267 Cablegram to Jakarta

Canberra, 17 October 1975 2.30 p.m.


Portuguese Timor-Missing Journalists

Following item was carried on this morning's ABC News:


FRETILIN leaders in Dili have reported that Indonesian armed forces crossed the border into East Timor yesterday and took at least two towns and killed more than forty FRETILIN troops. An ABC reporter in Dili Tony Manati says five Australian newsmen are missing in the region. FRETILIN's Secretary for Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta said in Dili last night that Indonesian forces had swept through the town of Balibo, burning it out and decimating the force of fifty FRETILIN soldiers there.

He said seven soldiers escaped on foot and made it back to Dili last night.

The soldiers said the five Australian television newsmen, three from Channel 7 in Melbourne and two from Channel 9 in Sydney, were caught somewhere in action.


  1. We understand from Channels 7 and 9 that the five missing T.V. personnel are:
    • Greg Shackleton
    • Gary Cunningham
    • Tony Stewart
    • Malcolm Renny
    • Brian Peters
  2. Grateful you make urgent enquiries of the Indonesian authorities as to any information that may be available about these missing persons.

NAA: A1838, 3038/10112/4, i]