“It is strange that ministers speak at three-thirty in the morning without knowing about the April 25, but it did happen”


President of the April 25 Association Vasco Lourenço told iSleep, on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the revolution, a surprising and least known situation whish occured in the early hours of 25 April 1974. Two sleepless ministers of the government of Marcelo Caetano, the minister for the Defense and the minister for the Army, spoke twice on the phone at three in the morning without knowing that the revolution was in the streets. Vasco Lourenço says: “It’s a strange situation that the ministers were awake at that time and talked on the phone without knowing about the 25th of April, but it did happen”.

On April 25, 1974, at dawn, the minister for the Defense Joaquim Silva Cunha was home and the minister for the Army, Andrade e Silva, at the premises of the Ministry of the Army, in Terreiro do Paço, before going home to sleep. These night owl ministers rang each other up at 3:16 a.m. and 3:31 a.m. Both communications were intercepted by the military of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), who were pleased to know that the hard core of the regime still had no idea about the revolution, which allowed them to prepare the reaction.

On the first call, the ministers talked about the situation of political and military instability. Andrade e Silva knew about “an important dinner” and that “the DGS was after the officers”. He told his colleague he would “leave to the Alentejo at 7 a.m.”. He would be in Vendas Novas at 9 a.m., in Évora at noon (RAL 3) and then in Estremoz and Elvas. “The commander of the National Republican Guard (NRG) asked the International and State Defense Police (PIDE) for escort”. Silva Cunha, still alive today, 96 years, said there was “no reason for concern tonight”. It should be noted that on March 16, 1974, there had been a military coup attempt against the regime in Caldas da Rainha. On the second call, Andrade e Silva said to Silva Cunha that the President of the Republic Américo Tomás would “leave to Tomar with the usual lack of security”, just a patrol of the NRG and the PIDE/DGS.

The two men spoke again at 3:56 a.m., but on this call the MFA concluded that they already knew about the revolution. Andrade e Silva said to his colleague: “there is a concentration coming to Lisbon”. Silva Cunha left home and headed to Terreiro do Paço to join Andrade e Silva. At about six a.m., the troops of Captain Salgueiro Maia occupied the square. The two ministers, along with other elements of the regime, besieged in the Ministry of the Army building, passed through a secret door to the Ministry of the Navy and, there, they cut a hole on the wall and escaped to the street, yet ending up being detained later on.