In this question re. Lisbon in WWII, an AI-generated answer (now deleted) contained the following text:

One of the notable aspects of the German embassy in Lisbon was its involvement in the so-called "Lisbon Diplomatic Conferences." These conferences were held in an attempt to establish a peaceful resolution to the ongoing war, and they involved representatives from various countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While these efforts ultimately did not lead to a resolution, they showcased the diplomatic importance of Lisbon during the war.

My confidence in AI-generated texts is quite low, and googling for "Lisbon diplomatic conferences did not turn up anything useful. I know that WWII was not something that could have been ended on a negotiation table, certainly not from the British POV. And that a high-level negotiation attempt by one part of the German leadership ended in total and dismal failure (the Rudolf Hess flight in 1941).

On the other hand I do not really feel confident enough to just totally dismiss this either, e.g. there might have been tentative, but notable, contacts on a certain range of topics. Any ideas if the quoted text is related to any actual events?

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    Seems to me that AI is a distraction here. If I read this correctly, you're asking whether a Lisbon Diplomatic Conference(s) occurred, and if it had the potential to affect the inception of WWI. Doesn't make any difference whether the fictitious conference(s) were the fabulation of AI, or of someone with a political agenda. What matters is whether they can be reconciled with the historical record/narrative.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 16:37
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    @MCW - I don't know... If it was written by a credible source that's different. However, questions along the lines of "I heard a rando in a bar say that..." often aren't well-received here, on the theory that there's an infinite amount of BS people can make up, and only a limited amount of us. AI-generated text one could argue is of that ilk.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 16:54
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    As a minor conference (much smaller than the one made up by the AI), the 28th of June of 1940 Portugal and Spain signed in Lisbon a (provisional) Treaty of Friendship and No-Agression between the two countries. The Treaty tried to keep the Iberian Peninsula out of the war, by not allowing the UK to invade Spain through Portugal (with whom the British colllaborated) or Germany to invade also Spain in response to a real or suspected British invasion. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 17:29
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    @CarlosMartin - It looks like you might be talking about the Iberian Pact, but Germany and the UK were not parties to it, and the USA was not in the war at the time, and did not attend.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 17:46
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    @T.E.D. I don't disagree. But "AI" is not the issue. The title places AI first, but I think the actual questions are (in rough order of priority) Did the Lisbon Conference occur? Did the Lisbon Conference affect WWII? The credibility of the source is a tool to answer those questions, and AI is merely an armature to help understand the credibility of the source. The distinction isn't important; not worth more than a comment...but I think I typed that before there was an answer, and I thought that a revision might add focus and improve the chance that someone would answer.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


Turns out the US government keeps records on all the international conferences it attends, and there is no record of it attending any such conference in Lisbon.

Before the war, the last conference in Lisbon attended by the USA was this one in 1934:

43.11.15 Records relating to the third meeting of the International Technical Consulting Committee on Radio Communications (ITCCRC)

History: ITTCCRC established as a result of the International Radiotelegraph Conference held in Washington, 1927 (SEE 43.2.15), and reestablished by the International Radio and Telegraph Conferences held in Madrid, 1932 (SEE 43.2.25), to study and provide opinions on technical radio questions submitted to it by government regulatory bodies and radio operating companies. Third meeting held in Lisbon, September 22-October 10, 1934, to review opinions.

The next one wasn't until the 1950's:

43.7.14 Records relating to meetings of the foreign ministers of France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Federal Republic of Germany

History: Foreign ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France met in London, February 17-19, 1952. In addition to meeting among themselves, the three foreign ministers met, February 18-19, 1952, with the foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Textual Records: Records relating to discussions of the status of Germany at the foreign ministers' meetings in London, February 13-19, 1952, and Lisbon, February 20-26, 1952. Records of North Atlantic Treaty Council preparations, Lisbon, February 1952.

Its possible there was a conference the USA didn't attend of course, but since the AI specifically said it did, its statement appears to be wrong.

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    Kind of an appalling thing to be wrong about and post on a History site too...
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 17:14
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    This is at least the third instance I have noticed that AI generated answers created fictitious sources or events. The danger is that they look good enough to draw careless votes which means 'fake history' (lies) will soon be established and accepted as fact by less discerning readers/voters.
    – justCal
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 18:16
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    @justCal - Gaming the reputation system is one thing, and I can even live with posts being wrong, but posting flat out made up sh*t is quite another.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 18:19
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    @justCal - You're right, but that's not a good excuse. It merely drops the crime down to reckless endangerment.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 18:22
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    @Barmar - It was banned here on History (arguably) on the FuzzyChef Principle: posting a question here rather than asking Chatbot directly is an implicit request to get an answer from a human, not the AI. I can't speak for other SE network site policies. I believe its banned network wide as a violation of the network's authentic use policy, which is a somewhat similar stance.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 15:42

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