Mr Dan and I in the course of our recent discussions with Tjan have twice asked about the President's attitude towards a declaration of independence by a FRETILIN-controlled East Timor.
- On the first occasion Tjan said that the President would not see a FRETILIN declaration as reason enough for unilateral Indonesian action. The people of Portuguese Timor had a perfect right to the Government they wanted and, provided Indonesian security were not threatened, Indonesia should respect that right. [Indonesia would not recognise their independence though. It would not be difficult to quarantine Portuguese Timor which would be so weak that it could not be independent.]1 This had, according to Tjan, been the President's reply to a similar question to ours from Moerdani.
- Tjan gave much the same reply on 1 September when we asked him again. However, he said that the President had indicated to Moerdani that he (Moerdani) could take care of such a development. The heavy implication of Tjan's comments was that the President was suggesting to Moerdani that, in the event of a FRETILIN independence action would need to be taken to ensure that there was justification enough for Indonesian intervention. (Indonesia was clean if the President was clean.)
- On another occasion Tjan described the President's attitude towards dubious activities as one of covering his eyes with open fingers (or looking through open fingers).
[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, xiv]