192 Cablegram to Jakarta

Canberra, 27 August 1975


Portuguese Timor

For Woolcott; Minister; Cooper; Harry

Our O.CH2589041 raised the question of United Nations involvement in Portuguese Timor and Indonesian attitudes towards that involvement. Our reading of the situation is that the chances of Indonesian intervention are growing hour by hour if it is not already inevitable. From our point of view it is thus becoming more urgent to know what Indonesian intentions may be towards United Nations involvement.

  1. We realise that it may be awkward for you to take the initiative in raising with the Indonesians the question of United Nations involvement if they were to intervene in Portuguese Timor. But they themselves from time to time mention to you the possibility of their intervening in Portuguese Timor and we see from O.JA140 J2 paragraph 6 that Australia would be informed in advance if the Indonesians did decide to 'move'. When next the Indonesians raise the question of intervention with you, or if you are given the notice you have been promised, we should like you to ask the Indonesians about their intentions towards the United Nations. You might indicate that we attach importance to the involvement of the United Nations in one way or another at the time of or after Indonesian intervention in terms of improving the international acceptability of that intervention and also in terms of Australian public opinion.
  2. The thinking reflected in Tjan's remarks to you reported in paragraph 5 of your 0.JA14083 and the procedures envisaged in Lisbon's O.LB2464 if they are followed would seem to make easier some reference to the United Nations at the time of or after intervention.5

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