29 Cablegram to Jakarta

Canberra, 12 September 1974


Prime Minister's Discussion with President Soeharto about Portuguese Timor

Ref 0.CH110620 1

Our immediately succeeding telegram gives text of Departmental Background Paper on the future of Portuguese Timor. It has the Prime Minister's concurrence.

  1. The paper will be used for unattributable background briefing of selected journalists, academics and opinion formers. It will also be drawn on for a political information bulletin item which will be distributed to all posts and Members of Parliament in the usual way. It could also provide basis for future public statements here of our attitude towards Portuguese Timor.
  2. We should be grateful if you would pass text as soon as possible to the appropriate Indonesian authorities. We expect that the Indonesians will appreciate the need for careful public presentation in Australia of our attitude to Portuguese Timor along the lines of the paper.
  3. In discussion with the Indonesians, you will appreciate too the need to avoid leaving them with impression that precipitate action on their part in Portuguese Timor would be acceptable to us. As the Prime Minister said to President Soeharto the territory needs careful and patient development before an effective act of self-determination is possible.
  4. In replying to enquiries about discussions between the Prime Minister and the President on Portuguese Timor we intend to use the paper as an indication of our views on the subject.

[NAA: Al838, 3034110111124, iii]