Delgado described himself as "the land-based
commander" and said that Galvao was acting as his agent
in the seizure of the ship. He emphasized that the passen-
gers would be safely put ashore somewhere, but he be-
came vague when asked where that might be.
"That's something I can not tell you under the circum-
stances/' he chuckled. But he warned that, if attacked,
Galvao and his men would resist.
In London, a howl of protest went up from the Labor
benches against the hunt for the Santa Maria by the two
British frigates. Hugh Gaitskell, the Labor Party leader,
was cheered when he questioned whether the British
Government should interfere "where people are seeking
to escape from a dictatorial regime." Laborite Reginald
Paget asked testily whether the British Navy "will be
equally at the disposal of the Russian or Hungarian Gov-
ernments in the event of one of their crews making a dash
for liberty." And George Brown, deputy Labor leader,
contended that "we seem to have dashed in here to take
part in what is really an internal affair." Ian Orr-Ewing,
civil Lord of the Admiralty, shot back that, after all, one
102 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
man was dead and another seriously wounded and he
would always expect the Royal Navy to assist a N.A.T.O.
ally "when murder has been committed on the high seas
and serious injury has been done to other people."
"I think it is in the tradition of the Royal Navy that
when asked for assistance you should provide it, and we
have done exactly that," Orr-Ewing argued.
However, he agreed to one concession. He said Her
Majesty's Government would bear in mind the Labor
Party suggestions that Britain should refuse to surrender
to the Portuguese Government any of the Santa Maria
revolutionaries who might be arrested.
The Portuguese Government lost no time in getting its
case before the world. Salazar denounced the incident as
"a preposterous crime." His regime issued its first Santa
Maria communique, a factual account of what had be-
come known up to the delivery of the wounded officer in
St. Lucia. A Portuguese Government spokesman said:
"The men who attacked the Santa Maria are not poli-
ticians or ideologists. They are just outlaws. . . .
"The conscience of the civilized world cannot fail to
reproach with indignation this return to the barbarian
practices that made the Caribbean Sea an area of dis-
honor which took centuries to clean up."
In Washington, the new Kennedy Administration, just
four days in office and already faced with an international
incident, was having misgivings about the Navy's attitude
that it was "a clear case of piracy."
That Tuesday morning, the telephone rang in the State
Department's Legal Division and a well-known voice
said: "This is the President. Let me talk to your expert on
While the President held the line, they searched high
WHERE IS IT? 1O3
and low for an expert on piracy. But there was none, and
the best they could do was to give him a curbstone opin-
ion and a promise to look into the situation thoroughly.
However, these qualms had not had time to burble
through the cumbersome machinery through which all
public statements must go in the American Government
before they see the light of day. While the soul-searching
was going on, the State Department's press chief, Lincoln
White, ran out of time. He went before his daily noon-
time press conference at the slick, new State Department
building and put out a statement prepared by his superiors.
"The Government of Portugal has asked certain coun-
tries, including the United States, to provide assistance
in locating and intercepting the Santa Maria, and the
United States is acceding to this request," White said.
"As a United States Navy spokesman stated last night,
destroyers and airplanes have been dispatched to inter-
cept the vessel under the well-defined terms of interna-
tional law governing piracy and insurrection aboard ship/*
State Department reporters who had been reading the
Galvao and Delgado statements all morning on news
tickers, were taken aback. Where, they asked, did one find
these "well-defined terms of international law"?
White looked a little distressed. Try a government law-
yer, he suggested, or look it up in Digest of International
Law, edited by Green H. Hackworth, former State De-
partment legal adviser and the first American member
of the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
"The objective of the operation," White said, "is to
protect the passengers and crew and return the ship to
the control of the rightful owners and operators."
Would the United States grant political asylum to
Galvao and his men if they surrendered?
1O4 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
"That seems a little far-fetched/' White said.
The idea was not far-fetched at all in Latin America.
There was speculation that Galvao might head for Cuba,
but Delgado scouted that one by snorting, "Cuba? Why
Cuba? There is no reason for Cuba." Neither Galvao
nor Delgado was willing to be tagged with an affinity
for Fidel Castro's Communist-oriented Cuba. But almost
any other country in Latin America was at their disposal.
Public opinion there seemed overwhelmingly on their
side, especially in Brazil, where an old friend of theirs,
Janio Quadros, was being inaugurated as president in a
But whatever the Santa Maria was, pirate ship or pa-
triotic beachhead, and wherever she was headed, West
Africa or South America, by evening one certainty be-
gan to dawn on the world. The United States Navy
could not find her.
FOUND AT LAST
All of Tuesday, January 24, the Navy had six aircraft from
San Juan and one from Trinidad out looking. The destroy-
ers Damato and Wilson had refueled at Trinidad and
were crisscrossing below the droning aircraft. The British
frigates Rothesay and Ulster were searching. Three Dutch
reconnaissance planes were in the air trying to track her.
But still they could not find the Santa Maria.
At the Pentagon, the Navy was taking its lumps. It was
bad enough that the Navy Press Desk was getting such
queries as this one, from the Long Island Newsday: "Is
there any reason why the Navy can't find the Santa
To make matters worse, the Air Force was snickering
at the Navy's dilemma. The Wild Blue Yonder boys made
no secret of their contempt for the Navy's performance.
"Hell, just give me an old. DC-3 and I'd find that ferry-
boat for you in an hour," they would say to their chagrined
sea-going colleagues over coffee at a Pentagon snack bar.
And in that sanctum sanctorum, the conference room
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Arleigh A. "Thirty-
one Knot" Burke, the Chief of Naval Operations,
took some high-level ribbing. Army General Lyman L.
1O6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, teased the
admiral about his lack of success in the Caribbean. And
then he let him have it, in the best tradition of inter-
service rivalry. "Or maybe you don't want to find it/' Gen-
eral Lemnitzer said. "That would prove your contention
that an aircraft carrier cannot be found at sea, wouldn't
It was all in fun, but the edges were barbed, aimed at
a prize Navy argument. Every time somebody wanted
to cut an aircraft carrier out of the budget on the ground
that it was too expensive and too vulnerable, the Navy
came back with the flat assertion that carrier task forces
are difficult, if not impossible, to find at sea because they
can maneuver and escape detection.
The State Department had its troubles, too. The Salazar
Government in Lisbon was hopping mad that the United
States had not already located the Santa Maria, fired
a shot across her bow, boarded, and clamped Galvao and
his men in irons. Ambassador Elbrick was deluged with
complaints, and the wire between Lisbon and Washington
hummed with them. State Department officials were per-
turbed, too, because they realized that close cooperation
with the dictator Salazar would not sit well with the Latin
Admiral Burke, no man to take professional criticism
lightly, decided it was time to bail the Navy out. He
knew that finding the Santa Maria with the limited forces
available was no easy task. The area first being scanned
covered 130,000 square miles, bigger than New Mexico.
In those waters, there normally would be seventy-five to
a hundred ships as big as the Santa Maria, plus scores of
smaller vessels. Every one of them sighted by the harassed
search pilots would have to be checked, a time-consuming
FOUND AT LAST 1O/
chore, especially at night. He knew all this but the public
did not. He ordered Navy press officers in Washington,
Norfolk and San Juan to explain the problem. Mean-
while, he directed a step-up in the effort. Two messages
went out on Tuesday, January 24.
The first, relayed by Admiral Dennison from his At-
lantic Fleet headquarters in Norfolk, went to Admiral
Smith, the Caribbean Sea Frontier commander at San
Juan. It virtually invited him to write his own ticket,
"i. Desire maximum effort locate Santa Maria. 2. Nom-
inate any additional forces required."
The second message went from Admiral Dennison to
Task Group 88, which was taking a leisurely good-will
tour along the west coast of Africa. The orders detached
two destroyers from the group, U.S.S. Vogelgesang and
U.S.S. Gearing, and ordered them to take up blocking
positions in the middle Atlantic. Their job would be to
intercept the Santa Maria if she should dash for Angola.
To keep the destroyers in fuel, the oiler U.S.S. Nespelen,
also with Task Group 88, was directed to tag along.
Admiral Smith, the man the Navy sent out after Galvao,
was tised to doing his best and coming out of it with
little more than the traditional "well done." He had given
thirty-seven of his fifty-six years to the Navy. He had
served in the Nicaraguan Campaign, World War II and
the Korean War, as one of the Navy's first patrol pilots,
flying the same kind of unglamorous, fatiguing missions
he was to direct in the search for the Santa Maria. His
service in the decade before World War II was in the
Caribbean area, alternating two tours at the Pensacola
Naval Air Station with service aboard the carriers U.S.S.
Marblehead, U.S.S. Ranger and U.S.S. Sandpiper,
1O8 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
He served in the Caribbean and Atlantic during the
war. It was while executive officer o the U.S.S. Bogue
that he won his Letter o Commendation with Ribbon
and Combat "V" for meritorious service "in operations
against enemy submarines from July, 1943, until March,
1944." His second Letter of Commendation with Ribbon
(but without a Combat "V") was awarded for his work
in the Aircraft Division at the Navy Department in Wash-
ington during 1944-1945.
Smith divided his career immediately after the war
between shore-based assignments and commands of the
carriers U.S.S. Thetis Bay, U.S.S. Solomons and U.S.S.
His Legion of Merit came in 1952, when he was in
command of the U.S.S. Philippine Sea. The citation praised
his "exceptionally meritorious conduct . . . during opera-
tions against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 25
January to 6 July 1952."
Thereafter, duty took him to posts in Bermuda, with
the fleet in the Mediterranean, in Norfolk, Virginia., and
in Glenview, Illinois. In May, 1960, he was designated
Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier, with additional duty
as Commandant Tenth Naval District and Commander
Antilles Defense Command, with headquarters at San
Juan, Puerto Rico.
By late January 24, Admiral Smith had two destroyers
behind the Santa Maria and two destroyers ahead of her.
His complement of aircraft had grown to fourteen, and
the four-engine planes, with their unsightly radar humps,
were flying a tightly coordinated schedule out of San
Juan. If he had any doubts he was involved in a Big
League operation, they were dispelled when in addition
he was authorized by Admiral Dennison to send the
FOUND AT LAST ICQ
nuclear submarine U.S.S. Seawolf after the elusive run-
away. The Seawolf glided out of Roosevelt Roads at San
Juan and raced for the widening search area.
Aboard ship, Galvao was taking measures to defy de-
tection. When Mrs. Chubb went to her cabin to rest a bit
between dinner and the movie, she had no sooner settled
down with a book when a hurried knock came on the
door. It was the maid, who without a word snapped off the
lights, walked over to the porthole and lifted the wooden
awning into place to cover every inch. Then she went
to the bed and turned on the weak reading light.
"But it's so warm!" Mrs. Chubb protested. Remembering
then that the maid spoke virtually no English, she got the
idea across in sign language. She grasped her blouse
near the collar and shook it. "Too warm! Phew!"
The maid shook her head sadly. With gentle firmness,
she emphasized that only the bed light was to be used, and
that the porthole was to be kept covered even then. Gal-
vao was running without lights to avoid being sighted.
Galvao had neglected one clue to his position. Through-
out the day he wore out two radio operators as he carried
on a running press conference with American news serv-
ices and unloaded reams of messages of the "safe and
well" variety to distraught families in two hemispheres.
Apparently it never occurred to him that his pursuers
might set up a "fix" with radio direction-finders to triangu-
late the ship's position.
At Chatham Radio on Cape Cod on the morning of
January 25, Francis Doane was just past the halfway mark
of his midnight-to-eight "lobster" when, at half past four,
the Santa Maria began sending on 8330 kilocyles. The mes-
sages were mostly routine, but a few repeated Galvao's
theme that he was an insurrectionist and no pirate. Three
110 THE FLOATING KEVOLUTION
other R.C.A. communications stations were monitoring the
transmission stations at San Juan, Lantana in Florida, and
Riverhead on Long Island. They triangulated on the
stream of dots and dashes which emanated from the Santa
Maria until twenty minutes past five. The "fix" was on.
At seven minutes before six, an urgent message from
San Juan reached the Navy's Flag Plot Headquarters at
the Pentagon. In that room of charts, the Navy keeps
track of every warship in the world, marking their move-
ment from port to port and on the high seas as reports
pour in twenty-four hours a day. The message from San
Juan Direction-Finder put another marker on the Flag
Plot charts. The cellophane tag bore the legend, "Santa
The tag was positioned at latitude 11 6' north, longi-
tude 48 18' west.
Five and a half hours later, at twenty-eight minutes
past eleven in the morning, the Danish freighter Vibeke
Gulwa reported sighting the Santa Maria at latitude 10
43' north, longitude 47 west, approximately 810 miles
northeast of Trinidad, on a course of 105, speed unknown.
The surface sighting confirmed the radio fix. The Navy
in Washington flashed the news to the searchers. The
closest ship was the U.S.S. Wilson, about 100 miles east
of Martinique. But the Navy's Flag Plot knew it would
take the Wilson twenty-four hours to reach the coordi-
nates, and she was in a bad position to try to overtake the
shifting Santa Maria. The closest aircraft, a P#V Neptune
from San Juan's Patrol Squadron 18, was also hundreds
of miles away. The pilot, Lieutenant Daniel L. Krauss,
gunned his big plane to its top speed of 150 knots and
headed for the quarry.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Lincoln
FOUND AT EAST 111
White steeled himself for an onerous duty. The United
States was about to do an international rowback. As
usual, the State Department handed the soiled end of the
oar to Line White. The day before, he had read the state-
ment prepared by policy officers that Galvao would be
collared under the "well-defined" laws of piracy. But, after
hours of dusting off legal tomes, the State Department's
lawyers had found the laws of piracy about as well defined
as the rules of exotic poker games at a clubwomen's tea.
White hauled his tall Tennessee frame to the State De-
partment's Press Conference Room shortly after noon on
Wednesday, January 25, and grasped the oar firmly.
"The facts concerning the seizure of the Santa Maria
are not entirely clear/' White began. "Information avail-
able to the Department is conflicting and not sufficient
to form the basis of a firm opinion as to whether the crime
of piracy under international law has been committed."
White, a genial man of fifty-one who can still blush,
"There are grounds for suspicion of piracy," White con-
tinued. "This, together with the request of the Portuguese
Government for assistance, are considered to afford ample
basis for the action now being taken by United States
naval authorities to ascertain the whereabouts of this
vessel and to make an appropriate investigation."
Gone was the idea of intercepting the Santa Maria.
Gone was all hint of the Navy's order of the day before
to "use force as necessary." It was a different situation
It was 4:30 P.M., Washington time, when Lieutenant
Krauss saw a ship on the horizon as dusk and a misty
rain engulfed his lumbering aircraft. He started letting
down in a shallow glide. At a thousand feet he leveled
112 THE FLOATING KEVOLUTION
off and switched on Ms searchlight. The powerful beam
raked the ship from bow to stern. Hundreds of people
lined the rails and clustered on the fantail, shouting
and waving. As he flew past the ship, Krauss and his men
looked back. On the stern, in big white letters was the
name he had been hoping would be there:
PIRATES OR PATRIOTS?
Arthur Douglas Patton and his wife were at the ship's rail,
straining to see the aircraft as they heard the engines
grow louder somewhere in the mist of approaching night-
fall. When Lieutenant Krauss in the Navy Neptune
switched on his searchlight, Doug Patton's heart skipped
a beat, and he turned instinctively to embrace his wife.
Found at last! Uncle Sam's boys had come through!
National pride coursed through his veins like a wonder
"I feel/' he said, "like singing "God Bless America!' "
Mrs. Patton felt the same emotion. The Portuguese and
Spaniards near them were just as moved. They ran to the
rail and waved and cheered at the big aircraft, tears in
their eyes and a lump in their throats. They went to the
Americans and began pounding them on the back and
pumping their hands, as if the Americans personally had
arranged this salvation.
The relief of all those on deck was incredible. The plane
was something tangible, after all of Galvao's shilly-shally-
ing and vague promises of a disembarkation at some mys-
terious "neutral port." Here was a new element, a pressure
114 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
on Galvao to follow through on the soothing assurances
which flowed so easily from him.
A little boy hopped up and down and pointed and hol-
lered at the airplane. It was nine-year-old Harold Pres-
ton. He had been walking the deck with his father and
his older brother.
"Go get Mother, quick," Preston said to the lad, and
Harold lit out for Cabin No. 15, howling like a banshee.
June Preston was preparing her two little ones for bed,
ducking under and around her drying laundry as she
guided the boys through their bathroom chores. She heard
a pounding of footsteps in the passageway, then the door
flew open and her No. 2 boy burst in.
"Airplane! And it's got a light a real bright light and
it's flashing signals and going around and around and
Daddy says for you to come on up," Harold said in one
Mrs. Preston gathered up Donald and Steven and, with
Harold energetically leading the way, they all headed
topside. Passengers were crowding to the deck to see the
airplane. There was a hum of voices as everybody seemed
to be talking at once, and there were shouts and gestures
as, though the haze, the dark blue, sharklike aircraft
showed itself, flashing dots and dashes with its light.
"What a comfort!" June Preston thought, as she looked
for the plane and followed the sound of the engine.
"Uncle Sam to the rescue!"
On deck, Mrs. Chubb shared the exuberance of the
others at sight of the Navy plane. Despite Galvao, his
doubletalk, his zigzag course, his blackout, they had been
To John W. Dawson, it was about time. For the life of
PIRATES OR PATRIOTS? 11$
him, Dawson could not understand what had taken the
Navy so long. He had been watching things deteriorate
aboard the Santa Maria, and it was he who had organized
a committee to look after the Americans' rights. Dawson
was glad to see the long-awaited aircraft, but he could
not shake the feeling that something ominous was going
on. He hated the sight of the sign which Galvao had put
up on the railing of the bridge, saying "Santa Liberdade."
Darned if he could see any "Blessed Liberty" on the ship.
Even Galvao may have felt a sense of relief when the
Navy Neptune swooped by. For two days he had mes-
saged back and forth with the United States Navy and
a growing clientele of newspapers and television stations.
He studied the Morse signals from the plane as the light
spelled out a request for a radio conversation. Galvao
ordered the Santa Maria's signalman to blink back that
the ship's radio was on 2182 kilocycles. He walked quickly
aft to the radio room. Professor Velo was already there,
and together they heard the voice of Lieutenant Krauss.
Was everything all right on board? The Santa Marias
radio operator, prompted by Velo, said it was. Lieutenant
Krauss, following his instructions, suggested the Santa
Maria turn back and enter a United States port. The re-
sponse was terse: No. Lieutenant Krauss asked the ship's
destination. Galvao replied: Angola.
But then Galvao the Word Warrior took over. He gave
the twenty-four-year-old naval lieutenant from Sea Is-
land, Georgia, his favorite lecture that he and his men
were patriots, not pirates and wound up with a flourish.
He was ready, Galvao declared, to negotiate for debarka-
tion of the passengers. He would negotiate with officials
of any nation but Portugal and Spain.
Il6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Lieutenant Krauss, with one eye on his falling fuel
gauge, kept circling and talking. He signed off long enough
to message his headquarters at San Juan, Puerto Rico:
All well aboard. Destination Angola. Captain Gal-
vao refused return San Juan. Will accept confer-
ence on board Santa Maria with U.S. or any author-
ities other than Portuguese or Spanish. Wishes to
discharge passengers unharmed earliest.
The message was quickly relayed by Admiral Smith at
San Juan, to Admiral Dennison at Atlantic Fleet head-
quarters in Norfolk. Admiral Dennison moved it along
to the Pentagon, which notified the White House.
At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, John F. Kennedy, in his
sixth day as President of the United States, was cram-
ming for his first presidential press conference. The news
came just in time. Armed with the information sent by
Lieutenant Krauss from his perch halfway between San
Juan and Angola, Mr. Kennedy was ready when a reporter
popped the question: Would the United States board the
"Well, I believe that the location of the ship has been
determined," President Kennedy said, conveying the idea
that it had been no trouble at all to find the needle in the
"At the present time," he continued, "the instructions
are for the Navy to continue its accompaniment of the
ship. The Santa Maria has been located by a Navy P#V
aircraft and the position is approximately six hundred
miles north of the Amazon River, headed on a course of
117, a speed of fifteen knots, and the exact position at
PIRATES OR PATRIOTS?
ten minutes after four was ten degrees thirty-five min-
utes north, forty-five degrees fifty-two minutes west.
