54 Mr H.F. Farrands, Assistant Secretary of Prime Minister's Department, to Mr R.R. Sedgwick, Official Secretary of U.K. High Commission in Australia

Letter 23 March 1939,

I desire to acknowledge receipt of your letters of 21st [1] and 22nd March [2] relative to Portuguese Timor, and to ask you to be good enough to inform the High Commissioner [3] that this question was discussed by the Commonwealth Government on Wednesday, March 22nd [4], when it was decided that a message be sent to the United Kingdom Government along the following lines:-

'Commonwealth Government appreciates action being taken to obtain oil concessions on behalf of Australian interests, and trusts that pressure to this end will continue to be exerted on the Portuguese Government.

In regard to rumours about Japanese air base it is desired that the Ambassador [5] submit a suggestion to the Portuguese Government that he would appreciate any information about Japanese approaches in this respect or any developments along lines indicated in telegram of 16th March [6] to him.' It would be appreciated if the High Commissioner would cause a telegram in the above sense to be sent to the United Kingdom Government.

H.FARRANDS

1 Document 50.

2 Document 53.

3 Sir Geoffrey Whiskard.

4 The only record of this discussion is contained in Cabinet Minute 608, 22 March 1939, which read 'That Minister for External Affairs approach British Foreign Office concerning Timor and its strategical value to Australia' (AA: A2694, vol. 16).

5 Sir Walford Selby, U.K. Ambassador to Portugal.

6 See Document 50.

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