30 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 12 September 1974


Prime Minister's Discussions with President Soeharto

RefO.CH110619, O.CH110620, O.CH1106211

I spoke to Sudharmono today about the above three telegrams.

  1. Generally, Sudharmono thought that the action you contemplate, particularly on Portuguese Timor, will be helpful, and he had no disagreement with the basic approach. It is, I think, implicit in his reformulation given below of the Indonesian attitude on Portuguese Timor that the Indonesian Government appreciates the need to avoid precipitate action on the territory, to which matter you referred in your O.CH110619.
  2. The texts in O.CH110620 and O.CH110621 are acceptable with the following detailed glosses:
    [matter omitted]
    1. O.CH110620
      Sudharmono appreciated the purposes of the paper on Portuguese Timor. The principal problem from his side relates to the definition of the Indonesian attitude. The Indonesians are taking the public position that it is up to the people of Portuguese Timor to make their own decision. They fear that, if Indonesia were to come out publicly and advocate union with Indonesia, this could cause a reaction which would prejudice the end preferred by our two Governments. Sudharmono would therefore be grateful if your description of the Indonesian attitude be confined to the sense of the statements he himself has made publicly on behalf of the President. These are to the effect that the Indonesian Government bases itself on the principles of Pancasila and supports the right of self-determination for all peoples. If the people of Portuguese Timor desire to associate themselves with Indonesia and, provided the form of association sought was not in conflict with Indonesia's unitary constitution, such a wish for association with Indonesia would be accepted. At the same time, Indonesia has no territorial ambitions and the wishes of the Portuguese Timor people would be decisive.
    A consequential change would be needed in the references to Indonesian policy contained in the second last paragraph of the paper.
  3. I did not ask Sudharmono whether he would object to any supplementary oral briefing being given to reliable contacts, since I did not wish unduly to limit your freedom of action in this field. Although it would have to be carefully done, I think you could put orally to reliable contacts some of the points contained in your draft-perhaps on the basis that they represent an Australian assessment of what Indonesia would probably prefer rather than a definitive Indonesian view. This would, however, need to be carefully done to avoid inconsistency with the public line being taken by Indonesia and to avoid attribution to the President.


[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, iii]