Tomás, Américo de Deus Rodrigues

(1894-1987)
   Admiral Tomás was the last president of the republic of the Estado Novo (1958-74). Although he was selected by Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar for his exceptional qualities of loyalty to the system's principles and to the dictator, the last period of the regime, a time of crisis, tested those very characteristics. In the crisis of September 1968, when Salazar was suddenly incapacitated, Tomás selected Salazar's successor, Marcello Caetano. Later, when Caetano faltered and wished to resign his besieged office, it was Tomás' intransigence that worked to make Caetano go on.
   A career naval officer who graduated from the Naval School in 1916, Tomás rose steadily through naval ranks to top positions, including minister of the navy. Salazar chose him to be the regime's presidential candidate in the controversial 1958 elections, because he considered Tomás to be the most reliable, honest, and hardworking of the regime's military officers of the day. Twice Tomás was reelected in the managed presidential elections of 1965 and 1972, as pressures on the regime mounted.
   After the Revolution of 25 April 1974, Tomás, along with Caetano, his now reluctant prime minister, was sent into exile on Madeira Island and later to Brazil. Despite demands from leftist forces for the arrest and prosecution of Tomás, the new Lisbon government never initiated a legal case against him. Tomás was allowed to return from his Brazilian exile in July 1978, to settle in Cascais, outside Lisbon. In 1980, he was granted a state pension, but, despite numerous requests, he was not restored to his rank and membership in the navy. He died peacefully at home at age 92.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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