186 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 819 LONDON, 11 December 1941, 6.24 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

My telegram 812 of 10th December. [1]

PORTUGUESE TIMOR It is now understood that the Governor General of the Netherlands East Indies [2] has authority from his Government to take necessary action for the liquidating of Japanese in Portuguese Timor and that all naval and military plans are complete. In the light of the above and in view of the increasing urgency of the situation, we are endeavouring if possible to eliminate delays which might occur at the last moment if the Portuguese Governor [3] hesitates. The Portuguese Government are accordingly being invited to instruct their Governor immediately that he should facilitate the task of the Dutch and Australian forces by which assistance to Portuguese Timor would be furnished on the assumption that the Commonwealth Government have authorised or are authorising their commanders in Dutch Timor to send a detachment with the Dutch troops into Portuguese Timor.

Considerable importance is attached here to the association with any Dutch force sent to Portuguese Timor of even a very small token force of Australians and we should be glad to learn at the earliest possible moment whether the Commonwealth Government agree.

We should also be glad to learn the position in respect of Australian forces sent or being sent to Dutch Timor.

1 Document 178.

2 Jonkheer Dr A. W. L. Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer.

3 M. de A. Ferreira de Carvalho.

[AA:A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 3, i]