"It is being trailed by aircraft to be picked up by de-
stroyers of our African task force.
"There are Americans involved and their lives are in-
volved. But I have not given any instructions to the Navy
to carry out any boarding operations, though of course we
are concerned about the lives of the Americans involved,
and also we are concerned because the ship belongs to
a country with which the United States has friendly rela-
Mr. Kennedy had touched all bases violence was out,
he was concerned for the Americans aboard, and he fa-
vored friendly relations with Portugal. He had also put
on a little razzle-dazzle, by reciting the Santa Marias
position, speed and course with the aplomb of an old
Navy hand, indicating the Navy had things under con-
At Norfolk, Admiral Dennison burned up the air with
two major messages.
The first, to Admiral Smith at San Juan, canceled the
original orders to use "force as necessary" in bringing the
Santa Maria to heel. It took the tack dictated by President
Kennedy, saying: "Keep Santa Maria under constant sur-
veillance. Make no attempt to stop ship or to board. Use
of force prohibited."
The second message was addressed to Galvao via
Chatham Radio and said: "Request you proceed any port
northern South America you choose to discharge passen-
gers. Please advise port selected and time of arrival. Will
attempt to arrange conference aboard Santa Maria as you
No question about it, the Navy was moving in. In Flag
Il8 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Plot at the Pentagon, a hasty check was made to see what
ships were available in the area in case Galvao insisted
on a transfer of passengers at sea. It would be a risky
business, since so many of the passengers were either
children or elderly. Even in the best of seas, with trained
Navy men, it was not uncommon to have injuries and
deaths in such a maneuver. But, if Galvao were adamant,
there would be no alternative. What ships were available?
A nuclear submarine, four destroyers and two oilers al-
ready were assigned to the chase. There were also two
landing ships and the carrier U.S.S. Boxer, all three
loaded with combat-ready Marines, and a number of de-
stroyers. There were no big attack aircraft carriers in the
Caribbean, although two were at Jacksonville, Florida.
But the Navy was determined to talk Galvao out of any
sea transfer, although it had yet to figure out how to
On the bridge of the newly christened "Santa Liber-
dade," Galvao was doing some figuring of his own. He
delayed replying to Admiral Dennison's message while
he assayed the situation. Although Sotomayor kept the
prow of the ship pointed toward Angola, Galvao already
was resigned to his inability to get there. His old friend
Janio Quadros, who would be president of Brazil in a few
days, had made no promising response to the feelers
broadcast by Galvao in many of his radioed messages.
The present Brazilian Government, headed by President
Juscelino Kubitschek, had said flatly it would take the ship
away from him if he landed in Brazil, although he would
be welcome to remain as a political refugee. The United
States Navy had locked onto him, and the big reconnais-
sance aircraft were now hardly ever out of sight or ear-
shot. His every movement was tracked and reported to
PIRATES OR PATRIOTS? IIQ
Lisbon. He had heard by radio that Portugal was rendez-
vousing five warships, including the new frigate Pero
Escobar with its three-inch guns, off Cape Verde Islands.
He had also heard the Spanish cruiser Canarias would sail
with the Portuguese to intercept him if he stayed in the
open mid- Atlantic.
Droning overhead, the American pilots studied the
Santa Maria, moving toylike on the serene sea. As Navy
men, they admired the sleek lines and checked her specifi-
cations on their data charts.
She was indeed a queen, although, not quite as heavy
as her twin, the 21,765-^ Vera Cmz, now at Sao Paulo,
Brazil. The Vera Cruz had arrived there Wednesday,
January 25, but her captain, Ambrosio Pereira Ramal-
heira, refused to sail out again until he could guarantee
her and her seven hundred passengers against a possible
seizure. He was to wait twenty-four hours, in fact, while
a detachment of ten Portuguese secret police flew from
Lisbon and marched aboard, each with a submachine
gun. The captain also strapped a .45 automatic on each
of his officers.
The government-controlled Companhia Colonial de
Navegacao concurred in these precautions. While com-
pany spokesmen boasted in Lisbon that the Portuguese
frigate Pero Escobar would catch up with Galvao in a
matter of hours, officials worried about the future of the
line. Galvao's adventure had disappointed passengers
scheduled to board the Santa Maria all along her route.
The Vera Cruz would pick up some of them, but many
would cancel and go by other means. This would be bad
for the entire fleet-the 13,196 ton Patria y I3,i85-ton Uige
and the io,ooo-ton Infante D. Henrique, as well as the
ten cargo vessels, ranging in tonnage from 5,981 to 1,699.
12O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Galvao was studying Santa Maria specifications, too.
Unaccountably, things had been happening to the $1,600,-
ooo luxury liner, the "Portuguese Palace Afloat/' Fresh
water was being used up very fast, despite the rationing.
The air conditioning had gone out and one of the huge
turbines was giving trouble. A leak was reported in the
propellor shaft housing on the port side, and a couple of
feet of Kelly-green Plimpson line was showing to star-
board aft, as the big ship listed out of ballast. Galvao
could not understand it, and he wondered whether Cap-
tain Maia and his crew, for all their docile air, were com-
As his fourth day in command came to a close, Galvao
was plagued by other signs of unrest. The tranquility and
resignation aboard ship had been disturbed by the ap-
pearance of the American airplane. The crew seemed
less servile and the passengers, especially the Americans,
looked less afraid. He resolved to have the silver-tongued
Professor Velo talk to the First and Cabin Class passen-
gers in the morning. In Third Class, restrictions on food
and water and the intense heat might well drive men to
make desperate decisions. Galvao knew it was common-
place in South America for men to go armed. There were
many in the bowels of the Santa Maria with pistols and
knives in their bundles and cardboard suitcases.
In First and Cabin Class, the forty-two Americans, em-
boldened by Lieutenant Krauss' feat of navigation in lo-
cating them, discussed various demands to be put to
Galvao and Professor Velo. The meeting with them was
set for ten o'clock on the morning of the fifth day of cap-
tivity, Thursday, January 26.
In the meantime, Galvao fired off a reply to Admiral
Dennison. He curtly rejected the admiral's suggestion that
PIRATES OR PATRIOTS?
he land in a South American port of his choosing. The
suggestion, he declared, was "an impertinence and an of-
fense." He considered himself a Portuguese politician, a
freedom fighter and a representative of the duly elected
president of Portugal who had been robbed of his victory
"I and my followers will not be confused with pirates/ 5
Galvao messaged. "I don't have to receive orders from a
In Washington, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy,
in shirt sleeves, his thick brown hair characteristically di-
sheveled, sat before a television set in the dining room just
off his spacious office at the Department of Justice watch-
ing his older brother John hold his first news conference
as President of the United States. At a quarter past six,
as the President was replying to a question about the
Santa Maria and breezily commenting that the Navy had
no orders to try to board her, "Bobby" Kennedy turned
and said to nobody in particular, "Get somebody in here
from the Office of Legal Counsel."
Within seconds, Harold F. Reis, First Assistant in the
Office of Legal Counsel, stood before his youthful new
boss. Reis ordinarily would have been home by that time
of evening, but he was hanging around on the sixth day
of the "New Frontier" for a very good reason. The new
Attorney General put in long hours and expected his help
to do likewise. Only a couple of days before, he had called
after hours for legal advice on the new Food-for-Peace
program. Reis, who had already gone home, had to return
to the office that time. This night, he was taking no
chances. He stuck around just in case he was needed. His
foresight did not go unrewarded.
"I've got to have a paper on this Santa Maria business,"
122, THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Bobby Kennedy said. "Do we have a right to go aboard?
Fd like a paper on that for tomorrow morning's Cabinet
Reis nodded. He would work up something even if it
took him all night. He did not mind the extra work, but
he hated to have to throw together a legal opinion, how-
ever informal, on such short notice. He stayed for the
end of President Kennedy's first presidential press confer-
Then he headed for his own office. It was a quarter
to seven and he knew he had a long night ahead of him.
As the legal tomes began coming down off the shelf, he
put in several telephone calls. He called the State De-
partment's Legal Division and the Navy Judge Advocate
General's office, as well as half a dozen private lawyers
he knew who might be helpful.
The Navy obliged by sending over a briefing officer
from the Pentagon. He came equipped with elaborate
charts of the Caribbean and Middle Atlantic, and for half
an hour held forth on everything the United States Navy
knew about the Santa Maria up to that time.
Neither the State Department nor the Navy had pre-
pared a formal legal opinion. Nobody had asked for one,
and so, in the conservative way of lawyers, none had been
prepared. Reis realized that, although there were a num-
ber of theories and the documentation of jurisprudence
available to him was useful, he was breaking fresh ground
on the case. With three co-workers Harry Sellery, who
had been summoned back to the office from his home,
Mary Lawton and Leavenworth Colbyhe sought the
answer to the legal riddle.
Finally, at one o'clock in the morning, they started
PIRATES OB PATRIOTS? 123
writing the memorandum to the Attorney General. They
argued out each sentence, and then Reis wrote it down
in longhand on a yellow legal notepad, read it aloud, made
whatever changes they agreed upon, and handed the
sentence to a stenographer to be typed. They worked this
way for two hours. At three o'clock it was ready for the
signature of Robert Kramer, Assistant Attorney General,
Office of Legal Counsel, and they walked wearily to their
cars through the snow and ice which had piled up around
Washington in the bitter cold spell which began Inaugu-
The three-page, closely typed memorandum to Attorney
General Kennedy said in part:
You have requested a brief memorandum with re-
spect to the question whether this government may
authorize its naval vessels to board, presumably by
force if necessary, the Portuguese registered vessel
Santa Maria. In the time allotted, it is not possible to
supply you with a definitive opinion.
Nevertheless, it is believed that international law
supplies a reasonable justification for such action if it
is undertaken at the request of or in cooperation with
the Portuguese Government. In this connection, it is
understood that the government has requested that
assistance of the United States.
The need for protecting U.S. nationals would
further support such action.
It might also be possible to support boarding as an
act to suppress piracy. This contention may need
further investigation since most of the experts on the
subject whom we have consulted doubt that piracy
124 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
has occurred. Nevertheless, it is believed that a rea-
sonable argument may be made that the capture of
the ship constitutes piracy. . . .
There appears to be room for a contention that pi-
racy has occurred both as a matter of international
and domestic law. The 1958 Geneva Convention on
the High Seas defines piracy in terms broad enough
to include the seizure here involved. . . .
Attorney General Kennedy had the memo in his pocket
when he attended his first Cabinet meeting the next
THE "SANTA MANANA 3
Galvao's stiff rejoinder to Admiral Dennison's overture
had in no way daunted the American Navy. Rather, Rear
Admiral Smith followed up with a radiogram that sounded
as if, back in San Juan, he was poised to dash across the
Caribbean and out to the middle Atlantic for a rendezvous.
"I note your intention to land passengers in neutral
country as soon as possible/' Admiral Smith had mes-
saged. <C I am concerned about the safety of passengers and
am anxious to arrange their safe disembarkation soonest.
What are your plans for landing passengers?"
Galvao allowed Admiral Smith and the Navy to stew
awhile. But he did not neglect press and television in-
quiries. Pounding his propaganda home, Galvao wired
United Press International in New York on Thursday,
Our plan is to give insurrectional continuity to our
stroke for the liberation of the Fatherland from the
odious Salazar dictatorship. We seek recognition of
our insurrectional political position and facilities im-
12-6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
plied in the right to disembark passengers in a neutral
We will not surrender nor will we stop in the face
of attacking ships. They must bear responsibility at-
tacks on ship which we regard as first liberated part
That one had an ominous ring to it, as far as the safety
of the passengers was concerned. So did Galvao's message
the same day to the Columbia Broadcasting System in
response to an inquiry:
We will disembark as rapidly as possible in a neu-
tral port which will grant facilities sufficient for the
safety of them, for us and this ship, considered part
of a liberated, patriotic territory.
We will never surrender nor halt before all the
squadrons of the world We are fighting as a demo-
cratic opposition on behalf of the Portuguese Chief
of State, General Humberto Delgado, the only legiti-
mate chief of state by a popular majority vote which
Delgado, accepting kudos from the press in Sao Paulo
as the "mastermind" behind Galvao's bold coup, when
asked where the Santa Maria was headed, smiled enigmat-
ically and said, "We did not take this ship just to keep
it on this side of the Atlantic."
In another interview, he seemed to forget Galvao and
the twenty-three other rebels aboard the Santa Maria,
saying in that omnipotent way of his, "Seventy-five per
cent of the Portuguese people are on my side and if I
succeed in overthrowing Salazar a provisional govern-
THE "SANTA MANANA" 127
ment will be set up immediately and free elections held
In Rio de Janeiro, Ms old friend and benefactor. Dr.
Alvaro Lins, chimed in with a threat calculated to scare
off the United States Navy. Dr. Lins put out a statement
expressing complete solidarity with Galvao and Delgado,
"If the United States and Great Britain commit the
terrible mistake of taking sides with the anachronistic
dictatorship of Dr. Salazar, I will reveal the secret plans
of the Pentagon concerning the establishment of military
bases in Portugal and Spain, which I had occasion to
learn during my stay in Lisbon as Ambassador."
But the opposition was getting in some licks in the war
of words, too. In Portugal, the Salazar-contr oiled radio
and press berated Galvao and Delgado as irresponsible
fugitives from justice now reduced to piracy. In Spain,
the Franco regime not only dispatched the cruiser
Canarias in pursuit of the Santa Maria too late, some said
sourly, ever to hope to catch her but the government-
controlled press blossomed with anti-Galvao articles.
The Americans, Dutch and other non-Iberians who
assembled for the ten o'clock meeting with Galvao could
not have cared less about all these pros and cons. What
they wanted to know most of all was: When do we get
off? What they next wanted to know was: And what about
my European sports car in the hold?
Martin Yunker settled himself into a comfortable chair
in the lounge as Galvao, rolling his sheepdog's eyes about
the room in search of sympathy, went into his spiel. He
spoke in Portuguese, and the Second Class maitre d'hotel
stood by as interpreter. But that poor man was doing
a bad job of it. His English was not good. The Americans
128 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
felt they were losing a lot in the translation. Indeed,
some felt they were catching more of the Portuguese than
of the English. Finally, the impetuous John Dawson could
stand it no more. He stood up and interrupted:
"See here, we're not getting this at all, and you seem
to be talking about things we should know about. There's
no need for this. We've got a fellow right here among us
who speaks Spanish fluently. Put it in Spanish, and Mar-
tin Yunker here will interpret for us."
Martin Yunker was taken aback. He would hardly have
called his Spanish fluent. He had worked at it for some
years, unofficially doing commercial translations while
general traffic manager for a transportation company in
New York. Since his retirement, he had talked Spanish
every chance he could get. During his recent weeks in
Spain, he had practiced in long talks with his Asturian
gardener. He liked Spanish music, Spanish dancing, Span-
ish literature in fact, everything Spanish except the
Franco regime. Even so, this to his mind did not qualify
him as fluent, much less as an interpreter. But a challenge
was a challenge, and when Galvao agreed, Yunker found
himself up among the rebels, putting it all into English,
although occasionally he had to go around Robin Hood's
barn to get across the sense of what was being said.
Galvao's Portuguese-accented Spanish was difficult to
follow, but Professor Velo spoke the most beautiful Span-
ish Yunker had ever heard. It flowed from the man, and
Yunker had no trouble at all turning it into English.
The gist of what they said was that they had been in
touch with the United Nations, the Navy, the Human
Rights Commission, the State Department and a number
of other organizations. Also, they reported the Navy had
THE "SANTA MANANA" 129
recommended going to San Juan but Galvao had refused,
although he welcomed a conference with any but Portu-
guese and Spanish officials. On top of this, they again
went over the reasons for which they had seized the ves-
sel, and begged for some understanding of the fight they
were waging against Salazar.
Galvao and Velo offered to answer questions. The
passengers responded with what was uppermost in their
minds: When do we land? Yunker found himself running
the whole show, saying whose turn it was to ask questions,
keeping order and generally behaving as the chairman of
the meeting. It was a good deal more than he had bar-
gained for. Fortunately, the business sessions he had at-
tended during his working years had acquainted him with
Roberts' Rules of Order. After about twenty minutes of
questions, most of them answered with strong assurances
that "tomorrow" would be debarkation day, the meeting
came to an end with an offer to send any messages the
passengers desired. Generally., there was a good feeling
between the rebels and the passengers. It was hard to be-
lieve that at last they would be getting off, but the rebel
leaders had sounded sincere. A few diehards were just as
pessimistic as ever, recalling that "manana* was Galvao's
stock answer to every question.
Dawson was more convinced than ever that Galvao
and Velo were rascals and not to be trusted. But, like the
others, he and his quiet, gentle wife so different in every
respect from her fireball of a husband resolved to get
their luggage in order, just in case a departure signal was
given without warning.
Yunker was pleased with how things had gone, despite
his distaste for the limelight. He thought both Galvao
130 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
and Velo were fine men, and he was beginning to have
doubts about the efficacy of the Americans-First Commit-
tee organized at the insistence of Dawson.
"We ought to work for the welfare of all the passengers,"
Yunker said. "I don't care if a person is a Hottentot as
long as he's human/'
Yunker had almost missed out on all this. He and his
wife had started out with Tourist Class tickets on the S.S.
United States. They exchanged these for Tourist Class
tickets on the Santa Maria, simply because they wanted
some warm weather coming home. Since May, when they
arrived in Europe, they had been fruitlessly chasing a
warm climate. Italy was cold, France was cold, Spain was
cold, andjudging by reports of record snow in the
States New York would be the coldest yet. That was why
they chose the Santa Maria, to make the trip through the
South American tropics to Florida, where they hoped
to arrive without the feeling of chill which had pursued
them for months. If their home town of Warren, Connec-
ticut, was still snowbound, they could simply hole up in
Luckily, as they were boarding at Lisbon, Yunker
struck up a conversation with Chester Churchill. They
promised to look each other up on the voyage and com-
pared notes on where they were quartered. Churchill ex-
claimed in horror, "Good heavens, man, they've got you
in Tourist! You can't stay there 1 Those cabins are for
refugees. Impossibly cramped and dingy!"
Yunker went with Churchill to look at the cabin as-
signed him. Churchill was right. Tourist Class on the S.S.
United States was in no way comparable to Tourist Class
on the Santa Maria. While he went to change his ticket,
Churchill staked out Cabin No. 113, starboard aft on B
THE "SANTA MANAMA" 131
deck, right where First Class left off and Cabin Class be-
gan. He was grateful for Churchill's friendly gesture.
Mrs. Chubb was pleased with the ten o'clock meeting,
too. But she pondered the significance in one of Galvao's
replies that there was about fourteen days of fuel remain-
ing. Would he try to last out to the end? She was pleased
to hear Galvao say that, if any medicines should run
short, he would cable for replenishments to be dropped
from the Navy planes which were now their constant com-
Mrs. Chubb approached Galvao after the meeting. She
had received a cable from Thomas Daly, night editor of
the Pasadena Independent., asking for a statement from
her and from Galvao. Galvao listened gravely to her re-
quest, nodded and, turning to an aide, dictated a long
statement. He accepted the one she had written and both
messages were dispatched to the radio room.
Arthur Douglas Patton and his wife sat quietly through
the conference. They listened attentively and, later that
day, wrote out all that had been said in their joint diary.
Some of the questions sounded inappropriate to them.
Here they were, imprisoned on the high seas, in such
suspense that almost everybody was keeping bags packed
for any sudden order to get off, and yet most of the ques-
tions were about automobiles and souvenirs and whether
passengers would be reimbursed for any extra travel ex-
penses incurred. Galvao promptly pledged that whatever
Portuguese government was in power would make it all
good. But this sounded a little glib and pie-in-the-sky
to the Pattons.
Following the meeting seven Americans in First Class
decided to take Galvao up on his offer to send any cables.
Floyd Preston, John Dietz, Leon Miller, Delbert Smith,
132 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Robert Harberson, Mrs. Dorothy Thomas and Dr. Irene
M. Dunn got together and drafted a message which, in
effect, was a calm appeal to their government to rescue
them from their predicament. The cable was addressed to
the Army, Navy, Air Force and State Department, and it
Majority American citizens aboard request rendez-
vous U.S. fleet. Captain Galvao says he is receptive to
negotiate soonest for disembarkation at sea of passen-
gers onto U.S. vessel. Americans confident prompt
action will be taken by their government.
