421 Memorandum to Canberra

Jakarta, 10 February 1976

SECRET AUSTEO

Timor

Attached for your information is a record of conversation with Colonel Sunarso, Foreign Liaison Officer for BAKIN.1

  1. You will note that Sunarso still claims that an act of self-determination is planned to take place in March 1976. This timing is more specific and earlier than Mr Malik indicated to the Minister during their recent discussions in Jakarta.
  2. Sunarso was, however, reluctant to discuss the possible nature of such an act. Either he genuinely does not know, which would suggest that there has been no preparation yet and that March is a totally unreal date for the act; or he knows but does not want to tell us probably because the Indonesians think the form they have in mind would not appeal to us. As you know the PGET argues that the declaration of integration by various centres in East Timor after they came under control of the pro-Indonesian forces constituted an act of self­-determination.
  3. We have not had indications from other Indonesian sources which would suggest that preparations are in hand for a March act of self-determination. But our sources, including BAKIN, now estimate that the pro-Indonesian forces will have completed their main operations against FRETILIN by the end of February. Thus, if the military activities go according to plan, it would be possible for the Indonesians to arrange a perfunctory act of self-determination in March, possibly consisting of declarations of integration by the various districts.
  4. The dissolution of the parties in East Timor would seem to have two main objects. First, to bring the political system in East Timor into line with that in Indonesia, or at least to a stage allowing for the easy introduction of the Indonesian system of functional groups. In the reorganisation of political life in East Timor the Indonesians have in mind the general elections in 1977. Presumably if the integration of East Timor is completed by then East Timor will participate in these elections.
  5. Secondly, the Indonesians seek to limit the possibilities for the East Timorese to adopt policies not in accord with Indonesian thinking. The Indonesians are well aware that many of the UDT leaders were anti-Indonesia before 11 August 1975. While these leaders gave Mr Winspeare and his party the impression that their conversion to the pro-Indonesia line was genuine the Indonesians expect some problems from them later.

A.R. TAYLOR - Counsellor

[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1. xx]