He suppressed and distorted it for the good of the Portuguese who, he believed, were unfit for facts. After 20 years of Salazar, the dean of Europe's dictators, Portugal was a melancholy land of impoverished,confused and frightened people. Even Salazar, that model of rectitude,showed signs of succumbing to a law of politics discovered by Lord Acton:"Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts ab solutely."The real news from Portugal was that another European dictatorship hadfailed, though it might hang on for years. In the way of dictatorships, ithad stunned and shackled the wholesome forces that might have replacedit. Not only was Portugal at a new low point, it showed every sign of changing for the worse, perhaps slowly, perhaps by violent upheaval.Success Story. Portuguese, however, looked happy enough last week asLisbon turned out for the annual People's Fair (to aid Lisbon's numerousorphans). They rented boats on Palhava Park lake. They smeared theirswarthy faces with spun sugar candy. They took pleasure in their jados("songs of fate"), although these ditties are not always gay. Sample:Barbarous and murderous mother, Pitiless, heartless, she Threw herdaughters down a well Where they died in misery.They bought from fisherwomen in Bedouin-like headdresses thePortuguese equivalent of hot dogs — grilled sardines. But the biggestcrowds milled, with wistful eyes, around the U.S. pavilion, where woodendoll exhibits depicted typical scenes of life in the fabled, incredibly distant land of freedom.If Portuguese had felt boastful instead of wistful, there was material forself-congratulation about their Government and their way of life. Britain,their old ally, banker and protector, now owed them £80,000.000.Spain, their old rival, was in the United Nations' doghouse, while Salazar,in spite of his anti-democratic sympathies, had pursued throughout World War II a serpentine policy whose final tack was enough in the Allies' direction to earn their tolerance, if not their approval. ThePortuguese national budget, thanks to Salazar, was always balanced thesedays. (It had shown a deficit in 68 of the 70 years before 1928.) Portugal'sexports were much higher than before the war; her merchant marine wasabout to double its tonnage and her fishing fleet was expanding.Portugal's shop windows were full of luxury goods unobtainable in mostof Europe. Her currency unit, the escudo, was steady at four U.S. cents.