417 Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 716 LONDON, 13 December 1939, 6.45 p.m.

TIMOR. MOST SECRET. From secret but entirely trustworthy source

very active regarding concession. He has reported to Tokyo that 'Portugal under British pressure had ruthlessly overridden existing rights of Belgian capital and had granted concessions to Australia'. He states that on 2nd December he cross-examined Portuguese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs re reported concession to Australian company which Vice Minister said is 'entirely news to him'.

Japanese Minister also reported to Tokyo that Australian company were holding meeting on 14th December to draw up final agreement and urged that he should be instructed to lodge formal application for formation of a company (similar to Companhia Ultramarina) before 14th. Japanese Government would have to put up 10,000.

It rather looks as if Japanese Minister's present activity is to save his own face.

Foreign Office are asking the Ambassador in Lisbon [2] to report on this.

STIRLING

1 Kikuji Yonezawa.

2 Sir Walford Selby.

[AA: A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 22, iv]