276 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 20 October 1975, 10.30 A.M.

O.JA2505 SECRET IMMEDIATE

Australian Journalists in Timor

Ref 0.CH2800451

Naturally we understand the need to have confirmation of this development.2 As advised in our JA24953 the Ambassador raised the subject with Malik and Dan with Tjan after we had seen the reports.4

  1. Since then we rang Tjan about the matter on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and first thing this morning. We rang General Adenan Saturday evening and Sunday evening. They say they fully understand our concern and have promised to advise us if any information is received.
  2. We propose calling on Tjan andAdenan again this morning. We shall urge them to tell us.
  3. The following item appeared in Kompas this morning 20 October:
    '4 Australian Journalists Killed at Balibo?
    UDT/Apodeti troops which succeeded in capturing Balibo and Maliana on Thursday found four white men's corpses in the ruins of a Chinese trader's house ...
    UDT leader, Lopez da Cruz, told journalists in Batugede on Friday he could not say whether the four were Australian journalists who, according to latest reports, were in Balibo. But he admitted that near the corpses there were written markings with the words
    'Australia', so it might be said they were Australians or Australian journalists. Until Friday afternoon, there had been no official pronouncement on this .. .'
  4. We shall report further.

[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/5, i]