375 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 13 December 1975


Portuguese Timor: United Nations

We sawTjan again today 13 December (beforereceiptofUN47351). He said that an Indonesian Government statement on the United Nations vote was being prepared. It would be fairly tough. Certain quarters in the Indonesian Government had urged that Australia be mentioned in the statement as one of the principal opponents of Indonesia in the United Nations. Others, including Tjan, would try to keep our name out of it.

  1. Tjan said that our vote in favour of the resolution (which of course was a vote against Indonesia) was bad enough. Indonesia, he said, could hardly be expected to be grateful to Australia for that. But even more damaging (than a single vote cast) was the fact that so many countries had looked to Australia for a lead. The Americans, he said, had already told the Indonesian Government that Australia's voting intentions had played a large part in their own consideration of how they should vote. Indonesia had also learnt that the Nine (including Britain) had been similarly influenced by Australia. No doubt there were many others. Australia's general approach in the United Nations on this issue had been 'extremely harmful' to Indonesia.
  2. We explained to Tjan at some length what our United Nations delegation had done to help Indonesia's position. He said that the only thing that counted was the way we have voted. We had isolated ourselves from the other regional countries. In Indonesian eyes we were thus very much in the forefront of the opposition. In fact, of all the countries which had 'voted against' Indonesia, Australia was easily the most prominent for the simple reason that we were the only major regional country which had voted the way we had.


  1. As stated in our JA36692 Tjan's may be only an initial and temporary reaction. After all, he has been deeply involved in Australia/Indonesia relations for many years and his disappointment is understandable. But time and events may show that this reaction does reflect considered Indonesian Government views.

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