(signed) Harbersons, Smiths, Millers, Prestons,
Thomas, Dunn, Dietzes.
Floyd Preston was not concerned particularly about the
safety of himself and his family. The worst that he foresaw
as likely was that he would be late to the University of
Kansas for the new semester. He had made friends with
some of the crew, however, and he was keeping an eye
out for a possible quick flareup, either from the crew
or some of the passengers, that could lead to gunplay.
Mrs. Preston was so busy juggling the schedules of her
four sons and keeping them occupied and out of mis-
chief that she hardly had time to contemplate either the
danger or the inconvenience. There was the matter of the
swimming pool. None of the children could swim, and
both parents knew it would be no fun hauling the boys
around in nine feet of water. They kept making excuses.
One day, they put them off with the tale that it was too
rough. The next day it was too cool. The next the water
was dirty. But, sooner or latex*, they knew they would run
out of excuses, and they would have to take the plunge.
THE "SANTA MANANA" 133
Then there was also the matter of the movies. The two
older boys, who could read, had been pestering their
mother to go. They had read somewhere that movies
were shown nightly. But the titles discouraged June
Preston. How could she take the boys to "Hatful of Rain/'
for example? That Thursday night she relented enough to
take the No. i boy, Carl Bruce. It was an Indian epic,
"White Feather," and although he did not understand
it all, the boy enjoyed it and did not ask too many ques-
The lifesaver for June was the Navy aerial tracking
team. Whenever a plane came close, its red and green
traveling lights blinking in alternation, the young Prestons
would charge to the rail to watch. As the plane circled,
it was great sport for the boys to rush across the ship to
see the plane from the other side. They never seemed
to tire of it. The only chaperoning necessary was to see
that, in their mad dashes, they did not topple overboard.
The name "Santa Manana" had really caught on, now.
Nobody really believed Galvao any more when he talked
about disembarkation. But it was not a hope to be lightly
given up. The best thing was not to raise expectations
but to be prepared all the same, just in case for once a
Galvao "manana* came to pass.
June could not entirely suppress a feeling that she
ought to be laughing out loud at the whole thing. There
was just too much comic opera about it all for it to be
taken seriously. The rebels' hip holsters were a case in
point. The pistols were real enough, but the holsters
obviously had been bought in a Caracas five-and-dime
store. They were made of cheap, roughly finished leather,
exactly the same sort of holster the children had for their
cap pistols. And Galvao, in his insistence on formalities
134 TH3S FLOATING REVOLUTION
and on acting the role of genial host, had opened the
Thursday meeting by proposing drinks all around. At ten
o'clock in the morning! It was suggested that coffee might
be more appropriate, but nobody seemed to care for either
coffee or drinks.
But not all the comic opera was on Galvao's side. Two
American men in First Class came up with what they
thought was a bright idea. They pooled their resources
and found they had $4,000 between them. They offered
it to Galvao for the movie rights to the seizure story.
Galvao courteously turned them down.
The discouraging thing was that, despite the constant
air patrol, nothing seemed to have changed aboard the
"Santa Manana." Galvao and Velo were all sweetness and
light, as when Mrs. Dietz complained that the posting of
the rebel guard deprived her of access to a shuffleboard.
A new one was promptly painted for her on the deck just
outside her stateroom. But their promises of a landing
tomorrow always evaporated when tomorrow dawned.
Nevertheless, Galvao's freedom of choice was being
constantly restricted. The approaching Portuguese and
Spanish fleet had ruled out his run for Angola. Opposition
to him was being rallied there, anyway, judging by the
statement of Angola's Governor General Alvara da Silva
Tavares that "necessary precautions" had been taken in
Luanda, the capital, and that "the entire population is in
a state of rage against" Galvao. Galvao's best bet seemed
to be Janio Quadros. He had been quoted as saying
Galvao could keep the ship. There appeared to be little
choiceshort of scuttling the vessel, which he had been
reported considering if threatenedexcept to wait for
Quadros' inauguration as president of Brazil on February
i and to take him up on the offer he was said to have made.
THE "SANTA MANANA" 135
At San Juan, the American Navy was deeply disturbed
by a report that Galvao might sink the ship rather than
give up. With eighteen airplanes, four destroyers, two
oilers and one nuclear submarine on the job, the Navy
was confident it would not lose sight of the ship. But still
the destroyers pressed closer, even though the Navy
had emphasized that under no circumstances would it at-
tempt a sea transfer. Then why the surface vessels?
Captain Edward R. Hunt, Assistant Chief of Staff for
Operations of the Caribbean Sea Frontier, had a ready
"It would be nice to have ships around just in case/'
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY
Aboard the Santa Maria, Galvao's "old sea dog/' Jorge
Sotomayor, studied the statements issued by the Ameri-
can Navy as he guided the ship along the upper coast
of South America. His mind, however, was really on those
other navies, the Spanish and Portuguese. The Portuguese
frigate Pero Escobar mounted three-inch guns and could
sink the Santa Maria in minutes. As for the Spanish, cruiser
Canarias, he knew her well. She had figured in that one
great moment in Sotomayor's battle career. It was ironic
that now, almost twenty-three years later, he should again
be pitted against her.
Sotomayor had been in the Spanish merchant marine
when the Civil War started. In those first uproarious days,
when seamen were revolting against their officers and
slaughtering them without quarter, Sotomayor had be-
come one of the new breed of officers in the Republican
Navy. Like the others, he had none of the schooling and
social status of the old officer class. And this lack of train-
ing in the naval niceties soon showed. Administration and
discipline were chaotic. By contrast, the Falangist Navy
was in fair fettle, and always it was protected by ac-
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 137
companying warships of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
But one night it was midnight of March 5, 1938 the
cruisers, Canarias, Baleares and Almirante Cervera led a
Nationalist fleet past Cartagena, and there were no Ger-
man or Italian escorts. A Republican fleet steamed out
to meet it the cruisers Libertad and Mendez Nunez
and the destroyers Lepanto, Sanchez Barcaiztegui and
Admiral Antequera. There also were a number of smaller
craft, and on one of these were Sotomayor and three other
men. In the resulting confusion of battle, Sotomayor
maneuvered his little launch alongside the Baleares, let
go with his torpedo and fled. The Baleares blew up and
The Canarias and all the rest of the Nationalist ships
sailed on, impervious to the plight of the 1,000 men aboard
the Baleares. All of them would have been lost but for the
appearance of the British non-intervention patrol, The
H.M.S. Kempenfelt and the H.M.S. Boreas picked up
400 survivors and took them to the Canarias just as Re-
publican aircraft appeared and began dropping bombs.
Now the Canarias was on the trail of the Santo Maria,
Sotomayor could be forgiven if he felt that, after two
decades, she was coming just for him, to take her revenge.
Galvao's thoughts were turned, too, to the Spanish
and Portuguese warships, As he studied the American
Navy's statements, one of them stood out above the others
as best suiting his purposes for the next step. It was the
description of the role of the four American destroyers, as
expressed by Lieutenant Commander Charles Rainey,
Information Officer for the Caribbean Sea Frontier Head-
quarters at San Juan, It read: "The destroyers will serve
as a plain guard and will be available to escort the liner
if the Santa Maria herself so desires."
138 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Galvao consulted Sotomayor and Professor Velo and
together they drafted a response to this most welcome
invitation. While it was a conciliatory reply, Galvao was
not going to let the United States Navy forget that the
passengers were hostages, his pawns in the increasingly
tense chess game he was playing. He sent by wireless
on Friday, January 27:
We accept protection escort American Navy
against action of Portuguese warships until landing
Will land passengers near South American or West
African port, giving preference Africa with all guar-
antee as political insurgents, that is, without losing
our ship or action against crew or forces under dread-
ful dictatorship, with the right to carry on our political
defense Portuguese people freedom without further
protection after landing passengers.
Meeting aboard ship or landing port. We are very
interested to show the world our respect for life, not
forgetting your rights to protect American citizens.
We beg your early reply.
We have permitted all crew and passengers to have
cables sent to families but we are having difficulties
sending messages to you because radio officers are
overworked. For freedom and democracy. Best
This did not exactly fit the American Navy's plan. Ad-
miral Smith and his boss, Admiral Dennison, certainly did
not want to be cast in the role of protectors of the Santa
Maria against the Portuguese and Spanish warships. Nor
did they want to be maneuvered into transferring the
passengers at sea. Admiral Dennison, from his Atlantic
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 139
Fleet headquarters at Norfolk, sent another message to
Dennison's cable emphasized again his desire to protect
the Americans and his "humanitarian concern for all the
passengers." He said their well-being "requires that they
be disembarked as soon as possible/ 7 Dennison accepted
Galvao's offer to have a Navy spokesman go aboard the
Santa Maria for negotiations. Then, in an effort to entice
Galvao into a Brazilian port, he pledged he would "take
no action to interfere with the Santa Marias entering and
departing a port or lying off a port for the purpose of dis-
Admiral Dennison took one look at the latest report on
the Santa Marias position and decided it was time to
make another move.
The Santa Maria by now was almost smack on the equa-
tor 35' south latitude and 31 45' west longitude, on a
course of 140 southeast. That would put her about 875
miles from Belem and about half that distance from Fer-
nando de Noronha, a tiny island off the Brazilian coast
used by the United States as a missile-tracking station.
Neither place was ideal for the transfer of hundreds of
passengers, but Dennison felt he had to be in position to
do it, if there was no alternative.
His decision was doubly confirmed when, for more than
three hours, the Santa Maria was lost in the equatorial
mists. One four-engincd Constellation hurricane-hunter
searched fruitlessly for that long before giving up and
returning to its base at Belem. Happily, the Santa Maria's
radio chatter, almost endless now, provided an accurate
fix on her whereabouts and, when the mist melted away,
the Navy patrol planes spotted her blithely cutting
through, the smooth waters of the mid-Atlantic.
140 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
After checking with the Pentagon, which in turn cleared
it with the State Department, Dennison ordered Admiral
Smith to fly to Belem, an insect-ridden, jungle-threatened,
happy-go-lucky port at the mouth of the Amazon River.
Dennison ordered the destroyer U.S.S. Wilson to Beleni,
also. His plan was to put Admiral Smith aboard the Wilson
for the rendezvous at sea with the Santa Maria for negotia-
tions. If Smith could talk Galvao into port, Dennison
would be ready. He dispatched the landing ship U.S.S.
Hermitage, big enough to take on all the passengers, to the
general area of the Santa Marias zigzag course.
The American Navy was all alone now. The British,
after that corking debate in Parliament and with criticism
of the American and British efforts whistling about South
America, had quietly bowed out of the chase. The frigates
H.M.S. Rothesay and H.M.S. Ulster did an about-face and
returned to the Windward Islands, to take up the polit-
ically safer duties of refueling, restocking and minding
one's own business.
In Lisbon, American Ambassador C. Burke Elbrick was
on the carpet again. The Portuguese Foreign Ministry
read him the diplomatic riot act. What he was told went
something like this:
"The Portuguese Government is not at all pleased with
the way your Navy is handling the Santa Maria affair.
You want to assure the safety of the American passengers,
and that is natural and good. But what about the ship
and the crew, which is being forced to work at gunpoint?
"The Portuguese Government wants to assure the safety
of all the passengers and all the crew. And it wants the
return of the ship to its rightful owners, in accordance with
"The United States is proceeding as if Galvao were
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY
some honored old friend, not a pirate and a refugee from
"This is not living up to the United States Government's
obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty. And it is not
a friendly action toward the Portuguese Government. We
need hardly remind the American Ambassador that Por-
tugal has freely given his government use of the Azores as
an air base, and that the agreement covering this will be
up for renewal in 1962."
No, they need not have reminded Mr. Elbrick of that.
He was fully aware of it. He promptly notified the State
Department that the whole tone of the Navy's negotia-
tions was irksome to the Portuguese who, after all, held a
trump card in the Azores base. The State Department
informed Elbrick: "We purposely make no reference to
the crew because we do not want Galvao to get his back
up. We can legitimately negotiate for the safety of the
passengers, but we are afraid that, if we start talking
about the crew, he may call off all bets and steam for
Angola. Once we get him in or near a port, our first duty
is to get the passengers off. Then we will work for the
safety of the crew."
But Elbrick was instructed not to pass on this strategy
disclosure to the Portuguese Government. It was consid-
ered too crucial to the whole maneuver. To let the Portu-
guese know might tip off Galvao. As long as Portuguese
Government spokesmen were publicly complaining about
the Americans' lack of expressed concern for the crew,
Galvao could still cling to the hope that he could keep
enough of the crew aboard to navigate the ship to wher-
ever he chose.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, Delgado called a news conference
at his apartment, crammed to the rafters with cheering
142 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Portuguese exiles who said they came to volunteer to fight
Salazar. Amid all the tears and flapdoodle, Delgado an-
nounced with a flourish that he was naming Galvao "dele-
gate plenipotentiary" for revolutionary action, whatever
that might mean.
In a high-sounding declaration, Delgado, as the self-
styled mastermind of the seizure of the Santa Maria,
ordered Galvao to prepare for "operations of liberation,
occupation, administration, and public order.'' He directed
that Galvao set up aboard the ship "an independent Junta
of Liberation." And he called on all governments "to give
directly or indirectly major help, moral and material, with
the objective of liberating the Portuguese nation from
slavery imposed by a totalitarian government,"
But, more importantly, Delgado tipped off the world to
the very real possibility now that Galvao was weakening
in his determination to bolt for Angola. Asked a question
on this point, Delgado replied with a sigh, "We did not
intend to go to Brazil but plans could change any time.
Everything is in the hands of Galvao,"
Aboard the Santa Maria, Galvao had his hands full. He
knew by now that he had a tiger by the tail. The trick was
to figure out how to let it go without being devoured.
Galvao still clung to a lingering hope that he could keep
the ship in his possession even if he should surrender his
hostages. When he received a wire from Admiral Dennison
that promised no interference if Galvao chose to debark
passengers at a port, he wanted to be sure this meant
he could sail away again, in command. He called in
Yunker to help him out with the message.
Things were not going well aboard the ship. The crew
grew more surly by the day, moving silently about their
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 143
tasks like caged animals. The Beat along the equator
gnawed at the nerves.
The First and Cabin Class passengers, emboldened by
the daily appearance of the American planes, approached
Galvao now with little or no deference, some of them
even with a patronizing air. These passengers had, in
fact, lost almost all of their fear of the rebels. Few both-
ered to lock their cabin doors any more. Rather, many
doors were left ajar at night, in hopes of catching a stray
Galvao had little concern about the First and Cabin
Class passengers. He had seen to it that very few of their
rights and privileges were impaired.
The danger, he knew, was in the Tourist Class, where
food and water rationing were working a real hardship.
Strange to say, it did not strike him at all as ironic that
the democratic revolt which he was leading left class lines
undisturbed. Although he preached a square deal for the
poor people of Portugal, he took only a few steps to give
a square deal to the poor people of the Santa Maria.
And even these were on the spectacular rather than the
He at first allowed the Tourist passengers to move
freely about the deck space and passageway previously
reserved for Cabin Class. But he later curtailed this
privilege because it was abused. The Tourists usurped the
deck chairs, for which Cabin Class passengers had planked
down two dollars each at the outset of the trip, and scat-
tered orange peels, cigarette butts, scraps of food and
paper about the decks. This litter lay where it fell for
a couple of days, until Cabin Class complained, and the
crew was goaded into sloshing it all away with fire hoses.
144 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Galvao also decreed that the Tourist children could
use the Cabin Class playroom. In this he persisted, true
to his Latin's love for children, despite complaints about
the youngstersparticularly when some of the older ones
extended their suzerainty to the adults' lounge, racing
around with cap pistols and playing pirates, much to the
discomfiture of their elders. One American lady was al-
most reduced to tears when a small Spanish boy crept
up behind her, jammed a cardboard pistol into her back
and yelled, "Bang!"
But First Class was inviolate. Except for Sotoinayor
and Velo, none of the rebels moved into First Class. While
the others, as well as scores of Tourist passengers, flowed
upward and took possession of Cabin Class rooms, Galvao
rigidly maintained the barriers between First Class and
the remainder of the ship.
The American passengers had been made aware of the
food problem in Third Class. A Spanish woman, obse-
quious in manner but determined to make her point, ac-
costed a group of Americans. With tears welling in her
eyes, she showed them what Third Class had been served
for dinner that night, It was a boiled potato, as hard
as a rock, and beans which scarcely had been near a fire.
There had been only soup for lunch, she said, and there
was no milk at all for the children.
The Americans talked about forming a committee to
go into Tourist Class and investigate. But, in the end, the
investigating committee could never get together. In-
stead, they sent a message to Galvao, imploring him to
improve the Tourist fare. He sent back word that lie
would try and, in the meantime, he ordered milk for the
As if these administrative problems were not enough,
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 145
Galvao's optimistic scheme for enlarging his band of rebels
was not doing well at all. He had depended upon the
pulling power of Professor Velo to swell the ranks of his
Salazar-hating entourage. Despite the best that Velo and
others could do at the daily indoctrination sessions with
the crew and Tourist passengers, only five persons among
the hundreds on board had elected to throw in their lot
with the rebels. None of the five, significantly enough,
came from the number of native Angolans in the Santa
The five, all unmarried Portuguese crewmen from Lis-
Victor Manoel Figueira Dias Algarves, eighteen, a bus-
Jose Prudencio Tinoco, twenty-three, a steward.
Hermogenio Antonio Borges da Silva, twenty-five, a
Joaquirn Andrade Goncalves, thirty-seven, an elec-
Joaquim de Almeida Tempero, thirty-three, a seaman.
As Tourist Class struggled against the heat and hunger,
especially the fretful children and the many pregnant
women aboard, and as the crew worried silently about
what Galvao would do with them, the Cabin and First
Class passengers faced two major concerns: uncertainty
and boredom. These took their food, ample and well-
cooked, as a matter of course. But they fussed over the
necessity of always keeping their bags packed, for they
never knew when Galvao's "manana" might come, and
time hung heavy on their hands. The card games, the
reading, the traipsing to meals three times a day, the tea
dances in the afternoon, the alternating dances and movies
in the eveningsthese were not enough to fill up the day.
146 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
The idle hours were devoted mainly to talk, usually specu-
lation about when and how they would disembark. Occa-
sionally there were sharp words, as when they chose
sides for or against Galvao or argued whether the Ameri-
can Navy was doing too much or not enough. John Daw-
son, for one, was against Galvao and could not for the
life of him understand why the Navy had not yet rescued
them. On the other hand, Eben Baty liked Galvao in the
three talks he had had with him, and growled that the
worst thing of all was the continual "buzzing" of the ship
by American planes.
At week's end, seven-year-old Debbie Smith made her
reappearance. She looked a bit wan, but her rash was
gone, and she started doing the rounds of the First Class
area, looking for things to do. Her mother, still fearful of
violence, was not sleeping well. But Mrs. Smith conquered
her distaste for the armed rebels lounging about the pool
and resumed swimming.
Mrs. Chubb had no time for boredom. She was still
catching up on her sleep after her bout with illness at
Seville before boarding the Santa Maria. And she devoted
her waking hours to trying to find out what was going
on in the drama being played about her. Nights, she wrote
all she had learned in her journal, taking care also to note
family events in it, such as:
"Friday, January 27, 1961 (Grandmother Patterson's
Arthur Douglas Patton decided it was about time to
throw over another bottle with a message in it. He had
already tossed out two on his European vacation, one on
the way over from the S.S. Dick Lykes out of New Or-
leans, and the other from the Santa Maria after leaving
TEDIUM AND SYMPATHY 147
La Guaira, Venezuela. One such bottle of his had been
found once, by a man on the beach at Devon, England.
The man's daughter, an attractive twenty-one-year-old
named Diana Quirk of Braunton, North Devon, had writ-
ten the Pattons and sent them a snapshot. They had sent
her a small collection of stamps in fulfillment of the mes-
sage's promise to reward the finder with "something of
value," He wrote a similar teaser message this time. On a
Santa Maria postcard he wrote, "If the finders of this
contact Douglas Patton at Boulder City, Nev., they will
learn something to their advantage." His intention this
time was to tell the finder that the bottle had been floated
from a "pirate ship," the Santa Maria.
