304 Cablegram to Canberra

Dar es Salaam, 28 October 1975



In a half-hour conversation this morning, President Nyerere informed me that a Fretilin delegation yesterday had talked to him along the lines on which Vieira had spoken to me earlier (O.DS14371): that Machel2 had told him Tanzania accepted Fretilin's position: and that he understood that Fretilin wanted the Tanzanians to persuade the Portuguese to recognise Fretilin as the Government of Timor.

  1. Nyerere had ftrst indicated that he saw no reason not to accept Fretilin's argument but after hearing me speak, at his request, along the lines of O.CH283399,3 and listening intently, indicated that except for his need to take account of Mozambican views the issue was an academic one for him. He considered that UN members should satisfy themselves on the position on the island and suggested that Australia should encourage the Committee of 24 to visit it.
  2. An alleged statement by the Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister that Indonesia would not accept a left-wing government in Timor seems clearly to have provoked the Tanzanians.
  3. My impression is that Nyerere has not yet taken a ftrm position and that if there were some movement generated from the region he would stay his hand regarding Fretilin's appeal. At the same time he appeared not to be over-concerned that there should be clearly recognisable self-determination or with Indonesia's susceptibilities, and to be prepared to recognise Fretilin if he were satisfted that it had effective control. This assessment may need to be varied after I have seen the Indonesian Ambassador who was summoned to see Malecela4 this morning on the same subject.


[NAA: Al0463, 801/13/11/1, xv]