316 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 1 November 1975, 2.00 p.m.

O.JA2814 CONFIDENTIAL PRIORITY

Timor-Journalists

Ref O.JA28101

I talked to General Yoga this morning.

  1. I asked whether he had any progress to report on his enquiries since our last meeting. I also said that we were anxious to take up Foreign Minister Malik's offer of a plane and said that if the plane were to fly from Jakarta, we would like Rodgers to travel on it. If it were to fly from Kupang, then we might send Rodgers to Kupang to join it and Johnson there.
  2. Yoga said that if the Australian Government wanted to take up Malik's offer, then he would facilitate this, but he did not think anything could be achieved from going to Atambua.
  3. Yoga said that after our previous meeting he had sent two BAKIN officers to make a personal investigation of the situation. He said he had oral reports from them, but was awaiting their return to Jakarta and the compilation of a full written report.
  4. Yoga said that he believed that early next week Indonesia would be able to give us more definite information, including some documents, a camera, and some remains. It had been decided that all of these would be handed over in Jakarta and, for this reason, he saw no need to go to Kupang or Atambua, but there would be no objection from the Indonesian side if we still wanted to do so.
  5. I spoke to Johnson this morning in Kupang. He said that he was under some pressure from the Governor to return to Jakarta as all decisions were being taken there. I told Johnson to stay and to pass a further message to the Governor saying that we must know more than we already did about the methods of identification, the whereabouts of the remains, and of any personal effects. I said he should reiterate that the prompt solution of this matter was in Indonesia's interests.It was pointless their continuing to maintain that Balibo was in Portuguese Timor and that we should make ou[r] approaches through Lisbon or Dili. (Apparently the Governor had returned to this theme yesterday.)
  6. In these circumstances, it does not seem that there would be much to be gained from sending Rodgers to Kupang or Atambua or indeed continuing to press the Indonesians for an aircraft to go to Atambua. However, I think we should keep that option open and if we have not got any firm information of a satisfactory nature by Tuesday, we should press it.

WOOLCOTT

[NAA: A1838, 3038/10/12/4, i]