53 Mr R.R. Sedgwick, Official Secretary of U.K. High Commission in Australia, to Mr F. Strahan, Secretary of Prime Minister's Department

Letter CANBERRA, 22 March 1939

SECRET

With reference to my Secret letter of the 21St March [1], regarding oil concessions in Timor, I am directed by the High Commissioner [2] to transmit the enclosed copy of a further telegram, dated the 20th March, which has been sent to His Majesty's Ambassador at Lisbon.

R.R. SEDGWICK

1 Document 50.

2 Sir Geoffrey Whiskard.

Enclosure

Sir Thomas Inskip, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Walford Selby, U.K. Ambassador to Portugal

Cablegram (copy) LONDON, 20 March 1939

Report has been received from Vice Consul at Macao' that the Governor of Macao [2], according to normally reliable source, has been ordered to Lisbon for early consultation regarding a Japanese proposal for an air base in Timor. It is believed that the Governor intends to use his influence against any further extension of Japanese influence in Timor. According, however, to the Vice Consul, the Governor's former efforts to prevent the sale of Montalvao concessions were unsuccessful.

I have no confirmation from other sources of this report but there have been Turnouts about the grant of strategic facilities by other States invited to accede to the Anti-Comintern Pact, and it may lend colour to the story that Portugal has been invited to accede.

What, if any, use you should make of this report in communicating to the Portuguese Government is left to your discretion, but you should of course at all costs avoid giving them the impression that we are alarmed or should be prepared to pay a price for their abstention.

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

1 F.J. Gellion.

2 Dr Tamagnini Barbosa.

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