|Salazar, the dictator who ruled Portugal for over 3 decades (1932-68) was also known for his wit and humor.|
At the beginning of the world war 2, Mussolini, a ruthless ruler of Italy wanted to know whether Portugal would be joining the Axis powers to fight the war against the Allied powers.
He sends a coded telegram to Salazar seeking his views on Portugal's probable role in the war. When the telegram is received, the ministerial aides to Salazar rush to him and seek his decision so that a suitable reply could be sent to Mussolini.
Salazar thinks for 5 minutes or so and instructs his aides to reply "Balls`.
The aides were flabbergasted with Salazar's instruction but being afraid to ask the dictator for clarification in the matter, send a return telegraphic reply to Mussolini incorporating simply the word "Balls".
On receipt of the telegram, the aides to Mussolini get confused as there is no code word anywhere called "Balls" in the secret code books.
They rush to Mussolini and tell him that they are unable to decipher the word "Balls" in the reply received from Salazar. Mussolini becomes impatient and rings up Salazar direct and says, "Hey, my friend Salazar, unable to understand the meaning of "balls`. What do you want to convey? Do you want to join the war or not?"
Salazar smilingly says, "Hello, Mussolini, the answer is simple. The Portugal's role in the war is like that of 'balls'. We cooperate but we don't enter."