The tension had ebbed, and that night, Friday, January
27, good looks and good manners scored a complete vic-
tory over fear. A number of the lady passengers got up
and danced with some of the rebels.
These were certainly among history's strangest "pi-
rates." All of them, from Galvao down to the youngest
teenager, were possessed of an Old World courtliness
which enchanted the American women aboard. It was
hard now to recall, on that sixth day of captivity, that it
had all started with a burst of death-dealing gunfire from
these exquisitely polite Latin gentlemen.
Some of the younger women among the third-class pas-
sengers were obviously seized with more than idle curi-
osity about their well-mannered captors. It soon became a
common sight groups of three or four young Spanish and
Portuguese girls, some of them strikingly lovely, clustered
about a rebel posted on guard duty. In the evenings the
younger men faced the happy dilemma of which among
the beauties to "date." They never lacked female com-
148 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
panionship, at any time. Galvao watched the shipboard
romances bloom, pretending not to notice but secretly
pleased, like an indulgent father.
In the lounge, on the nights when there were dances
instead o movies, they "dressed" for the evening. The
khaki uniforms with red and green armbands were shed
in the commandeered cabins, and the rebels appeared
at night in tropical business suits or sport shirts and slacks.
They paid for their drinks with American dollars, al-
though sometimes they put it on the cuff by writing
"D.R.I.L." across the check. And they never drank too
much. Their conduct was always exemplary. It was as-
sumed, however, that they always carried their pistols
June Preston was feeling a bit queasy. At lunchtime she
had not been able to finish her meal. She wondered
whether it was seasickness, a reaction against the heat and
the uncertainty, or something worse. In any event, she
passed up dinner for a light snack in her cabin and, after
putting her two youngest boys to bed, joined her husband
on deck to enjoy the night air and look at the Southern
Cross and other stars of the Southern Hemisphere. They
ignored the dance in the lounge, but it was good to listen
to the music while collapsed in a deck chair. Like most
of the other passengers, June drew comfort from the
winking green and red lights of the Navy plane as it cir-
cled ceaselessly over the Santa Maria.
But the next day it was gone.
THE TENSION GROWS
Rear Admiral Allen E. Smith, Jr., was all dressed up with
no place to go. Pursuant to his orders, he got set in San
Juan, Puerto Rico, for the hop across to Belem on the
morning of Saturday, January 28. There he was, in a fresh
white uniform, his four-engined Constellation standing
by, and a half-dozen reporters tagging along to watch him
at work. But his new orders were to hold it. The Brazilian
Government had stopped all flights of American planes
to and from Brazilian soil
The State Department in Washington was baffled at
first. How could it be? The explanation, as the Brazilian
Embassy gave it, was simple. The United States had neg-
lected to gain the proper clearances. A fast recheck with
American Ambassador John Moors Cabot in Brasilia soon
clarified the matter* There had been a misunderstanding.
The United States had asked permission for two types of
aircraft to land and take off from Recife and Belem. The
Brazilian Foreign Ministry had understood this to mean
a total of two airplanes and these were authorized. When
more than a dozen, began zooming in and out of the two
airfields, local officials complained to their government,
15O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
and Brasilia, ever mindful of its sovereignty, called a halt.
By Sunday morning, the necessary formalities were
completed. The American planes were flying patrol again,
and Admiral Smith climbed aboard his four-engined
charger and took off for Belem almost a whole day late.
No real harm had been done to the chase, for the Navy
kept watch on the Santa Maria through radio "fixes."
But the temporary absence of the aircraft jolted the pas-
sengers aboard the Santa Maria. The ship's beauty shop
operator grew so nervous that she could no longer dress
her customers' hair, and she canceled all her appoint-
ments. The Cabin Class maitre d'hotel went berserk. He
was locked in a cabin in the aft section of B deck. A little
later, two women telephone operators became hysterical.
They were locked into a cabin next to him. Their howling
and screaming and pounding on the door could easily be
heard by the Americans quartered in that part of the ship.
Laurence Williams, a Canadian, was so wary of the
rebels that he went to great pains to hide his journal
He wrote on the backs of ship's menus and he tucked other
notes between sheets of music.
Tension developed, too, among the Americans. Mrs.
Chubb, the mildest of souls, lost her temper at Mr. Church-
ill, accusing him of talking endlessly about nothing and
suggesting tartly that he try silence for a while. Angry
words between two men even led to a scuffle a shoving
match and not really a fist fight in which one of them
fell to the deck and broke his eyeglasses. Mrs. Bates was
shocked speechless when one of the little Preston boys
turned on her, as she sought to correct him, and snapped,
"Aw shut up!"
The behavior of the rebels did not help matters. They
were seen pulling covers off of lifeboats and inspecting
THE TENSION GROWS
the interiors of the craft. Rumors immediately swept the
ship that Galvao was going to set the passengers adrift
in them on the high seas. The question naturally arose
as to what one wore in a lifeboat. Somebody remembered
that in the movie "Lifeboat," Tallulah Bankhead had worn
a full-length mink coat. This set all the American women
to wondering whether they should take their fur coats
along. The Americans considered asking Galvao for a life-
boat drill. But they rejected this on the grounds that
the Portuguese and Spaniards aboard, as volatile Latins,
might mistake a drill for the real thing and set off a panic.
The Americans were at a loss as to how to cope with the
increasingly deep depression of the crew members they
Mrs. Boyce was disturbed by the despair of a third
engineer whose family she had met during her stay in
Portugal. The man was convinced that, as soon as the
passengers were unloaded, Galvao would head out to sea
and certain destruction by the Portuguese and Spanish
warships lurking there. The Portuguese officer was sure
he would die, and he asked only that Mrs. Boyce remem-
ber him to his family if she ever visited Portugal again.
Mrs. Chubb was still trying to divine the mystery of
the radio set which somebody had smuggled into her
room. She checked faithfully every day to see that it was
still undisturbed in its hiding place in her zipper-bag
luggage. But whenever she broached the subject to her
maid or the officer who seemed to be implicated, she was
invariably met with finger-to-lips signals to keep quiet
about the whole thing.
Galvao came up with a new wrinkle on Saturday night
to make the prospect of imminent debarkation even more
tantalizing. Over the loudspeaker he announced that two
152 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
American warships would come alongside and escort the
Santa Maria to a port, which would be reached in a couple
of days. It was maddening. Would this really happen? Or
was it just more of Galvao's "manana" talk?
The trouble was that, as soon as the temporizing made
the passengers completely impatient with Galvao, some-
thing charming would happen to take the steam out of
their anger. Professor Velo and his close friend from Vene-
zuela, the civil engineer Rafael Ojeda Henriquez, won
many a passenger away from wrath by the simple gra-
ciousness of their manner.
There were always little incidents, such as the time
Mrs. Chubb, going upstairs in semi-darkness, turned a
corner and bumped into Galvao, walking along, head
down, deep in thought.
"Oh, hello," she said.
"Good afternoon, Senhora/ 5 he replied, with a sweeping
bow, and went on his way, leaving the little old lady from
Pasadena delighted at the chance encounter.
"They really are gentle, quiet, courteous gentlemen,"
she said later.
But the adventure was beginning to pall on Mrs. Chubb.
That Saturday night, as she contemplated the possibilities,
she wrote in her journal:
Not knowing where I'm going, how I'm getting to
U.S. or when, I am uncertain of plans. A ride on a
battleship would be fun but crossing the Atlantic
again and again is tiresome. I'm tired. I'd prefer Pasa-
dena, but could I exert myself to get to Florida later?
The Portuguese company fine print seems to think
piracy is like an act of God! So they aren't responsible.
I surely would like clean clothes and a bath in clean
THE TENSION GBOWS 153
water, and relief from soggy, soggy hair. Most women
wear Lead scarves. We need them even in heat!
Things were beginning to get June Preston down, too.
Washing for her husband, herself and the four boys
took up all her spare time. She was forever doing laundry,
and the uneasy feeling at the pit of her stomach was
persisting. The boys were getting harder to manage.
Steven, the two-year-old, and Donald, five, were growing
bored playing cheques, the Venezuelan term for automo-
bile crashes, with their string-pulled, wooden cars. Steven
lately had taken to rushing up to rebel guards and butting
them like a billy goat. Always, the men were tolerant of
the little boy's mischief. They played with him, indulgent
but wary whenever he lowered his head and went into
his butting stance.
Mrs. Lucille Williamson, forty-two, a widow from Bat-
tle Creek, Michigan, grew in personality as the tension
increased. Whereas at the outset she had seemed cold
and withdrawn to her fellow passengers in Cabin Class,
now she seemed to blossom with each passing day. She
had struck up a cordial, restrained friendship with one of
the ship's officers and, somehow, this seemed to make her
prettier, more congenial She voiced no complaints about
the uncertainty of the ship's fate and she accepted cheer-
fully whatever privations accrued from the strange activ-
ity. She was with a cheerful group, the others at her table
being Mrs. Chubb, the friendly and talkative Nat Logan-
Smith and Martin Yunker, who entranced his fellow diners
with detailed reports on his chats with Galvao.
Yunker was called to Galvao's side on Saturday to join
in a radio conversation with a circling Navy Neptune, It
was an important talk. After assuring the pilot, Com-
154 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
mander William Webster of Bingham, Massachusetts, that
all was well aboard, Yunker translated Galvao's new offer.
Galvao, for the first time, said flatly he would be willing
to let the passengers off at tf 'any selected Brazilian port,"
as long as nobody would try to take the ship away from
Webster promptly relayed this to his superiors. It was
the break they had been waiting for. It was clear that
Galvao had been prompted to make his offer by reports
of a newspaper interview with Janio Quadros, to be sworn
in on Tuesday, January 31, as president of Brazil. The in-
terviewer quoted Quadros as saying: "Henrique Galvao is
my old friend. Being my friend, he knows I will not turn
over the ship to Portuguese authorities in any manner."
This was a far cry from the statements of the outgoing
regime of President Juscelino Kubitschek. The Kubitschek
government had offered political asylum to Galvao and his
men, but said the ship had to be taken over and returned
to Portugal under international law. Galvao was delighted.
If Quadros would take off the passengers, allow him to re-
fuel and replenish and be on his way, there was still a
chance that he could continue to defy Salazar. What did
it matter if the Santa Maria were torpedoed and sunk? All
the better, for that would further dramatize Salazar's con-
tempt for human life. Galvao did not mind dying at all,
if it were for The Cause, and his men were prepared to die
with him. The crew, however, had other ideas.
Captain Mario Simoes Maia ? obedient but sullen, did
what Galvao and Sotomayor told him to do. He assisted
in the navigation and, by his example of cooperation,
helped keep the crew in line. But the captain and his crew,
except for the five who went over to the side of the rebels,
did not fancy themselves as sacrificial lambs on the altar
THE TENSION GROWS 155
of Galvao's hatred for Salazar. They wanted to live. Lack-
ing the courage to revolt, they resorted to sly sabotage.
Water taps were left running all night at times, to drain
away the Santa Marias meager supply of fresh water. The
engines were tinkered with, to make them less effective
and to increase fuel consumption. Captain Maia purposely
made slight errors in navigation, so that the ship kept mov-
ing closer to the Brazilian coastline as it steamed in circles
below the equator.
Sunday, January 29, dawned exceedingly warm. June
and Floyd Preston, sweltering with the rest of the passen-
gers, had an added botheration. The four Preston boys
were clamoring again to go swimming. A few children al-
ready were in the pool, Dutch children mostly, and they
looked so cool and carefree, straw-colored hair plastered
to their heads, as gracefully at ease in the water as otters.
"All right," June sighed. "Let's go get our suits on."
There was a mad dash to Cabins No. 15 and 17, and in
less time than it takes to tell, all six Prestons marched out
in bathing suits. June led the way, hoping to be able to
share the two life rings she had spotted at the pool earlier,
since none of her boys could swim a stroke.
"Me first! Me first!" cried two-year-old Steven.
June went down the ladder into the pool and Floyd
handed over a squirming Steven. Bobbing in the life ring,
Steven reached down with both feet for the bottom. He
was about ten feet too short to reach it. He let out a howl.
He wanted no part of all that much water. In a few sec-
onds, he was back on the deck, content to do any further
"swimming" in the big bathtub of Cabin No. 15.
Donald, five, went in up to his ankles on the ladder,
thought better of it, and solemnly joined Steven on deck.
The older boys, Harold, and Bruce, put on the two life
156 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
rings and splashed about happily. This emboldened Don-
ald and, after awhile, he tried again, and this time he
found it great fun being towed about the pool in a life
ring by his mother.
After an hour or so, the Prestons shooed their children
out on deck so they could enjoy themselves without having
to watch little boys in life rings. June dove in and stayed
under, swimming below the surface. Steven screeched in
He thought she had disappeared forever in that bottom-
less pit. He was incredulous but relieved when she bobbed
up at the other end. There was more to this swimming
business than sitting in a bathtub.
It was a pleasant diversion for the Prestons, and that
afternoon, tired out from the water, they all took naps.
They trooped to tea afterward and, in the early evening,
stood at the railing and cheered when the Navy recon-
naissance plane appeared. They had taken to calling it
"The Evening Mail" and its absence the day before, when
flights out of Brazil had been grounded in the protocol
mixup, had been acutely felt.
That night June and Floyd were in the bar when Galvao
entered. He looked bedraggled, as if the heat were getting
to him, too. The black beret was set at its familiar jaunty
angle. But his khaki shirt and trousers were soiled and
rumpled, and those shoulder boards! They drooped dis-
mally toward Galvao's armpits, giving him the classic look
of a military sad sack.
Galvao talked to Cecil and Joan Harberson. He told
them he expected to confer the next day with the Ameri-
can admiral. Any day now, he said, the passengers would
be getting off the ship. He said some newsmen were going
THE TENSION GROWS 157
to parachute to the Santa Maria. And he explained how
his old friend, Janio Quadros, who would become presi-
dent of Brazil in two days, had apparently promised to let
him deposit the passengers at a Brazilian port and sail on
This news was all over the ship before the sun had fully
risen on the next day, Monday, January 30, the ninth day
of captivity. To some, it gave new hope. But the majority
snorted in disgust. Galvao's "manana* promises had pro-
duced more cynics than the boy who cried, "Wolf!" Even
that perennial optimist, Mrs. Chubb, was at last disillu-
A FAREWELL FIESTA
Mrs. Chubb had the clear impression, from Galvao's an-
nouncements on Saturday, the American warships would
come alongside on Sunday to escort the Santa Maria into
port for debarkation of passengers. She had gotten ready.
She stayed up until one o'clock Sunday morning, repack-
ing her bags. She washed out her brown and blue gingham
dress by hand and tipped her maid a dollar to iron it. She
saved the dress, wearing around during the day what she
later called "most distressingly mussed clothes." She said
goodbye to her friends in the crew in the morning, and
she said goodbye to them after lunch. By tea time, it was
apparent nothing was going to happen, and so, feeling
pretty downhearted, she changed into fresh clothes and
played bridge until dinner. She turned in early. Monday
was her birthday and she recorded it in her journal:
January 30, 1961 This yist birthday opens drear-
ily. . . .
The ship just marks time, an hour or so south, an
hour or so north, a turn about. The water is supposed
to be seven miles deep so there is no anchor and we
can't stand still Moving is helpful, air is dislocated,
A FAREWELL FIESTA
but it is always hot and humid eight degrees south
of the Equator. . . .
I am not unpacking in this heat and humidity.
Clothes can't get more mussed. I dig my fingers in
and hunt for what I need. This morning a pair of
stockings. I roll them way down and my feet are
more comfortable than when bare in my heavy shoes.
The children grow more noisy and freer in their
scampering. Few cry and all are remarkably clean.
How mothers manage it, I do not know.
We are jealous! First Class has no invaders. Even
the three Liberator leaders appear rarely for meals.
With fifty-seven or so passengers, they have a swim-
ming pool, wide almost empty decks, dining room,
library, empty lounge, bar, writing room. With 100
passengers we have most of Liberators, and at least
100 or so Third Class passengers on our decks. . . .
Everyone is lackadaisical, boredom and weather.
Our food is less and less appetizing, again boredom,
and also fewer changes. Rumors are terrific, people
are less attractive. Escaping is practiced by the people
I like best. Each of us goes to our rooms to read or
sleep or tries to find an out-of-the-way corner. A few
blustering American men worry me more than the
Liberators. They can't see that arguments with our
captors could produce a riot in our congested, almost
The restraint of a Liberator should have put them
to shame yesterday when a man tried to tell him off
and show him his sins. The Liberator replied vehe-
mently in Spanish, shook his fist and walked away..
He could have pulled the gun at his hip.
Our stairs and cabin corridors are quite dark. A riot
l6o THE FLOATING KEVOLUTION
would cause accidents at best . . . heart attacks . , .
anything could happen. I'd sure hate to have restric-
tions put upon us, but loud argumentative people
need to be sent to their cabins. . . .
If the Cruise in the South Atlantic lasts much
longer, the population will increase. A dozen or so
women's time must be approaching fast. ( A baby was
born last day).
But Mrs. Chubb's pessimism was short-lived.
All in all, it was an amazing day, with tension flowing
up and down like a barometer gone haywire. It was, as
Mrs. Chubb was to remark many times afterward, "quite
a birthday for an old lady!"
There was, to begin with, land. Not much of it, just three
vague points showing on the horizon. Rumors buzzed
about the ship that it was Brazil, and there was sound
like a low keening as the people gathered at the rail and
murmured about those beckoning patches of bluish purple
so far away. It was the first land they had seen since paus-
ing at St. Lucia exactly one week before.
Soon, it became clear that it must be Brazil, Recife in
fact. In the bar, television sets were receiving broadcasts
from the Recife station. Every time the words Santa
Maria were mentioned, a crowd of viewers quickly gath-
ered. Many of the rebels spent hours in the bar, watching
television. The passengers speculated that Galvao was
circling between twenty and fifty miles off Recife, waiting
for his conference at sea with the American admiral and
killing time until his friend, Janio Quadros, became presi-
dent of Brazil. A low-silhouetted ship, possibly a destroyer,
lay far off on the horizon, too. Could the American ad-
miral be aboard that craft?
A FAREWELL FIESTA l6l
It was on this day, too, that the people of the Santa
Maria first felt the direct impact of the scores of reporters,
photographers and cameramen who had swooped down
on Brazil to record the floating revolution.
They had come from four continents, more than a hun-
dred of them, and they swarmed into Recife like locusts.
Recife, slumbering in the equatorial backwaters of the
world, was totally unprepared for the invasion. But it
learned quickly, and the economic boom was great while
it lasted. It would be a long time before boat owners, tele-
phone operators, telegraphers, cab drivers, bell boys, bar-
tenders, waiters, hostesses, bank clerks and various and
sundry factotums forgot the week that The Press came to
town in quest of the Santa Maria.
Struggling with bulky television cameras and lights or
strutting jauntily with trench coat and attache case, they
made themselves unselfconsciously at home, for home to
them was anywhere that big news broke. They were globe
trotters who always kept a suitcase handy and their pass-
ports and expense accounts up to date, ready to cover an
Asian war today, an American presidential inauguration
next week and a French film festival the week after. They
all had the same orders from their editors: get aboard the
"pirate ship," and get there first.
The Grande Hotel, because it had the best accommoda-
tions as well as a commanding view of the harbor and the
ocean beyond, was their natural headquarters. They met
in the lobby, with great hoorahs and handshakes, like Old
Grads on Founders Day, and in the second-floor bar, where
they could sip and look out the French windows at the
"Hi, therel Ottawa, wasn't it? Queen Elizabeth's visit
l62 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
"Hi, there! Haven't seen you since Khrushchev at Coon
"Hi, there! I remember-the Summit Conference last
"Hi, there! The Tokyo riots . . . right?"
Soon they got down to the business at hand. They
brought each other up to date on what the Santa Maria
and the Navy were doing. But it was understood that,
when it came to the main event, the actual effort to slip
aboard the runaway liner, it would be every man for him-
self, and devil take the hindmost.
What a grand race it was! They called it "The Recife
Regatta," and they pressed into service every ratty, leaky
tub that could float. There were tugboats, sloops, launches
andwhen the Santa Maria came within sight even skiffs.
