Just a short note on the Centre. The last few months have illustrated both the great value of our links with the Centre, particularly with Harry Tjan, and the limitations of Harry's influence. On the first, I don't think it can be denied that Harry Tjan has given us invaluable information on Timor. It may be unpalatable information, but it has been worth having. Harry has also been active in getting the message that the Australian Government's policy can not be equated with the actions of various Australian citizens known in the higher echelons of the Indonesian Government.
But the limitations of Harry's influence have been evident in the case of the five journalists. As you know both Ali Murtopo and Benny Moerdani are out of the country. Harry told me quite candidly that with them away he can not get proper access to the decision making level in the military/intelligence community here. He sees the need to get us the firm information on the journalists' fate, the personal effects etc. that we seek. He has tried to help us but his usefulness as a channel of influence depends on him persuading Ali or (on Timor issues) Benny, to carry out his ideas. I am convinced in my own mind that had either of them been here we could have solved the journalists case some time ago. Ali and Benny will be back sometime next week. If Harry can convince them of the stupidity of Indonesia's present attitude we may get somewhere.
[NAA: A1838, 3038/10/12/4, i]