135 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 107 [1] CANBERRA, 6 May 1944


Your D.358. [2] Portuguese Timor.

As Portuguese envoy [3] is now reported to have completed investigations in Timor we think time has come to seek from Portuguese clarification of their position.

Salazar's [4] decision not to visit London for staff talks [5] and the arrangement with Japanese for inspection of Timor by Portuguese official, together with progress of events in South- West Pacific forces us to conclusion that Portugal hopes that Timor will be reoccupied without any military contribution or effort on her part. If this in fact eventuates, the failure of Portuguese to participate in the liberation of their own territory will raise the question of her capacity to act in any regional colonial arrangement.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 89.

2 Dispatched 9 March. On file AA:A989, E43-44/970/54. It noted that a Portuguese envoy was being sent to Timor, with Japanese consent, as. a preliminary step to negotiating a peaceful solution to the Japanese occupation of the colony.

3 Captain of Artillery, Jose Joaquim da Silva e Costa.

4 Portuguese Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and, until 6 September, War Minister.

5 See Document 1, note 1.

[AA:A989, E43-44/970/54]