The wily fishermen of Recife soon saw they had a good
thing going, and the rental prices skyrocketed. For one
sortie in a tugboat, when the Santa Maria was about fifty
miles offshore, the price was $2,900, and a clever skipper
might be able to work in two trips in a day. The going
rate for a fishing launch, thirty to forty feet long, was
"Not all the pirates are at sea," the correspondents
grumbled. But they shelled out and wired home for more
money. The boat owners, wallets bulging with twenty-
dollar bills, held out one hand for the money and, with
the other, waved away would-be clients who had arrived
at the dock too late.
The first view the passengers had of the "rats of Recife"
was a little single-engined airplane, painted a gay green
and red, circling low overhead. In the opening where the
door had been, a young man braced himself in a kneeling
position. The plane dropped down and flew just above the
A FAREWELL FIESTA 163
water, at about deck level, and the young man pressed a
camera against his face, squinting as he sighted in on the
Santa Maria and pressed a button to start his camera whir-
ring. Then late in the afternoon, a battered old fishing boat
appeared and pulled alongside the Santa Maria. Passen-
gers crowded to the rail to look down on it. A rope ladder
was lowered, and five men, as unkempt a lot as the Santa
Maria's passengers had ever seen, clambered up from the
bobbing fishing boat. It was hard to believe, but these five
ragged visitors were newsmen, the first to board the elu-
sive liner. They conferred at length with Galvao and then
mingled with the passengers, asking questions and shoot-
ing pictures all over the ship. Their presence assured the
passengers that they were no longer isolated.
Most encouraging of all, Galvao finally made two moves
that gave credence to his pledge that relief was near. He
posted landing instructions on the bulletin boards and had
them read over the loudspeaker system. Also, and this was
really the most unbelievable sign he announced that he
was throwing a farewell dinner that night for the First
and Cabin Class passengers.
Galvao's landing instructions were clear enough. Pas-
sengers would be allowed to carry a small bag of personal
belongings with them. The rest of their luggage was to be
left in the cabin, to be searched and taken ashore later.
Passengers were not to carry ashore anything for the crew.
Nor were they to take with them any firearms or records
of the ship. A strict priority of departure was set up: preg-
nant women, sick persons and the families of these would
be first. Next would go married couples and their children.
Finally, single persons could leave. It looked good for the
passengers, but there was small comfort in this program
for the crew.
164 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
This was becoming a very sore point on the interna-
tional scene as well as aboard the Santa Maria. The Portu-
guese Government, in its daily contacts with American
Ambassador Elbrick in Lisbon, hammered at the theme
that sheer humanitarianism demanded that the United
States seek the release of the 356 crew members. It went
beyond that. Dr. Jose Scares da Fonseca, chairman of the
board of the Companhia Colonial de Navegacao, owners
of the Santa Maria, cabled President Kennedy from Lis-
bon. He urged that the American Navy work for the free-
ing of the crew members "who are also human beings and
have been in even bigger danger." The company disclosed
that it had called on Interpol, the international police or-
ganization, to intervene to restore the ship "with the same
expediency as it deals with other cases of international as-
sault and robbery." Portugal's National Syndicate of Sea-
farers also cabled President Kennedy, appealing for an
effort to save the crew. A similar plea came from Manuel
Cardinal Goncalves Cerejeira, patriarch of Lisbon.
Aboard the Santa Maria, as cooks scrambled about pre-
paring the night's banquet and the print shop dropped
everything else to turn out an especially designed sou-
venir menu, Galvao was having one of his busiest clays in
the radio room.
Galvao's spirits were buoyed by two messages from
Carlos Lacerda, governor of Guanabara, the state in Bra-
zil which encompasses Rio de Janeiro. First, Lacerda sug-
gested Galvao stay out of a Brazilian port until after
Quadros' inauguration the next day. The governor prom-
ised to do all in his power to see that the Santa Maria
remained in Galvao's hands. Then, Lacerda reported that
he had talked with Alfonso Arimos and Silvio Heck, des-
A FAREWELL FIESTA 165
ignated as Foreign Minister and Navy Minister, respec-
tively, in the incoming administration. Lacerda added:
"President Janio lias declared to the press that he will
assure disembarkation of passengers, political asylum for
you and your companions as well as to maintain you in
command of the ship Santa Maria.
"While these declarations are not confirmed officially, I
can tell you this is really the thought of the new Presi-
Galvao promptly messaged his thanks to Lacerda. He
emphasized that his mission aboard the Santa Maria was
"to open most active hostilities to advance the liberation
of the motherland."
Galvao swapped a number of messages with the Ameri-
can hurricane-hunter plane, piloted by Commander Wil-
liam Webster around the Santa Maria that bright, sunny
"Admiral Smith will board the destroyer Gearing at day-
light tomorrow to proceed to rendezvous area," Webster
told Galvao. "Disembarkation of passengers to take place
tomorrow if possible."
Galvao agreed to the rendezvous, and he added, "We
will be looking forward to arriving in Recife."
Webster messaged that the Brazilian Government, as
such, had given no formal assurances that Galvao could
sail on after he entered Brazilian waters. But Galvao dis-
missed this word of caution with lavish praise for Qua-
dros, saying he would settle details with Admiral Smith
on the morrow.
"There is no doubt that with the new Government we
will have the best reception and treatment," Galvao said.
"1 am sorry that the passengers had to have their route
l66 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
changed. But I was also obliged to change my route. All
passengers have had their rights respected and to the
present moment there has been no trouble between them
Galvao called Howard Weisberger of Las Vegas to the
radiophone. He wanted Weisberger to confirm for the
Navy plane that all was well between the captors and
captives aboard the ship.
"Our morale is good, primarily because of the frequent
appearance of American naval aircraft/' Weisberger said.
Galvao was pleased with his day's work. He looked for-
ward to the banquet with relish. If there was anything he
loved and understood, it was style. Sometimes., during this
hot and taxing cruise, things had not gone as stylishly as
he desired. But this night he hoped to make the passen-
gers forget any little crudities or lapses in protocol. With
the banquet all laid out, the First and Second Class pas-
sengers seated, and the ship's orchestra playing gay, un-
obtrusive music, Galvao had one more order to give.
"Champagne for Third Class," he told the ship's com-
missary, and it was duly sent down.
And then, flanked by Velo and Sotomayor, Galvao swept
grandly into the First Class lounge. With a flourish, they
seated themselves at a "captain's table." Galvao admired
the menu, printed to his precise specifications. Its head-
ing, in Portuguese and English, said:
SANTA MARIA EN ROUTE TO LIBERTY
Monday, January 30, 1961
It offered a wide variety of choices. There were three
kinds of soup. As a fish course, one could have either
salmon or lobster. The entree could be either Tournedos
A FAREWELL FIESTA l6/
Saute Montmorency or Chicken Chipolata. Vegetables in-
cluded artichokes, potatoes cocotte, green peas, and aspar-
agus with Dutch sauce. The salad was lettuce with just
about any dressing imaginable, including A-i sauce and
Miracle- whip. There also was a cold buffet offering York
and smoked ham, chicken, roast lamb, and leg o pork.
There were Portuguese wines, of course, and to top it all
off there were cheeses, orange pudding, nuts and fruits,
and instant coffee.
For once, there were no political harangues. It was a
happy, carefree evening, the strongest sign yet to the pas-
sengers that their ordeal might truly be nearing an end.
Galvao would not squander his limited resources in so
profligate a gesture if he did not expect to stock up again
very soon. And that meant, hopefully, that the passengers
could leave the ship.
Many of the Second Class passengers came to the head
table, menu and ballpoint pen in hand. Galvao, Velo and
Sotornayor were busy for the better part of an hour, sign-
Arthur Douglas Patton got all three. He went up on a
dare, and he was glad he did.
"Something to show our grandchildren/' he told his
The evening went well until instant-coffee time. Shortly
before ten o'clock, when the tables had been cleared of
dinnerware and the orchestra swung into dance music, the
First Class passengers rose and left. It was a calculated
snub, but Galvao gave no indication that he noticed.
Other people began to dance. After-dinner drinks flowed
and the party was soon in full swing. Galvao, signing auto-
graphs and chatting benevolently, basked in the warm
glow of the get-together. Somebody started tossing colored
l68 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
paper streamers over the dancers and there was merry
laughter as the tempo of the orchestra quickened.
"A real fiesta," Nat Logan-Smith said.
June and Floyd Preston walked out with the other First
Class passengers as soon as the dinner was over. Floyd re-
paired to the bar to watch television. There was more
about the Santa Maria now, even jokes, such as "The
Santa Maria Dance Step one with lots o back and forth
It had not been a very pleasant day for June Preston. She
had come down with dysentery the night before and spent
the day in bed. The ship's doctor dropped in about noon
to give her antibiotic pills and prescribe a diet of water,
tea, and sweet biscuits. Her husband had undertaken to
keep their four boys out of mischief.
June went to her cabin, where the sight of over-used
towels almost sickened her again. She had had to ask for
clean sheets that day. Bed bugs. They had nibbled on her
all day as she lay a-bed during her indisposition, and the
sheets were stained with blood where she had inadvert-
ently squashed them.
Nobody enjoyed the farewell dinner-dance more than
Galvao. Unhappily a brief encounter on the way to his
cabin robbed him of his gay mood. As lie passed a crew-
man in a dimly lit passageway, he caught the man's eye.
He was taken aback by the cold insolence of the stare*
What dangers lurked in the mind behind such eyes?
'SET THESE PEOPLE FREE!"
Galvao was disturbed by the sullen new look of the crew.
But it was only one of many worries. His ship, his be-
loved "Santa Liberdade," was in trouble. It was not only
the air conditioning breakdown, and the Third Class drop-
pings littering the Cabin Class area like a picnic ground
on a summer weekend. Worse still, one turbine could do
little more than limp along. Water, food and fuel were
low. The sea was intruding through a defect in the packing
of the port propeller shaft, and the list to that side was
becoming very noticeable. There was no hope of making
these repairs, or even of fixing the air conditioning, with-
out a stay in port of several days. But how could he swing
So far, he had only a newspaper report and the word of
Governor Lacerda that Quadros would permit him to keep
the Santa Maria if ho entered Brazil's territorial waters.
Quadros would be sworn in as president at noon that day,
Tuesday, January 31. Galvao waited impatiently for offi-
cial word from Quadros assuring him of nonintervention.
In response to- queries from the Brazilian press, he sent a
message aimed at drawing out Quadros. It said, "I hope to
enter Recife on the same solemn day that Brazil initiates
17O THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
a new era headed by your admirable and honored Presi-
But first there was Rear Admiral Allen E. Smith, Jr., to
deal with. At dawn, the admiral steamed from Recife,
about forty miles northwest of the Santa Marias position.
With him aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Gearing were sixty-
six reporters and photographers from all over the world.
Smith sailed amid a great whoopdedoo about having se-
cret instructions from Washington. Navy spokesmen said
the orders were in a sealed envelope brought by Com-
mander J. E. Tingle of Fort Worth, Texas, skipper of the
Gearing. In a move to forestall reporters' inquiries, but
hardly flattering to Admiral Smith, the spokesmen had an-
nounced on Monday, January 30, in Recife:
"The admiral will meet Captain Henrique Galvao
aboard the Santa Maria at daylight tomorrow morning.
The purpose of the meeting will be to confer with Captain
Galvao and to attempt to reach an agreement with him on
the disembarkation of passengers, in accordance with in-
structions which he will receive from the destroyer Gear-
ing, which is to arrive in Recife at five o'clock local time.
"The Admiral emphasizes that at the moment he doesn't
know what his instructions will be."
The announcement added that the destroyers U.S.S.
Vogelgesang, U.S.S. Wilson and U.S.S. Damato "arc ex-
pected in the Recife area shortly." It said they would "be
available to assist Admiral Smith in carrying out his in-
structions in accordance with agreements reached with
That sounded as if the Navy might finally accede to
Galvao's demands that the passengers be transferred to
other ships on the high seas. How else would all those
destroyers be helpful?
"SET THESE PEOPLE FBEE!" 171
If Galvao wanted to, al he had to do was to steam into
Recife at high tide, tie up at a pier, drop a gangplank and
wish the passengers Godspeed. But he still was not sure
that he could then set sail again. To make him even more
uneasy, he had picked up a news broadcast in which Qua-
dros had cast doubt on the newspaper story quoting him,
declaring, "When I have something to say about the Santa
Maria, I will not say it in this manner, and I have nothing
to say right now."
Galvao, mindful of the surly mood of the crew and the
restiveness in Third Class, took certain security precau-
tions. He knew the presence of official visitors aboard
would create excitement, so he ordered the barriers sepa-
rating the three classes to be raised and locked in place.
From the flying bridge, Galvao watched the Gearing
approach at a fast clip from Recife. A few thousand yards
away she slowed down and ran up flags, announcing her
presence and requesting a radio frequency for voice con-
tact, Galvao was annoyed at the smartness with which the
Gearing sailed and executed her turns.
"We are obliged," he snapped over the radio in Spanish,
"to reject as an unfriendly act toward our conduct the
fact that the American destroyer has come into a position
of combat. I recognize your dress."
From the Gearing, Ernest S. Guaderrama, the American
consul in Recife, hastened to assure Galvao that the Ameri-
cans came in peace.
"I beg your pardon/" Galvao said, after a pause. "Thank
you very much."
At the prompting of the newsmen, the Gearing asked if
Galvao would permit reporters and photographers aboard.
He replied that all of them were welcome except Arthur
Agostino, a Portuguese who, in a radio broadcast from Rio
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
de Janeiro, had caEed the rebels "killers, murderers and
thieves." Agostino was not aboard. It made no difference,
however, for Admiral Smith had orders not to take any
newsmen with him except a reporter and a photographer
from the Navy, both enlisted men.
When she spied the Gearing early on that morning of
January 31, Mrs. Edna Chubb thought it was one of the
most beautiful sights she had ever seen. The lean, grey-
hound lines of the destroyer made the Santa Maria seem
fat and gross by comparison. She studied the number on
the Gearings bow "871" in black and white block let-
teringas if it were the "Mona Lisa/' She saw the newsmen
lining the Gearings railing and she watched intently as
the Gearing put a launch over the side and about ten men,
some in uniform and others in mufti, got aboard. Their
bright orange Mae West lif ejackets gave them a gay, carni-
val air. This impression was heightened as the launch
bobbed across the two hundred yards of choppy water
separating the two ships and Mrs. Chubb saw that the
bowed canvas sunshade of the launch was decorated at
either end with short, fat tassels, dancing with the pitch
and roll of the boat.
The Gearing arrived at half past seven, but it was an
hour before Admiral Smith set foot on the boarding ladder
of the Santa Maria. Galvao, Velo and Sotomayor stood
stiffly at attention at the top of the gangway. Their khaki
uniforms, although carefully pressed, lacked the immacu-
late look of the white tunics and trousers of the American
and Brazilian officers who came silently aboard, saluted
and shook hands with a mumbled, "How do you do?"
Martin Yunker walked with the entourage to the First
Class library, and a number of other Americans trailed
along, too. Yunker had been asked by Galvao to serve as
his interpreter. He had balked at doing the job alone,
"SET THESE PEOPLE FREE!** 173
however, and at his request Galvao agreed to a second
interpreter, Senora Gonsuelo Gonzales del Tanago of
Madrid, Spain. She was a lovely young woman, about
thirty, the mother o three children with another on the
way. She had those big, round Spanish eyes that seem
always on the verge of tears, and a small mouth with full,
pouting lips. Senora Gonzales was perfectly bilingual and
Yunker was pleased that she would sit in on the confer-
ence. As it turned out, however, very little Spanish was
used, and the interpreting was done by Ernest Guader-
rama, the bespectacled, solemn-faced American consul at
Recife, who was in Admiral Smith's party.
Passengers and crew crowded around. Women wept
unrestrainedly and there were shouts of "Gracias, Ameri-
canos!" The hopes of all aboard went into the conference
room, and there was a m&lee of knees and elbows as many
of the onlookers managed to fight their way inside, too,
to stand silently by as the talks began. But they were soon
asked to leave, which they did, only to hang around in
the lounge and on deck, waiting and watching. The Gear-
ing circled the Santa Maria as the conference wore on.
A tugboat loaded with newsmen came alongside, belch-
ing black smoke that poured into the hot cabins and pas-
sageways amidships and smarted the nose and eyes. The
reporters and photographers clamored to come aboard,
but the rebels on guard at the gangway grimly shook
their heads. Two tiny light planes droned overhead, like
dragonflies reconnoitering a fishpond. The passengers,
waiting as their fate was being decided, watched all this
and envied the people aboard the destroyer, the tugboat
and the airplanes who were there by choice and who
knew as a certainty they would soon be ashore, on dry
On the Gearing, there was a commotion. A low silhou-
174 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
ette had been sighted on the horizon, moving quickly
toward the rendezvous point. Was it the Portuguese frig-
ate Pero Escobar, come to wreak revenge on Galvao?
Navy binoculars trained on the intruding warship. A
blinker message, requesting indentification, was flashed.
Back came the response, and a sigh of relief went up on
the Gearing. It was the American destroyer U.S.S. Da-
mato, arriving to give a hand. It joined the Gearing in
circling the Santa Maria.
In the library, Galvao and Smith conducted their talks
with a caution worthy of a summit conference. Adhering
strictly to his instructions, Admiral Smith appealed to
Galvao's humanitarian instincts, arguing that he should
dock at Recife and set the passengers free. But Galvao
was adamant. He would gladly surrender the passengers
but he would never give up the ship.
"I would sink it first/* Galvao declared. "I will defend
myself. And I think the Americans should protect my
ship, because American passengers are aboard. But I do
not believe the Brazilians will try to interfere with the
The admiral, his pink face turned almost beet red by
the exertion of coming aboard, the heat and the tension
of negotiating, asked with deceptive calm what would
Galvao do if the Brazilians refused his request.
"I would decide right away to go to another place."
"Accra, in Ghana, and we would need American pro-
tection and fuel."
Smith could see he was getting nowhere. Galvao would
give up the passengers, but only with assurances which
the United States could not provide. It was by no means
certain that a President Quadros would be as firmly pro-
"SET THESE PEOPLE FREE!" 175
Galvao as a President-elect Quadros. And it was unthink-
able that the United States would allow itself to be
maneuvered into a position of providing food, fuel and
protection. At the same time, Galvao could not be allowed
to sail off to Africa with a shipload of hostages. Smith
suddenly lost his temper, as he looked into the beautiful,
perennially sorrowful eyes of Senora Gonzales, seated at
the table in her role as standby interpreter.
"You must set these people free!" he cried. "Why, here's
a young lady with tears in her eyes!"
Galvao was unmoved. The conference floundered along
a bit more until, at the end of two hours, it reached its
inconclusive end. Galvao would release the passengers
but he wanted the ship and the crew as well as food,
water, fuel and an armed escort against the Portuguese
and Spanish warships. Smith arose with a feeling of
In the lounge, he addressed the passengers as Guader-
rama, armed with a pencil and a huge pad of paper,
sought out the Americans and took down their names
and addresses and whatever comments or requests they
had. Guaderrama was a gentle, slow-moving man who did
his work with the bedside manner of a good country doc-
tor. Talking to him and listening to the admiral over the
public address system, the Americans felt their hopes rise.
"You have the sympathy of the entire world," Admiral
Smith said. **I have just conducted a conference with Cap-
tain Galvao. He has given me strong reason to believe
that he intends to discharge all passengers.
"Within twenty-four hours, I hope all of you will be
disembarked. Do not, however, be too optimistic. He
has promised to confer with me again if his plans are
1/6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Just as the admiral and his party prepared to leave, a
shout arose on deck and people looked up, pointing and
jabbering excitedly. Two men had leaped from the two
light planes and they floated toward the water, their
white parachutes brilliant against the deep blue of the
midday equatorial sky.
One of them was Gil Delamar, daredevil French para-
chutist and photographer for the Dalmas Agency. He had
announced in Paris that he would go to Brazil, hire a
plane and bail out over the Santa Maria. An "old friend"
of Galvao, he was confident he would be picked up and
taken aboard. The other jumper was Charles Bonnay of
the Black Star Agency. Also a French parachutist and
photographer, he had vowed to board the runaway ship,
too. Both landed at least a thousand yards from their
target. Delamar had the better luck. He was picked up
by the newsmen's tugboat but, before the tug could reach
Bonnay, the American destroyer U.S.S. Gearing went
A line was tossed to Bonnay from, the Gearing. Making
a great show of struggling with his shroud lines and the
waterproof aluminum box containing his photographic
gear, Bonnay allowed the line from the Gearing to slip
away from him. He waved for the tugboat to come for
him. Again the Gearing heaved him a line. Again he let
it get away from him and waved to the tugboat.
