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

Cablegram 270 LONDON, [23 April 1940] [1], 8.25 p.m.

MOST SECRET

TIMOR. Following is the latest information from secret source. On 17th April the Japanese Minister at Lisbon [2] reported to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs [3] that 'as an expression of welcome to Japan's co-operation in the development of Timor the Colonial Minister [4] offered:

(1) The development of mineral resources throughout the island with the exception of oil.

(2) The inauguration of sea route to Timor.

(3) To establish an air route to Timor, and he requested Japan's views on the above.' The Japanese Minister continued: 'I replied I had recently sent an enquiry to my Government on these matters and should soon receive a reply. Please expedite reply.' You will remember that last year there was a rumour that the Japanese were pressing the Portuguese to give them an air base in Timor and both the Portuguese Ambassador in London [5] and the Portuguese Government categorically denied that the Japanese had done so.

STIRLING

1 The dates on this cablegram were deduced from information contained in the External Affairs Dept's inward cablegram register (FA: A3639).

2 Kikuji Yonezawa.

3 Hachiro Arita.

4 Dr F. J. V. Machado.

5 Dr A. R. de S. Monteiro.

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