115 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 23 March 1975

O.JA8418 SECRET AUSTEO PRIORITY

Portuguese Timor

Ref O.JA83751

General Ali Murtopo returned to Jakarta on 21 January not 18 January as previously reported. After the London meeting he went to Saudi Arabia to prepare for the President's visit there later this year.

  1. Lim Bian Kie (CSIS) who had spoken briefly with Ali told us on 22 March that he believed the London meeting would ensure that the 'doves' on the Timor issue, that is, Ali, would gain the upper hand. Ali had agreed, and Bian Kie believed the President would also agree, that Indonesia would reduce the tension in Timor. Propaganda would be toned down and Indonesia would adopt a more positive attitude towards economic cooperation between the two Timors.
  2. Bian Kie confirmed that the Portuguese considered the best solution would be integration with Indonesia. Indonesia would be able to seek to influence the act of self-determination (which Bian Kie thought might take the form of elections to a Constituent Assembly) but this should not be too obvious. Bian Kie acknowledged that it would not be easy to achieve the desired result. Provided the act of self-determination was not for several years, however, he thought Indonesia could achieve its objective of integration.
  3. The council to which Ali agreed in principle would consist of representatives of the UDT, FRETILIN and APODETI. Details of its functions and so on had not been worked out. Bian Kie said that whether Indonesia agreed to encourage APODETI to participate would depend on what the Portuguese wanted the council to do. It should not be such that it might prejudice the act of self-determination in favour of independence.
  4. Bian Kie was more optimistic than Tjan about the London meeting.2 He thought there was a better understanding between Indonesia and Portugal about what was going to happen. Portugal was sensitive about the possibility that it would be accused of conspiring with Indonesia and Bian Kie said the details of the London meeting were being held closely.

[NAA: Al0463, 801/13/11/1, viii]