By that time, Bonnay's sinking parachute was pulling
him under. The shroud lines sank and fouled about his
feet, pinning them so that he could not tread water* He
pulled out a knife and stabbed at the lines, but the choppy
waves were banging him against the hull of the Gearing,
This time, when a line was thrown, he grabbed it for
dear life, wrapped it several times around his wrists and
THESE PEOPLE FREE!" 177
yelled to the American sailors to pull him up. He swal-
lowed a lot of salt water before he finally broke free and
made it to the Gearings welcome deck.
The tug veered away and went alongside the Santa
Maria. Galvao, in recognition of the bravery of his old
friend, Gil Delamar, permitted him aboard. Bonnay was
hauled before Admiral Smith, now back on his own ship,
who began to dress him down for defying his orders that
no newsmen were to attempt to board the runaway liner.
But before the admiral could get started, the younger
man at twenty-six, Bonnay could have been Smith's son-
tore into him, denouncing the Gearing for interfering with
his plan to parachute his way aboard the Santa Maria.
Not a word of thanks from Bonnay for saving his life,
only reproaches for preventing him from boarding the
Santa Maria! Outraged, the admiral ordered the saucy
young Frenchman out of his cabin. He was taken back
to Recife with the sixty-six other, less daring newsmen.
Then the admiral returned to his prime problem.
"The picture is not as definite as all concerned would
like it to be," Smith told a press conference on the Gear-
ing. "Our only interest is to get the passengers off safely.
We talked with cpite a few passengers aboard the Santa
Maria and they were very nervous and apprehensive, liv-
ing on hopes and promises."
And what of the crew? They had little hope and no
promises at all. Only the guns of the rebels kept the crew
from mutiny. They worked listlessly, and the clutter of
one clay became part of the next day's. Nobody bothered
to sweep or wash down the decks. Refuse accumulated
undisturbed. Clean towels and linen were almost impos-
sible to get. More than a hundred Third Class passengers
had moved into Cabin Class, and it was noticed that some
178 THE FLOATING HEVOLUTION
of these squatters were pretty girls who danced with the
rebels and went off with them in the evenings. Some crew-
men were seen talking with small groups of grim-faced
passengers from Third Class. There was an affinity here,
a mutuality of suffering, and it was beginning to strike
Galvao and Professor Velo met with the crew that
night. They outlined the talk they had had with Admiral
Smith, and they sought understanding for their position.
But there was none. The crew wanted off. Galvao left
the meeting deeply troubled. Some crewmen had cried
during the meeting. It was a dangerous thing when men
publicly shed tears of fear and frustration.
Ashore, there was emotion, too. Delgado flew into Re-
cife from Sao Paulo at dusk. He played the conquering
hero bit to the hilt, making a speech at the airport on
arrival, allowing himself to be swept triumphantly into
town, and appearing later at a window of his hotel, the
Sao Domingo, to address a crowd of tearful followers
gathered in the street. He topped off the evening with a
"I consider it my duty to take the greatest risk in the
affair of the Santo Maria" lie said. "If this means going
aboard the ship and sailing to Africa or Portugal, I am
prepared to do it."
Galvao slept little that night. He faced his most im-
portant decision since he elected to sacrifice the clement
of surprise in order to drop off the wounded officer at
St. Lucia. How long ago was that now? Only eight days?
Galvao made up his mind he could not risk another day
tooling around off Recife. He sensed the tension among
the crew and Third Class passengers was nearing the
breaking point. He would force the issue.
THE PLOT: MUTINY
At fifteen minutes before eight on the morning of Wednes-
day, February i, Galvao messaged Admiral Smith that
he was sailing for Recife, to anchor just outside the three-
mile limit of Brazil's territorial waters. He hoped the sight
of Recife would calm things down aboard ship, and he
gambled that his gesture of trust would inspire President
Quadros to follow through officially on his reported pledge
In less than three hours, as the Santa Maria glided
slowly toward Recife about five miles offshore, Quadros'
reply began coming in over the ship's radio. Galvao lis-
tened, his head cocked to one side like a wise old owl, as
the message said:
"I reaffirm my loyalty to our unshakeable democratic
"You may be sure that in the exercise of my constitu-
tional duties you and all who want to will receive the right
of asylum in our territory and all else which laws and
"The government and the people of Brazil follow with
profound emotion the fate of the passengers who are un-
der your care and responsibility."
It was not the message Galvao wanted. It was not the
l8o THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
flat assurance that lie could sail on unmolested. What did
Quadros mean when he promised "all else which laws
and treaties permit'? Surely Quadros could easily find
laws and treaties which prohibited him from allowing
Galvao to keep the Santa Maria. If Quadros could not,
Salazar certainly would.
Galvao was depressed when the Santa Maria dropped
anchor at what he thought was a hundred yards or so
outside the three-mile limit. Actually, Captain M aia, prac-
ticing his subtle sabotage, had maneuvered the ship so
that at least half of it was inside the three-mile line, hop-
ing the Brazilian Navy would take a reading and come
out and seize the vessel The Brazilians and Americans
did take readings and they knew exactly where the Santa
Maria was. But no effort was made to seize the ship, lest
it cause further bloodshed.
The officer the Navy sent after Galvao was a hard-
working man who had trained himself all his life to do
what he was told in the best way he knew how. His
quarry was a swashbuckling maverick who followed the
rules if it suited him and, if not, made his own.
It would have been an uneven chase, a Fanner Brown
plodding after a wily old Reynard the Fox. But Andy
Smith knew how to chase, after decades of patrol duty,
and his resources in aircraft and ships increased as Gal-
vao's troubles with food, fuel, water and dissension
Above all, Andy Smith knew when to punt. As soon as
the Santo Maria nosed past the three-mile mark, he let
the Brazilians have the ball, to take it from there.
As soon as Admiral Smith looked through his glass and
checked with Admiral A. R. Dias Fernandcs, commandant
of Brazil's Third Naval District at Recife, and Com-
THE PLOT; MUTINY 181
inander Helio Leite, captain of the port of Recife, who
also agreed that the Santa Maria was within the three-mile
limit, he put out a statement saying:
"It has been determined by Brazil that the Santa Maria
is within territorial waters. Therefore, the entire situation
has been taken over by the Brazilian Third Naval Dis-
trict. Any further information will come from Brazilian
It was a neat maneuver on that Wednesday, February i,
one calculated to please Washington, which had been
trying for some time to get off the hook in the extremely
delicate situation. It was left for his Brazilian colleague,
Admiral Dias Fernandes, to take over. Admiral Smith
could now confine himself to making sure that his recon-
naissance aircraft, four destroyers, two tankers and nu-
clear submarine U.S.S. Seawolf were alerted to continue
the tracking if Galvao decided to head for the open sea
"If the Santa Maria gets away from the Seawolf, that's
something I want to see," Admiral Smith could say, with
a new sense of confidence.
Prsident Kennedy, standing before a 6 P.M. press confer-
ence in Washington on the same day, noted that Portugal
had expressed its "great interest" in getting the Santa Maria
back. He said America's prime concern was for the safety
of the passengers, but he added that "we hope all ... in-
terests can be protected." Finally, he said he knew of no
threats by Portugal to stop the United States from using
the Azores as an air base out of pique at the way the
Santa Maria search was handled.
It was a good day for winding up a lot of things. Fol-
lowing President Kennedy's press conference, Secretary
of State Dean Rusk called in the Portuguese Ambassador,
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Luis Esteves Fernandas, and for the first time explained
the American tactics to the Portuguese Government. The
explanation went something like this:
''When the Portuguese Government requested help In
locating the Santa Maria, the United States, as an ally,
responded immediately. Unfortunately, because of the
time lead and the expanse of ocean to be searched, it
took some time to find the vessel. There was apparent by
then a dispute as to the legality of stopping, boarding and
confiscating the ship. The United States therefore sought
to convince Captain Galvao to take it into a northern
port of South America.
"The United States expressed prime concern for the
safety of the passengers, particularly the forty-two Amer-
icans, as it had a legitimate right to do. It deliberately
avoided raising the question of the crew in order not to
arouse Galvao to the point where he would make a run
for it. The United States felt that, in view of that danger,
the less said about the crew the better, although this did
not reflect the government's genuine humanitarian con-
cern for the crew.
"Now that the Santa Maria has entered the territorial
waters of Brazil, we are confident that the crew will make
every effort to disembark. It is no longer necessary to
keep silent the United States Government's concern for
the safety of the crew as well as the passengers, nor to
refrain from expressing a hope that the Santa Maria itself
will be returned to Its rightful owners."
Ambassador Esteves Fernandas dutifully cabled this
revelation to his government. The attacks OB the United
States in the Portuguese and Spanish press, as well as
caustic official comments in Lisbon about the American
effort, ceased with miraculous suddenness. In fact, in a
THE PLOTS MUTINY 183
couple of days the Portuguese Government publicly ex-
pressed "thanks and sincere appreciation for the efficient
cooperation" given by the United States Government and
Secretary of State Rusk was pleased, too. He sent a
note of congratulations to Admiral Arleigh A. Burke,
Chief of Naval Operations, who promptly made it public.
Mr. Rusk's message said:
"Please convey my respect and appreciation to Admirals
Dennison and Smith and all Navy personnel who have
handled the Santa Maria problem so ably. This is just
one of many instances in which the Navy has shown
that its fighting spirit is matched by its diplomatic skill.
Admiral Robert L. Dennison, Commander in Chief of
the Atlantic Fleet, also had his say. In a message to all
concerned, he expressed congratulations and, just in case
any Congressional Appropriations Committee members
were tuned in, he threw in a bit of boasting about the
Navy's "mobility and flexibility":
"Just when we all think wcVe heard of or been involved
in almost every type of situation involving the use of naval
forces, along comes a new requirement, involving a dif-
ferent approach, making new demands and presenting
new tests of the flexibility of naval forces.
"The United States Navy's part in the Santa Maria saga
has been marked by a dedicated, efficient and successful
effort on the part of many ships, planes and the men in
them* Your mission stems from the age-old tradition of
prompt assistance to those in peril on the sea but it also
served to point up once again the important mobility and
flexibility which is the unique characteristic of naval
forces. Well done to all concerned."
184 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Along the busy waterfront of Recife, crowds began to
gather. It was the beginning of carnival time, and a festive
mood was in the air. Never before had a show like this
hit town, and nobody wanted to miss it. Already, police
were blocking off streets so that workmen could festoon
them with arches of tinsel for the annual celebration. At
the docks, the well-to-do mingled with shabby fishermen
and dock wallopers, democratically akin as they stared at
the shiny gray bulk of the Santa Maria so close at last.
The morbid had much to discuss. It was known, that
Galvao had boasted he would scuttle the ship rather than
surrender it, and there were reports in the newspapers and
on radio and televison that he had nearly a hundred
pounds of dynamite aboard.
As Recife stared, the Santa Maria stared back. Passen-
gers and crewmen looked longingly at the tile rooftops and
the beckoning palm trees shimmering in the heat waves of
a hot, cloudless day. It was a haven tantalizingly near, yet
frustratingly far away. Three miles is not too much to
swim, but there were sharks in the water and gunmen on
Admiral Dias knew the Brazilians had the legal au-
thority to go aboard and take possession. What is more,
they had the strength to do it. The Santa Maria was listing
badly to port and, with a variety of ills, was probably
unseaworthy. She was surrounded by American and Bra-
zilian warships, and there was a battalion of well-trained,
well-armed Brazilian marines awaiting only the order to
throw themselves against Galvao's two dozen. It would
have taken less than an hour.
But they had orders not to do it the easy way. The man
who brought the orders from President Janio Quadras was
Dario Castro Alves of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.
THE PLOTS MUTINY 185
The small, dark, mustachioed diplomat flew over to Recife
from Rio de Janeiro. He took little part in the actual ne-
gotiating besides asking a question or two, leaving it to
gruff old Admiral Dias to do the talking. But It was he
who worked out beforehand what the admiral would say,
and it was he who plotted each step of incredibly patient
negotiations whose purpose was to see that neither lives
nor face were lost.
Castro was sent to Recife to prevent bloodshed and to
get the Santa Maria away from Galvao without hurting
anybody or anybody's feelings. The biggest problem was
Galvao himself. The old battler already felt let down,
with Quadros backing away from his reported willingness
to permit the Santa Maria to sail on after discharging pas-
sengers at Recife. Galvao was talking, too, about scuttling
the ship as soon as the passengers were off. There was also
a fear that, on a romantic whim, he might force the crew
at gunpoint to sail out to possible destruction by the
Portuguese frigate Pero Escobar, hovering just over the
The Portuguese Government was not making Castro's
task any lighter. In Lisbon, spokesmen publicly urged the
forcible seizure of the Santa Maria. Formal representa-
tions to that effect were being made by the Portuguese in
Brasilia. And in Recife, the Corapanhia Colonial de Nave-
gacao went to- court, demanding an order which would
force Admiral Dias to seize the ship and return it to its
legal owners. The court agreed in principle but delayed
issuing the order for ten days, ostensibly to give Galvao
time in which to contest the claim.
Twice that afternoon, the Brazilian corvette Cabala
went alongside to put Brazilian officials aboard. The first
time, almost symbolically, she crashed hard against the
l86 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Santa Maria, putting a big dent in her plates and bend-
ing the boarding ladder badly. The rude shock set off a
demonstration among Spanish and Portuguese passengers
'Tor the love o God, get us out of here!" screamed a
woman in Spanish, over and over, and she held out her
arms imploringly to the Brazilian vessel.
Others among the Spanish and Portuguese passengers,
almost all from Third Class, called out similar pleas. They
waved white handkerchiefs overhead at arm's length, in
a mute call for help. Some crewmen joined in the demon-
stration, and there was much wailing and weeping.
Admiral A. R. Dias Fernandes, a stern old man, tall and
dark-browed, led his delegation through the writhing
crowd and made no promises. In the library, dealing with
Galvao at two sessions, he could make no improvement on
the situation he had inherited from Admiral Smith.
The Brazilian proposal was a compromise. It offered to
let Galvao bring the Santa Maria into the harbor, unload
passengers at dockside, and return to anchorage outside
the three-mile limit. There, negotiations could be resumed
on whether the crew should be allowed to disembark and
whether Galvao could keep the ship.
Galvao refused. He said he needed the crew to operate
the Santa Maria. He insisted on his terms: discharge the
passengers, retain the ship and crew, restock and refuel,
make minor repairs and sail on.
Both meetings ended in that deadlock. A night meeting
was arranged. The Brazilian negotiators, threading their
way through the milling ship-board crowd for the ride
back to shore, said nothing to guarantee an end to the
ordeal. They pledged, however, to return that night and,
if necessary, argue all night with Galvao. They knew from
THE PLOT: MUTINY 187
the crew's demonstrations that tension had drawn the
nerves of those aboard almost unbearably taut.
The crew was angry and restless now, like a pack of
hungry dogs. They crowded into the lounge to hear a
report on the negotiations from Galvao and Velo. Galvao
began calmly, going over the arguments they aE knew by
heart about why it was necessary to overthrow Salazar.
As Galvao developed the case so familiar to them, the
crewmen realized that no progress had been made, that
Galvao still intended to keep them aboard the ship in de-
fiance of the American and Brazilian navies and to sail
to the seas where the Pern Escobar waited.
<c No! No!" the crewmen shouted, and out came the
handkerchiefs, waved overhead. "Everybody leaves the
The men were on their feet, advancing toward Galvao,
Velo and the handful of other rebels in the lounge. The
rebels drew their pistols.
"Get back!" Galvao commanded. "None of you leaves.
The passengers may go but the crew must stay!"
The crewmen retreated, yet continued to shout.
Galvao was beside himself with rage. He shouted orders
to a rebel with a submachine gun to shoot down the first
man who made a menacing move. Then he stalked out of
the lounge and walked stiff-legged, head down, to his
Velo spoke to the crewmen. At first, he could hardly be
heard in the hubbub. But the magic of his mellifluous
voice soon cast its spell. The men subsided and listened
as he went over the whole problem once more. In the end,
he promised that every consideration would be given to
their desires. And he emphasized that negotiations were
l88 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
continuing. If an alternate solution could be found, lie
said, those who so desired might be allowed to go ashore.
It calmed them down for the moment.
Meeting aboard for the third time, that night, Castro
knew that Galvao's demands were impossible. If granted,
they would wreck Brazil's relations with her onetime
mother country, Portugal. And, if the Santa Maria and her
crew should sail to destruction, either by foundering be-
cause of unseaworthiness or under the blazing guns of the
Pero Escobar, Brazil would stand disgraced before the
world. Yet, he could not flatly reject Galvao, for that might
anger him to the point of capricious bloodshed. And so,
explaining that they were not authorized to grant such a
request, Admiral Dias and Castro promised to consult
overnight with their government. Galvao, who could do
the diplomatic fandango with the best of them, promised
that he, too, would ponder the Brazilian proposal during
In the Grande Hotel in Recife that night, American
Consul Ernest Guaderrama ate a lonely meal. His thoughts
were on the Santa Maria and he hardly tasted his food.
Staring at the linen table cloth, he conjured up images of
the captive passengers he had talked to during his visit to
the ship the day before. He recalled all too vividly the
anxiety in their faces, and his conscience troubled him.
"Why did I leave?" he thought. "I should have stayed
aboard, to represent those people and to comfort them.
Those rebels are a hard lot. Some of them are seasoned
soldiers who have seen much violence, and they are de-
termined to get their way. They are gentlemen, but they
are desperate men/'
One of the reporters in the dining room came over, in-
troduced himself and sat down. With the Santa Maria so
THE PLOTS MUTINY 189
close, the reporter asked, why not simply go aboard in
force and take over?
"Galvao has all the cards," Guaderrama said sorrow-
fully. "We would sooner let him go than risk the life of a
single passenger. But Til tell you this: I'm going back
aboard tomorrow and I'm going to stay there until this
thing is finished."
That night an American delegation called on Galvao.
The spokesmen were Martin Yunker, John Dawson, Ches-
ter Churchill and Henry Bates.
"The American passengers have had a meeting/' they
told him. "We have decided that none of us will leave
the ship unless the crew is allowed to leave, too."
Galvao hung his head. He felt very tired. He was, he
knew, losing control.
Tension spread through the ship like an invisible, com-
bustible vapor. A spark from any of the many frictions
could touch it off, Galvao detected a wavering among his
own men in favor of the crew's demands, and unquestion-
ing discipline was the assumption on which he had staked
all. Now it was open to challenge.
Down in the littered, odoriferous, steaming Third Class
area, desperate men who had waited with peasant pa-
tience while others in higher station, argued their fate,
looked at their children, whining in instinctive fear, and
their women, in many cases in advanced pregnancy, wilt-
ing under the physical and emotional strain. The men
determined to act. They argued in whispers, not about
how to rebel their plan was a simple mob assault but
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!"
It was time for General Delgado to get back into the act,
and he did, in the style he loved. Under cover of dark-
ness, but with a Life magazine reporter-photographer
team along to record the feat, he slipped aboard a sixty-
foot fishing launch and putt-putted out to the Santa Maria,
His hair carefully crisscrossed to hide the bald spot, his
gray lightweight suit set off with a flowered lavender tie
and matching pocket handkerchief, Delgado was in high
good spirits. He showed the newsmen., reporter David
Snell and photographer Art Rickerby, a flashlight. When
they got to the ship, he said, he would shine the flashlight
on his face.
"They might not receive us if they were unaware that
it is the chief of state who has come calling at this strange
hour," he said.
The general burst out laughing at the landlubber antics
of the newsmen as they struggled to maintain their bal-
ance against the rocking and rolling of the bticket of a
"I hope you gentlemen are not feeling any seasickness,"
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 191
he guffawed. "Me? Never! I have been a flier for more
than thirty years, and the motion of the sea is the same
as that of the air."
Alongside the Santa Maria, Delgado flicked on the flash-
light, holding it low so that his face took on the grotesque
leer of a Halloween mask. Suddenly, a blinding spotlight
stabbed down on the boat from the bridge. Snell sug-
gested nervously that Delgado call out his name, but the
general had a more dignified approach.
