42 Cablegram to Lisbon

Canberra, 4 October 1974



For Ambassador

You should take the opportunity of your call on Campinos to outline Australia's attitude towards Portuguese Timor.

  1. As you know this attitude is based on the principles of the United Nations. Australia supports the right to self-determination for all colonial people. The wishes of the people of Portuguese Timor should be decisive in determining their future. Australia has important particular interests in Portuguese Timor but we do not seek any special position there. If the people of Portuguese Timor wish to associate themselves with Indonesia, Australia would welcome this provided that the decision was based on an internationally accepted act of self-determination. The Timorese people should be allowed to proceed deliberately towards a decision about their future. In our view the province needs careful and patient development before an effect[ive] act of self-determination is possible.
  2. We would be interested in anything that Campinos might volunteer about developments between Portugal and Indonesia with regard to Portuguese Timor. In particular, we would be interested in an account of Portugal's understanding of Indonesia's intentions there.
  3. You should avoid leaving the impression that Australia would like to intrude into contacts between Portugal and Indonesia about Portuguese Timor. But we do1 want to encourage contacts between the two countries. In this regard we would also be interested in any comments Campinos might have on the prospects for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and Indonesia.
  4. As you will have seen from our O.CH117514, we do not intend to propose talks with the Portuguese when we reply to their note of 18 April on delineation of the Timor seabed. You should therefore not raise this issue with Campinos. If he raises it, you should say that we do not think that negotiations would be appropriate at this stage.

[NAA: A10463, 801113/1111, iii]