437 White to Burton

Memorandum 151 DILI, 26 November 1947

TOP SECRET

DUTCH-PORTUGUESE RELATIONS

1. I refer to your memo. No. 64 dated 10th November 1947 (file No.

P47/67/4). [1]

2. An opportunity of discussing this matter with the Governor of Portuguese Timor was presented on 12th November, but his remarks gave no suggestion of any knowledge of the proposal mentioned in Ministerial Despatch No. Hag 26/47. [2] At the merest hint of the possibility of nationalist aspirations in Portuguese Timor, the Governor stated his views clearly and fully.

3. He has no doubt whatsoever of the loyalty of the Timorese to the Portuguese and, in support of this, quoted the fact that all taxes have been collected where resistance might be most expected- that is in Oecussi and the Fronteira circumscription. [3]

4. It is acknowledged that the Dutch are experiencing real difficulties since their natives have become imbued with the spirit of 'democracy', which means no work and hostility towards Europeans-Europeans need police escort when travelling between towns.

5. According to the Governor, however, this attitude has not affected the Portuguese Timorese. They are, in fact, hostile towards the Dutch natives and welcome the presence of African troops in the Fronteira circumscription as a guarantee of security. They have even asked for arms themselves for use against Dutch natives, but, of course, these will not be given. The long tradition of easy approach to the Governor by the lowliest native is expected to maintain the spirit of loyalty-together with the Governor's avowed policy of 'building schools and keeping bellies full'.

6. It seemed that the one-sided conversation was about to reach a climax when the Governor said, 'But I have had bad news today'.

This matter was apparently of greater moment-'One of my Australian pigs has died'. The Governor obviously has no fears of nationalist risings.

7. A few days later this subject was broached with Captain Branco, Chief of the Military Department. He went so far as to profess ignorance of any troubles in Dutch Timor, although he had considered the possibility of the Indonesian movement having some influence 'within a year or two'.

8. Despite the foregoing it may be significant that the Resident of Dutch Timor will be visiting the Governor on 26th November ostensibly to return a goodwill visit.

9. I shall endeavour to learn as soon as possible any developments relevant to your memo.

1 This memorandum conveyed a copy of Document 367 and instructed White to ascertain whether the Governor of Portuguese Timor had any fears of the rise of the nationalist movements in his territory.

2 Document 367.

3 i.e. the districts of Portuguese Timor adjacent to Dutch Timor.

[AA:A1838/283, 378/15/3]