"I will ask one of the crewmen to do it/* he said. "My
voice is not very good/'
A crewman shouted up in Portuguese that General Del-
gado had arrived. The name echoed in many voices from
the ship, mingled with shouts of "Viva Liberdade!" The
gangway was lowered and Delgado hopped onto it, with
one last comment to his companions in the boat.
"I am going aboard like a fifteenth-century pirate,' 7 he
laughed. "I must confess it is rather exciting. Quite a way
for a chief of state to make his entrance, eh?"
Galvao had a ten-man honor guard waiting at the head
of the gangway. The two men embraced emotionally and
then marched past the smartly saluting rebels and into
the lounge. For more than two hours they conferred there,
as each told the other what he knew and they made plans
for the crucial conference on the morrow with the Bra-
zilian negotiators. Delgado decided his place of duty was
his room at the Hotel Sao Domingo and he took his leave
in the early morning hours. But before he left, he ar-
ranged for Snell and Rickerby to board the Santa Maria,
in gratitude for the fact that Life magazine was picking
up the tab for the boat ride, no mean sum at the fantasti-
cally inflated prices the skippers of the "Recife Regatta"
were demanding and getting.
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
Delgado's midnight visit did not go unnoticed by the
passengers, who were having trouble getting to sleep
after the day's excitement. Martin Yunker heard the com-
motion of Delgado's arrival right under his cabin. He
noted Delgado's dignified air and, later, he observed
him in the lounge, "talking to Galvao and everybody else
like a Dutch uncle."
June and Floyd Preston heard Delgado come aboard
but, unlike many of the Americans who stayed up to
watch the conference, they were too tired to bother.
June had recovered from her bout with dysentery but
tending the increasingly restive children was a wearing
job. She took many meals in the stateroom, although it
pained her conscience, because the servings were so gen-
erous and she knew that food was scarce below decks.
That night she had ordered dinner for herself and Steven
and they brought enough steak, fish, potatoes, fruit and
milk to feed all four of the children. Steven, at two, had
no understanding of what was going on, but he must have
felt the tension. He clung to her all the time now. The
night before, when she left him and five-year-old Donald
sleeping while she slipped out to dinner, he woke up and
went roaming the passageway looking for her. He was
dragging his pink nylon nightshirt, the security symbol he
hung onto the way some children do with blankets. Isi-
dro the steward found him and put him back to bed.
June had her own security symbol the sight of the Bra-
zilian destroyer Paraiba and the four American destroyers,
anchored close to the Santa Maria or tied up at the docks
Mrs. Chubb watched Delgado make the transfer from
the fishing boat to the starboard boarding ladder. Al-
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FKEEDOM!" 193
though the Santa Maria was standing still at anchor, the
little boat rocked fearfully and she fretted that Delgado
might be crushed against the ship's hull or thrown into
the ocean. For the umpteenth time, she repacked her
luggage. She had managed, finally, to talk her maid into
relieving her of the mysterious little radio. She still had
no clue as to why the crew planted it in her cabin, and
she guessed she never would. There was an addition to
her belongings a pair of gold colored roosters presented
to her as a souvenir by the maid, grateful for her help in
hiding the radio. It was a strange voyage indeed when
the crew gave gifts to the passengers instead of lining up
at trip's end for tips.
The "Recife Regatta" was out bright and early that
Thursday, February 2. Passengers were awakened at
dawn with shouts from reporters and photographers cling-
ing to perilous perches aboard a motley flotilla of fishing
boats, each more decrepit than the other. They circled the
Santa Maria like shabby minnows about a great gray
whale. The newsmen importuned Galvao, standing proud
as a peacock on the flying bridge, for permission to board.
But he shook his head, smiled benevolently and waggled
a negative index finger at them, like a kindly but stern
schoolmarm correcting mischievous boys. Failing there,
the newsmen turned to hollering questions at the early
morning rail-leaners aboard the Santa Maria.
Shortly before ten, when the hot sun had melted away
the morning mist, more than one hundred Third Class
passengers, joined by more than a score of crew mem-
bers, assembled aft on A deck. It was the exact spot from
which Galvao had launched his attack twelve days earlier.
Directly below them, on the B deck fantail, a fright-
194 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
ened-looking woman shouted in Spanish to newsmen in
a nearby fishing boat. They could not make out what she
was saying. She reached down, picked up a brown-skinned
baby about a year old, dressed only in a short little shirt.
She lifted the boy up and down several times and the men
in the boat understood. She wanted to drop the child the
twenty-odd feet into the boat, so that he at least could
be rescued. The newsmen cried out that she was not
to risk it. They tried to keep their boat away from the
stern, lest nearness tempt her to throw the infant at them.
A man fishing off the fantail watched the tableau
The crowd on A deck began milling around. Many of
the Third Class passengers and crew members had hand-
kerchiefs out, waving them overhead at arm's length.
They began to chant, stomping feet and waving handker-
chiefs in tempo with their chant.
"Liberdade! Liberdade! Liberdade! Todos! Todos! To-
dos!" they chanted. "Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Every-
body! Everybody! Everybody!"
Antonio Garcia Cabrera, leader of the insurgent pas-
sengers, moved around, urging the people on like a cheer-
leader. After a few minutes, he waved to them to follow
him, Garcia, his dark eyes glistening, sweat standing out
on his mustachioed, beard-stubbled face, strode purpose-
fully in the lead up the promenade toward the First Class
lounge. The crowd swayed behind the chunky Spaniard,
working to a fever pitch.
"Liberdade! Liberdade! Liberdade!"
Admiral Bias Fernandas and his Brazilian negotiating
team arrived just as the crowd began its forward surge.
The old admiral scrambled off the corvette Cabala and up
the gangway. He reached the deck as Tourist passengers
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 195
and crew members swarmed around Galvao and the
dozen or so armed rebels waiting for him there.
"Save us! Save us! Save us!" the crowd yelled in Span-
ish and Portuguese, applauding the Brazilians and clap-
ping them on the backs. The applauding was done over-
head, as if to make sure the Brazilians could see it as well
as hear it. Some of the rebels were jostled rudely aside.
Two levels below the deck, a woman in a white dress
appeared at a porthole. She pleaded with the corvette's
crew to take her off right away. Wringing her hands and
talking excitedly in Portuguese, she cried over and over,
"By the grace of God, rescue me!"
Garcia, struggling to get close to Admiral Dias in the
meMe, felt a pistol club him on the shoulder as a rebel
intervened. Garcia called out, "Arrest them! Arrest them!
Take them off the ship and let us go* on our way!"
The tumultuous crowd stumbled toward the First Class
lounge. Khaki-clad rebels on guard before the huge plate-
glass doors there drew their weapons and braced for the
assault. The crowd broke around them in a wave. Every-
body was pushing and shoving and shouting. The rebels
held their fire and retreated a half-step at a time.
Suddenly, there was a resounding crash as a rebel guard
fell backward through the door in a shower of broken
plate glass. He bounced up immediately, bleeding from
cuts on his face and hands, still holding his pistol on the
crowd. Other rebels inside the lounge drew their guns,
Little Debbie Smith, in the lounge with her parents,
screamed hysterically, Delbert Smith grabbed his wife
and daughter and shepherded them quickly toward a door
on the port side* Mrs. Smith was almost numb with terror,
thinking, "My God, it's happeningso close to the end and
196 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
it's happening!" Howard Welsberger leaped from the easy
chair In which he had been sitting. David Crockett took
his wife by the elbow and said, "Let's get out of here
before the shooting starts!" There was a general exodus
of passengers toward the port side as the crowd, momen-
tarily stunned by the loud crash of the falling plate glass,
halted on the starboard side.
In that brief moment of hesitation, as the crowd paused
like an animal before its final leap, a Brazilian officer raced
forward. He threw up both hands and commanded, "Get
back! Get back! You will all get off!"
The people were disbelieving, but they gave ground.
They kept their distance from the rebel guards, still talk-
ing in high-pitched voices. Women near hysteria cried
and leaned against other women who soothed them with
pats and daubed at their tears with handkerchiefs. Men
stomped their feet and waved their arms. But they all
waited, and Galvao and the Brazilian negotiators sighed
in relief and began their conference.
Arthur Douglas Patton, ducking in and out of the com-
motion, rushed to the ship's rail. He had been carrying on
a running news account to reporters in a fishing boat. He
cupped his hands and shouted through them as the re-
porters scribbled down every word, "The crew is threat-
ening mutiny. They don't want to stay aboard. The Third
Class is backing them. But it looks good for the passen-
gers, We may be allowed to go ashore today/'
Floyd and June Preston gathered their three older boys,
who had been playing on A deck when the crowd swept
toward the lounge. The boys had been "helping" Tomas,
the bartender of the First Class lounge, to dispose of
empty bottles. What they did was help load the cartons of
bottles on a dolly, climb aboard the dolly for the ride to
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 197
the rail, and then help the cabin boys toss the cartons
overboard. June had been in her cabin with the baby,
changing his diapers, during the uprising. Now, all the
Prestons locked themselves up in their hot, airless cabins
because a Venezuelan passenger had told them, "It is bet-
ter to take cover. Go to your cabin and lock the door.
There will be a counter-revolt at noon. The Tourist pas-
sengers have decided it. If Galvao has not agreed to let
everybody off by noon, there will be a revolt."
The ten o'clock uprising had been a demonstration of
strength and determination. The plan was that, unless
Galvao gave in by noon, the Third Class passengers would
arm themselves and attack their captors.
In the conference room, as the cries of "Liberdade!" and
"TodosT rang outside, Admiral Dias reviewed the situ-
ation. The passengers and crew were clamoring to get off.
Galvao admitted that his supplies were dangerously low
and that the Santa Maria was far from shipshape. Presi-
dent Janio Quadros, an old friend and admirer of Galvao,
sympathized with his cause. But there were international
obligations which had to be taken into account. If Galvao
would dock and unload the passengers and crew, they
could renew negotiations on the two remaining points:
political asylum for Galvao and his men, which President
Quadros would be most happy to guarantee, and disposi-
tion of the Santa Maria.
"Perhaps it is over/* Galvao replied at length. "But we
will not clock, We will anchor at the harbor entrance,
where the water is calm. There you may effect a transfer.
All those who wish to leave may do so. My men and I and
those of the crew who elect to stay shall stay aboard. And
then we shall sec what happens next."
They shook hands solemnly, and went out to the crowd,
198 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
which greeted them with fresh cries of "Liberdade! To-
dos!" It was fifteen minutes past eleven.
Galvao, his teeth set on edge but still managing that
thin, fatherly smile of his, held up a hand. As he spoke, his
body seemed to sag and his dark eyes to glaze over.
"Be calm," Galvao said quietly. "You are all getting off.
Somebody shouted, "Viva Brazil!" Others took it up
and it swelled into a mighty roar, as when a football team
makes a crucial touchdown. Men and women began run-
ning around the ship, embracing and slapping each other
on the back.
Arthur Douglas Patton padded back to the rail, waved
to the nearest fishing boat and shouted, "They won! We
are all going ashore, passengers, crew and baggage! In a
half hour. Galvao gave in!"
Admiral Dias moved grandly down the gangway and
aboard the Cabala, which quickly cast off. The Santa
Marias anchor chain began moving slowly up out of the
water. The little red boat of Recife's port pilot sped out
from the harbor.
At twenty-one minutes past eleven, the huge anchor
swung clear, and a minute later the Santa Maria began
to move. Her gay pennants, which had hung dejectedly
as she lay at anchor, suddenly sprang to life. From stem
to stern, they snapped happily. The ship's public address
system blared march music. The man who had been fish-
ing off the stern hauled in his line and went below, with-
out altering the impassive look OB his lugubrious Latin
On the bridge, Galvao braced both hands on the railing
and stood as tall as he could. He watched, silent and sad,
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 199
as the distant harbor resolved itself into clearer focus and
the Santa Maria skirted the rocky finger of a breakwater
At high noon, the Santa Maria dropped anchor at the
mouth of the harbor, five hundred yards from the docks.
Galvao announced, "I am in Brazilian water exclusively
because I have faith in the attitude of the Brazilian Gov-
ernment, and I am certain I will not be disappointed/'
Two hours later, the first tug pulled alongside and sixty
Brazilian marines came silently aboard to take off the
passengers and crew. Galvao ordered his men to comply
with their polite request to stack all arms in the lounge.
He then announced, "This should be interpreted as a
With the marine officers as witnesses, Galvao counted
out the $40,000 in the ship's safe, to show that none of it
had been looted. He watched without a show of emotion
as the young marines positioned themselves about the
ship. Then he called his men together. He faced them as
they stood silent, sullen and defeated.
"The fight goes on/' he told them. "We will win. We will
As the tugs pulled alongside, the passengers and crew
streamed off the Santa Maria like refugees fleeing before
an invasion or some great natural catastrophe. Men, women
and children came down the starboard debarkation lad-
der that Thursday, February 2, carrying suitcases, bicy-
cles, velocipedes, bird cages, fur coats, doll carriages,
teddy bears, and an amazing variety of other impedi-
menta. Divers in bathing trunks stood at the foot of the
ladder, helping passengers make the tricky transfer to the
shifting deck of the tugboats.
2OO THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
In the crush to get off, Floyd Preston lost his jacket,
which he had thrown over a chair in the jampacked
lounge. When he went to get it, it had disappeared. Mrs.
Yunker, before leaving, sought out young Velo. On a
motherly impulse, she kissed the teenaged rebel good-
bye. Mrs. Dietz located Galvao, thanked him for the shuf-
fleboard he had had painted for her and held out her
hand to shake his in farewell. Instead, Galvao bowed
gallantly from the waist and kissed her hand.
Five crewmen could not stand the delay. Forbidden to go
down the ladder before the passengers and fearful that
Galvao might sail away with them still aboard, they went
over the side. Two shinnied down hawsers and three
others simply jumped. All five were picked up by launches
and taken ashore.
The passengers were loaded aboard buses and driven
quickly to the plush Portuguese Club. Smiling crowds
thronged the waterfront, shouting welcomes. Beside them-
selves with joy after a dozen days of captivity, the pas-
sengers yelled back, "Viva Brazil! Viva Brazil."
"Trees," sighed Mrs. Dietz. "I didn't think I'd ever see
a tree again/*
At the Portuguese Club, the passengers found soap and
water and wonder of wonders! clean towels. There also
were cool drinks, sandwiches and even steaks.
Alfredo Pinto Cuelho, president of the club, moved
among his guests, smiling and bowing like a genial host
at a weekend lodge. Twenty-four Brazilian marines and
fourteen policemen cordoned off the sprawling grounds
of the club. Doctors and nurses stood by in case any-
one required medical attention. The American passen-
gers assembled in a canopy-covered area between the
empty swimming pool and three tennis courts* Dutch pas-
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 201
sengers gathered in a bowling alley and Spaniards and
Portuguese in a restaurant.
Finally, there were the "rats of Recife," the indefat-
igable newsmen who had been chasing these passengers
for a week. At last they had their story. They plied the
rescued with endless questions and directed them back
and forth in front of still, newsreel and television cameras.
Cecil R. Harberson wanted to talk about the Navy
patrol planes. "I really felt proud when I first saw an
American naval plane overhead while we were headed for
an unknown destination," he said. "I will never again ob-
ject to paying income taxes."
To his wife Joan, the symbol of eventual rescue was the
marine lieutenant who accompanied Admiral Smith to the
Tuesday conference aboard ship. "I said, "He looks just
like the Statue of Liberty to me, 7 and he did, too,"
Not all the passengers were in a gay mood.
"The situation was so absurd I would not have believed
it had 1 not lived it," Vasco Untero of Lisbon said.
"This is the last time I travel by boat/' Malvina Cesar of
"If this is politics, I want no part of it," said Manuel
Joaquiro, Lorenso of Aveiro, Portugal.
After more than an hour, the passengers were herded lit-
tle by little into buses and automobiles and taken to private
homes for the night. The owners of the Santa Maria prom-
ised that all passengers would be carried free to their
destinations, by air to Miami, for instance, and aboard
the Santa Maria's twin, the Vera Cruz, to Europe. Howard
Weisbcrgcr, in no hurry to get home, elected to stick with
the Santa Maria rather than separate from his new sport
car, still in the ship's hold.
^Fantastic! Unbelievable!" Mrs. Chubb wrote in her
THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
journal. "Here I am in the cool shade of a wide porch
looking out across a 21 palm tree yard to a stucco wall
topped by green-paneled fence, onto the Atlantic Ocean."
She had been put up at the home of a Pan American
World Airways official. Other families in Recife's colony
of about two hundred Americans opened their homes to
the American passengers, taking them as assigned by
Consul Ernest Guaderrama.
The six Prestons wound up at the home of Robert
Shane, treasurer of the Presbyterian Mission in Recife,
The Prestons bedded down their children and sat up until
all hours with the Shanes, talking and reliving their ex-
periences as reported in the Recife newspapers. The next
day, Mrs. Shane, principal of the American school, had
the three older Preston boys visit her classrooms and tell
her students all about the Santa Maria,
When it was all over, the once-gay Santa Maria was
like a ghost ship. Her grand lounge, the scene on the
climactic day of the Third Class revolt and, afterward, of
the pushing, shoving m&lee down the gangway and into
the waiting tugboats, soon echoed to the hollow footfalls
of only Galvao and his men and the silent Brazilian
That night, Galvao and his men took pot luck for din-
ner. They discovered that the crew, before quitting the
ship, had turned on almost every faucet and there was
hardly any fresh water left. They found enough for din-
ner and, by pooling their culinary talents, managed to put
together a creditable final meal aboard ship.
On the bridge, alone, Galvao studied the fat, yellow,
sensuous moon that looked so out of place against the
lean, virginal brilliance of the stars. It was a cloudless
night, and the glow of the sky bathed the tile roofs and
"FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" 203
palm trees of Recife. The city's own lights winked in the
distance, and, occasionally, Galvao could hear music and
laughter as the citizens, no longer clustered at the wharves
to stare at the Santa Maria, warmed up for Carnival.
He gripped the railing, roughly yet with affection, and
sighed, "To us, you will always be the 'Santa Liberdade '
Galvao selected his starched khaki uniform with care on
the morning of Friday, February 3, 1961. On this, of all
days, he wanted to look impressive. He had managed ad-
mirably the day before, standing proud and serene on the
bridge while the 612 passengers and all but five of the
356 members of the crew went ashore. He was delighted
with the deference with which the reporters treated him
now when, at long last, they all were permitted to board
the Santa Maria.
He told them how he had decided it was useless to try
to continue. The ship had mechanical trouble. Food, fuel
and water were low. At least a hundred men would be
needed to operate the ship and he had only twenty-nine.
Therefore, he had allowed the passengers and crew to
disembark, put aside his weapons and permitted the Bra-
zilian marines aboard, and arranged another meeting with
Admiral Dias on the disposition of the ship.
"But the fight goes on," he said, and he issued copies of
rf< The First Revolutionary Proclamation of the National
Liberation Junta of the Portuguese/' It was pure Galvao
and it said, in part:
The Santa Maria was not captured as a romantic
gesture and much less as a plan only to call the at-
tention of the world to the Portuguese drama. The
conquest o this grand and beautiful ship, that for
eleven days cruised the Atlantic pursued by airplanes
and ships of various nationalities, carries a significant
lesson for us all
We would desire to prove and we did prove that the
dictator Salazar is not invulnerable. We beat him and
we ridiculed him, him and his navy, before the entire
free and Christian world. Tomorrow, when and where
we return to face him, we will beat him once more.
We . . . are, in fact, at war with the Portuguese dic-
tatorship in the same way that we are with the Span-
ish through our integration with the D.R.I.L. But
we are acting with a well-defined objective. It is not
only the fall of Salazar that most interests us. We seek
a revolutionary objective: the reconstruction of Por-
tuguese society on new bases. . . .
Our program is simple, most radical. We want a
profound, authentic, human, total revolution. We will
start with the destruction of an unjust social order,
and it will have as its bases agrarian reform and ur-
Our propositions will be: land for those who work
It and a house for those who live in it. We will liq-
uidate large landed estates as we will liquidate
stagnant speculation. We will destroy implacably
privileges of the Portuguese plutocracy, which from
birth divide men into rich and poor*
Wo are far from Lisbon and the dictator. But
everything encourages us in the unshakeable cer-
tainty that we will enter there as victors to imple-
2O6 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
ment the Portuguese revolution of the Twentieth
These are the words that I have to say to you at
the moment we are victoriously carrying out the first
military action o the forces under my command,
nucleus of the future Army of Liberation for Por-
tugal and Spain.
