399 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 15 January 1976


Timor: Military Situation

Tjan told Dan in strict confidence today, 15 January, that he had visited Dili and Bacau yesterday with General Benny Moerdani, Sani (Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations) and General Adenan (Asia and Pacific Directorate of Foreign Affairs). The main purpose of the visit was to have a final inspection before the Winspeare Mission's visit.

  1. Tjan said he was generally pleased with what he had seen. Everything was well under control in both towns. He foresaw no problems from Indonesia's point of view in Winspeare's visit. In addition to Dili and Baucau, Winspeare could also visit Aileu if he wished.

Military Situation

  1. General Moerdani has told Tjan that he is generally satisfied with progress on the ground. There are now only about 1,700 Fretilin under arms. They are concentrated in the area north and south of Ainaro (and in small pockets south-east of Liquica). Bobonaro, a significant Fretilin stronghold fell yesterday. The latest plan, which would be put into operation tomorrow, 16 January, comprised three movements. The first involved a landing of troops in the Southern coastal area between Cabo Suai and Betano and their movement north through Same and Maubisse to link up with troops from Dili moving south. The second involved a movement from Bobonaro through Ainaro to the central region. The third involved landing troops in the region around Beaco and their movement north to Baucau.
  2. According to Tjan, Moerdani's latest tactic is to encourage Fretilin to surrender rather than to hunt them down. This has already been successful in some operations.
  3. Moerdani believes thatFretilin's back will be broken by the end of this month. He expects only a few insignificant pockets of Fretilin troops to hold out for a little longer in the hills. In due course Moerdani believes they will surrender without a fight.
  4. Please protect Tjan.

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