The Brazilian negotiators, led by Admiral Dias, had
managed the disembarkation of the passengers and crew
without loss of face on either side. The deal they made
was simplicity itself: let all go who want to go, and then
negotiate some more.
Aboard the ship, Admiral Dias negotiated with Galvao
for the last time. All morning they talked, slowly resolving
differences. There really was nothing to negotiate about.
The passengers were off. The crew was off. Galvao and
his men were unarmed. The Brazilian marines controlled
the ship. But obeisance had to be paid to Galvao's pride,
and Admiral Dias was willing to go along with the game.
Finally, he came up with a solution acceptable to Galvao:
the ship would be turned over to the Brazilian Govern-
mentnot to the line- and Galvao and his men would be
granted political asylum in Brazil. They shook hands on
it and made an appointment for that evening for the final
Nearly a hundred reporters and photographers rode the
tugboat to the Santo Maria that evening of Friday, Febru-
ary 3. As they climbed aboard, they saw half-empty
whiskey glasses on a table in the lounge, whore Galvao
and Admiral Dias had toasted their agreement.
Galvao's twenty-nine followers, trying to look military
in their bedraggled khaki, were lined up on the prome-
nade deck In parade formation. In the lounge nearby, their
arms were stacked and guarded by Brazilian marines.
Galvao spoke to his men in a choked voice, tears shim-
mering in his eyes as he praised their valor and pledged
that the fight would go on. Admiral Bias read the sur-
render agreement which Galvao had signed earlier that
"Do you agree to turn this ship over to the Brazilian
command?" Bias asked at the end.
"I do," Galvao said softly.
The two men embraced and kissed on both cheeks,
Latin fashion, and, at 6:22, P.M., the transfer of command
was formally accomplished.
The photographers, flashbulbs popping and floodlights
glowing in the dusk, and the reporters straining to hear
and see all, surged forward in a struggling mass. The rush
carried Galvao to the rail, and for a moment he seemed
to be in physical danger. But the marines moved in and
edged the newsmen to the ladder and back aboard the
On his way down the gangway, Galvao stopped, bowed
bis head as if in prayer and said a silent goodbye to his
"Santa Liberdadc." Waiting for him on the tug was Del-
gado and, together, they went to the little wheelhouse.
Just before the tug reached shore, Galvao stepped out onto
the tiny bridge, to direct the landing of his men.
Two buses waited there, to take them to the Recife
police barracks for the night, This did not, by any means,
indicate they were being arrested. When newsmen ques-
tioned an official on this point, he was quick to explain, "It
is just that there are no hotel rooms, since you reporters
have them all, and we must have some place for them to
2O8 THE FLOATING BEVOLUTION
Galvao lined his men up once more, this time In front
of the buses as the cameras clicked and whirred. On com-
mand, they all tossed a snappy salute at the Santa Maria.
He embraced Admiral Dias again, and climbed into a bus
bound for the police barracks.
And that is how it ended. Yet, the strange case of the
Santa Maria, the floating revolution which dominated the
news and captured imaginations for nearly two weeks all
over the world, was not yet closed.
President Quadros almost immediately turned the ship
over to the Companhia Colonial de Navegacao, despite
a cry of anguish from Galvao, who had expected long
litigation to harass the Salazar regime. The owners brought
ashore the remains of Third Officer Joao Jose do Naci-
mento Costa, to be shipped home to Lisbon. Then company
lawyers promptly filed suit in Recife, accusing Galvao
and Delgado of homicide, robbery, injuries, depriving
passengers and crew of their liberty, and damage to the
The company estimated it had lost $100,000 on each of
the thirteen days Galvao held the ship. The United States
Navy conservatively set its expenditures in pursuit of her
at a minimum of $200,000.
But what of the cost to Salazar? Beginning on the Fri-
day that Galvao and his men quit the Santa Maria, up-
risings swept anguished Angola, leaving thousands on
both sides dead and wounded, and requiring Salazar to
pour troops into the restive territory. The Angola rebels,
who said the timing of their terrorism was inspired by the
seizure of the Santa Maria, figured that in the five months
.that followed they had lost #5,000 dead, against 1,000 for
the Portuguese armed forces. Even in passive Goa, nation-
TRIUMPHANT SURRENDER 2QQ
alists stepped up anti-Salazar terrorism, partly because
they were emboldened by Galvao's example and partly
because, for the first time, the United States voted in
the United Nations in support of self-determination in the
Galvao and his men, secure in their political asylum
against the vengeance of Salazar, could not escape the
wrath of their fellow conspirators. On July 20, 1961, in Rio
de Janeiro, Fernando Queiroga, a member of the D.R.I.L.
Council, announced that Galvao, Velo and Sotomayor
had been kicked out of the organization. They were ac-
cused of having made spectacles of themselves without
achieving any gains for the revolution, of having per-
formed acts of an "individual and spectacular character
without political or revolutionary ends."
Even Delgado was chastised. Although not ejected
from D.R.LL., he was criticized for not having rallied the
Portuguese armed forces to revolt in 1958, when he lost
the presidential election. Instead of doing so, the charge
said, he "preferred to take refuge ridiculously in the Bra-
Finally, the great blood brothers themselves fell out.
Delgado turned up in Casablanca, Morocco, and on Octo-
ber 30, 1961, told a press conference that Galvao was a
publicity hound and the floating revolution was a mistake.
"Captain Galvao conducted an action very damaging
to the preparation of the revolt of Portugal," Delgado de-
clared. "He displayed an exhibitionism almost without
measure. 1 am obliged to say that I have broken all per-
sonal and political connection with him. Consequently, I
have no connection with other theatrical measures he
may take in the name of preparing for revolution or to
enrich himself as he took in the case of the Santa Maria."
10 THE FLOATING REVOLUTION
The Salazar regime was delighted, but worried, too.
What "other theatrical measures'* was Galvao cooking up?
Up to then he had done nothing more harmful to Salazar
than denounce him in a book, Santo Maria; My Crusade
far Portugal, and in public statements while visiting the
United States, France, Italy, England, and Sweden. True,
there had been rumors of invasion ships being organized
by Galvao, but they had never come to anything.
Delgado's split with Galvao gave all indications of being
genuine. Was he grumpy because Galvao upstaged him
during and after the Santa Maria affair? Or was there
something so daring and perhaps more effectivebeing
concocted in that fertile imagination that Delgado wanted
no part of it? From Lisbon's point of view, the ship seizure
had been bad enough.
For if Galvao failed to raise his Army of Liberation, he
succeeded admirably in calling the attention of the world
to the repressions of the Salazar regime. And he wrote an
incredible new chapter in the history of man's adventures
As nine-year-old Harold Wayne Preston put it in talking
to a reporter, "Gee, at last iVe got something exciting to
tell about that's really true."
Abreu, Rodrigo, 32
Agostino, Arthur, 171-172
Aleixo, Filipe Viegas, 75
Algarves Figueira, Victor, 145
Angola, 10, 36, 37, 60, 70, 72, 79,
82, 107, 118, 134, 141, 142
conditions in, 16-18, 28, 63-69,
Azores base, 35, 141, 181
Bates, Henry A., 85-86, 100, 189
Bates, Mrs. Henry A., 54, 86, 100,
Baty, Eben Neal, 57, 146
Baty, Mrs, Eben Neal, 57
Bayo Girod, Alberto, 32, 71, 76-78
Bonnay, Charles, 176-177
Borges, Theodomiro, 12, 69
Boulton, H. L. & Co., 37
Boyce, Mrs. Caroline, 52-53, 86,
87, 100, 151
Boyce, C. Prevost, 100
Burke, Arleigh A., 105-106, 183
Cabala, 185-186, 194, 198
Canarias, 119, 127, 136, 137
Cabot, John Moors, 101, 149
Calafate, Luis Cesariny, 24, 32
Castro Alves, Dario, 184-185, 188
Castro, Fidel, 32, 43, 77-78
Castro, Raul, 77-78
Cesar, Malvina, 201
Chatham Radio, 95-96, 97, 109-
Chubb, Mrs, Edna P., 50, 72, 80-
81, 85, 87, 89-90, 100, 109,
114, 131, 146, 150-153 passim,
157-160, 172, 192-193, 201-
Churchill, Chester, 130131, 150,
Gienfuegcs, Camillo, 77-78
Colby, Leaven worth, 122-123
Columbia Broadcasting System, 126
Companhia Colonial de Navegacao,
i, 119, 185, 208
Communists, 32, 39-40, 76, 79
Costa, Jose do Nacimento, 3-4, 11,
12, 73, 208
Crockett, David R., 72
Crockett, Mrs. David R., 53
da Costa Motta, Julio Cid,
da Fonscca, Jose Scares, 164
Daly, Thomas, 131
Damato, USS, 95, 105, 170, 174
da Silva, Hermogenio Antonio, 145
Dawson, John W., 86, 114-115,
128, 129, 146, 189
Dawson, Mrs. John W., 86
de Almeida, Viera, 28
de Andrade, Julio Ferreira, 75
de Barros, Emmanuel Jorge Pes-
tana, 44, 47, 75
de Carvalho, Carlos, 5-6, 11-12,
Delamar, Gil, 176, 177
Delgado, Humberto da Silva, 7-8,
9, 38, 39, 4<>, 43, 72, 78, 97-
104 passim, 126, 127, 141-142,
178, 190-193, 207-210 passim
background of, 24-32
Dennison, Robert L., 95, 107, 108,
116, 117, 118, 120121, 125,
138-139, 140, 142, 183
de Oliveira, Jose Frias, 44, 47, 75
de Oliveira, Luiz Manoel Mota, 75
de Souza, Antonio Lopes, 3-6, 11-
12, 69, 72, 74, 79
Dias Fernandes, A. R., 180-181,
184, 185, 186, 188, 194, 195,
Dietz, John W., 100, 131-132
Dietz, Mrs. John W., 100, 134, 200
Diretorio Revolucionario Iberico de
Libertacao (D.R.I.L. ), 32-33,
36, 40, 60, 78, 148, 205, 209
Doane, Francis, 95-96, 97
Dunn, Irene M., 132
Eisenhower, D wight D., 35
Elbrick, C. Burke, 94-95, 106, 140-
Esparrinha, Graciano, 44, 47, 48,
Esteves Fernandes, Luis, 181-182
Fernandez Ackerman, Luis, 48, 76
Fleitas, Armando, 78-79
Franco, Francisco, 33, 38, 41, 56,
Frutuoso de Almeida, Antonio, 76
Galvao, Henrique, 7-10 passim, 24,
31-48 passim, 74~75 78-83
passim, 91, 92, 96-104 passim,
107, 109, 111, H5> 120-121,
127, 135, 140> *4i 142, 147-
148, isi, 152, i6o, 163, 164-
165, 180, 185, 186, 189, 192,
3-93, 197. 199, 202, 203, 204,
background of, 13, i4i i5-#3>
30, 66, 69
negotiations by, 116, 117, 118,
125-126, 128-129, 130-131,
138, 165-166, 169, 170-177,
179-180, 182, 188, 189, 196,
relations with passengers, 56, 84-
87 passim, 143-146 passim,
153-154, 156, 163-168, 171,
178, 187, 195, 197, 198, 200
Garcia, Carlos, 4
Garcia Cabrera, Antonio, 194, 195
Gearing, USS, 107, 165, 170-177
Goncalves Andrade, Joaquini, 145
Gonzales del Tanago, Sra. Con-
suelo, 173, 175
Guaderrama, Ernest S., 171, 173,
175, 188-189, 202
Guevara, "Che," 77-78
Gutierrez Menoyo, Elroy, 78-79
Hackworth, Green H., 103
Harberson, Cecil R., 131-132, 156-
Harberson, Mrs. Cecil R., 100, 156-
Hermitage, USS, 140
Hunt, Edward R., 135
Illanez Ferro, Jose, 75
Kennedy, John F., 50, 87, 102-103,
116-117, 121-122, 164, 181
Kennedy, Robert F., 121, 123-124
Kramer, Robert, 123
Kratiss, Daniel L., no, 111112,
Kubitschek, Juscelino, 118, 154
Lacerda, Carlos, 164, 169
Lawton, Mary, 122-123
Leite, Cicero Campos, 5, 7, 11
Loitc, Hello, 181
Lemratzer, Lyman L., 105-106
Lins, Alvaro, 25, 45, 47, 127
Logan-Smith, Nat, 54-55, 57, 153,
Lorenso, Manuel Joaquim, 201
Losado Losado, Basilio, 75
Lourenco, Manuel, 58
Machado, Gustave, 31
Maia, Mario Simoes, 2-3, 6-10
passim, 37, 55-56, 70, 80, 81,
120, 154-156, 180
Mazo Bravo, Manel, 48, 76
Mendes, Laura, 88
Miller, Leon, 131-132
Mortagua Tavares, Carnillo, 48, 75
Nation Magazine, 33-34
National Broadcasting Co., 96, 97
Nespelen, USS, 107
Ojeda Henriquez, Rafael, 7475,
Paiva da Silva, Joaquim, 48, 74
Patton, Arthur Douglas, 49-50, 53,
55, 59, 80, 113, 131, 146-147,
167, 196, 198
Patton, Arthur Douglas, Jr., 50
Patton, Mrs. Arthur Douglas, 53,
55, 598o, 113
Perez Martinez, Jose, 76
Pero Escobar, 119, 136, 174, 185,
Pinto Cuelho, Alfredo, 200
Piracy, 9-10, 55, 57, 61, 85-86, 92,
94-95? 97, 100-104 passim,
123-124, 127, 140-141, 162
Policia Intcrnacionale de Defcnsa
do Estado (P.I.D.E.), 19, 21-
22, 24-29 passim, 37, 40, 43,
Preston, Carl Bruce, 57, 90, 91,
133, 155-156, 196-197, 202
Preston, Donald Floyd, 57, 90, 91,
3.14, 133, 148, 153, 155-156,
192, 196-197, 202
Preston, Floyd W., 57, 90, 91, 114,
131-132, 348, 155-156, 168,
192, 196197, 200, 202
Preston, Mrs. Floyd W., 56-57, 90-
92, 114, 132-133, 148, 153.
155-156, 168, 192, 196-197,
Preston, Harold Wayne, 57, 90, 91,
114, 155-156, 196-1977 SOA,
Preston, Steven Dean, 57, 90, 91,
114, 133, 148, 153. 155-156,
192, 196-197, 202
Quadros, Janio, 118, 134, 154, 157,
160, 164-165, 169-170, 171,
174-175, 179-180, 184, 185,
Quciroga, Fernando, 3233, 209
Radio Claridad, 31
Radio Corp. of America, 95, 96, 97
Rainey, Charles, 137
Ramalheira, Ambrosio Pereira, 119
Ramos da Cunha, Jose, 9, 48, 73
Rats of Recife, 162, 201
Recife Regatta, 162, 191, 193
Reis, Harold F., 121122
Rickerby, Art, 190-191
Rico Leal, Francisco, 48, 7374
Rodrigues, Julio, 48
Romara Rojo, Augustin, 76
Rothesay, HMS, 93, 94, 105, 140
Rusk, Dean, 181-182, 183
Salazar de Oliveira, Antonio, 7, 9,
30, 3i, 33, 35, 46-47, 56, 60,
63, 65, 67, 71, 73, 86, 97, 98,
99, 102, 106, 126-129 passim.,
145, 154, 155, 180, 187, 205,
background of, 14-16, 18-19, 21,
Santa Maria, SS, 1-4 passim, 10,
11, 17, 36, 37, 38, 40, 42-48
passim, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 69,
70, 72, 73, 74, 76, 78-82
passim, 86, 87, 91-95 passim,
101 no passim, 112, 116-117,
119, 121-124 passim, 126-127,
130, 136, 138-139, 140, 142,
145, 147-148, 150, 152, 154,
156-157, 160-165 passim, 168,
170, 172, 173, 176-193 passim,
j^gS^igg passim, 201-206 pas-
sim, 209, 210
food, fuel, mechanical woes of,
45, 54, S^, 81, 82, 83, 115,
120, 131, 142-145 passim,
166-167, 169, 175, 184, 197,
Seawolf, USS, 108-109, 181
Sellcry, Harry, 122123
Shaiid, Clinton, 92-93, 94
Shane, Robert, 202
Shaw Brothers Shipping Co., 69
Smith, Allen E., Jr., 93, 95, 107-
108, 116, 117, 125, 138, 140,
149, 150, 165, 170, i7-*8i
passim, 183, 186
Smith, Deborah, 53, 88-89, 100,
Smith, Delbert Carl, Jr., 53, 88,
Smith, Mrs. Delbert Carl, Jr., 53,
88-89, 146, 195-196
Snell, David, 190-191
Sotomayor Portela, Jorge, g, 41, 43,
45-49 passim, 70-71, 72, 118,
136-137, 138, 144, 166-167,
Sousa, Marie, 90
Suarez Fernandez, Fermin, 74
Tavares da Silva, Alvara, 134
Tempero de Almeida, Joaquim, 145
Thomas, Mrs. Dorothy, 58, 132
Time Magazine, 22
Tingle, J. E., 170
Tinoco, Jose Prudencio, 145
Ulster, HMS, 95, 105, 140
United Press International, 125-
United States, SS, 130
Untero, Vasco, 201
van der Meer, William, 88
Vayo, Julio, 32
Velo Mosquera, Jose, 9, 33, 48, 56,
57, 61, 70, 71-72, 82, 115,
120, 128, 129-130, 134, 138,
144, 145, 152, 166-167, 172,
178, 187-188, 209
Velo Perez, Jose, 9, 48-49, 73, 200
Venetian, Paul, 88
Vera Cruz, SS, 40, 119, 201
Vibeke Gulwa, SS, no
Vogelgesang, USS, 107, 170
Webster, William, 153-154, 160-
Weisberger, Howard, 92, 166, 196,
White, Lincoln, 103, 111
Williams, Laurence, 150
Williamson, Mrs. Lucille, 153
Wilson, USS, 95, 105, no, 140,
Yrigoyen, Xavier, 12
Yunker, Martin, 54, 57, 127-130
passim, 142, i53~*-54 *72-
173, 189, 192
Yunker, Mrs. Martin, 54, 130, 200
Warren Rogers, Jr., is a top correspondent for the New
'York Herald Tribune, for whom he covers foreign and
military affairs. Born in New Orleans, he attended Tulane
and Louisiana State University, and started his newspaper
career with the New Orleans Item. He has worked for the
Associated Press first in New Orleans and Baton Rouge,
then in Washington, as foreign affairs specialist. Since 1959
he has worked out of the New York Herald Tribune
Washington Bureau, where he followed the developments
of the Santa Maria incident from the inside. He was at
Recife, Brazil, for the finale of her incredible voyage,
(continued from front flap)
the following twelve days of drama and
pathos that were to electrify the entire
A sweeping account of the Santa Maria
incident, The Floating Revolution ex-
plores in detail the reasons behind the
dramatic assault, and how Galvao used
it to focus world attention on the injus-
tices of his country's government. Drawn
against the larger background of Portu-
guese politics, Mr. Rogers' stunning gal-
lery of portraits emerges not only of
the rebel Galvao and the dictator Salazar,
but of all the men who were actively
connected with the Santa Maria's cap-
ture. Portugal's domestic and colonial
struggles are underscored, as the route
of intrigue leads from Lisbon to Caracas
The strange and often humorous reac-
tions of the forty-two American passen-
gers as suspense mounted are sharply
contrasted with the determined yet un-
usually polite manners and character of
the rebels. The role of the U.S. Navy in
locating the Santa Maria after several
long, tiring clays of search, and the deli-
cate task of the Brazilian negotiators in
arranging to dock the ship with immunity
in Recife, Brazil, lead to the grand finale,
and what the author terms "Galvao's
tr i u in p h an t s u rr en tier . **
Tlw Flouting Revolution is not only
a fast-paced story of thrilling adventure
on the high seas, but it is also a consci-
entious work of modern political report-
ing at its most acute, keen best.