449 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 21 May 1976


East Timor

For Minister and Secretary from Woolcott

Repeated New York UN (for Harry), Geneva (for Davis), Lisbon (for Cooper)

I had a long and frank discussion with General Moerdani last night, 20 May.

[matter omitted]1

Dili Meeting

  1. Moerdani said that it had now been 'firmly decided' that 'representatives' of the ASEAN missions in Jakarta plus representatives from the PNG, New Zealand, Japanese, Australian, Sri Lankan, Indian, Iranian, Saudi Arabian and some other countries would be invited to visit Dili on 31st May. It had been decided also that the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-General, Winspeare, Salim, representatives of the Security Council, representatives of the Committee of Twenty-Four and the UNDP would also be invited. The rest ofthe space available would be filled up with media representatives along the lines of those listed in our O.JA6631,2 including TASS.
  2. Moerdani said that partly due to reservations expressed to various Indonesian officials by the American Ambassador, the Dutch Ambassador and myself, it had yesterday been decided not to ask ambassadors but 'missions' to nominate 'representatives' to attend the one-day meeting which would now be confined to Dili. Moerdani said that Malaysia and the Philippines might send ambassadors anyway, although Indonesia would not encourage this but Indonesia recognised the domestic problems for countries like Australia and the United States and the 'protocol problems' involved for all heads of mission. He said he hoped we would nominate Dan or Taylor, especially following the pressure I had exerted to get the Taylor mission to East Timor.
  3. Moerdani confirmed that Mario Carrascalao had gone to Geneva where he would invite Winspeare on 31 May. He would go on to New York on Monday 24 to extend personally invitations to Salim and other proposed United Nations invitees.
  4. I said that these arrangements-which General Moerdani described as 'firm'-differed slightly from what I had learned last week (our JA6631). It now seemed that the visit on 31 May would be only to Dili. Also the notice, especially to those outside of Jakarta, would now be very short. Moerdani said this was true. But it was not entirely accidental. Indonesia was not worried about the short notice in respect of the United Nations. Salim had told Sani that he could not visit East Timor 'while one Indonesian soldier remained' there. This was 'nonsense' and as Salim recognised an 'impossible pre-condition'. As Salim, and therefore presumably the Committee of Twenty Four, would not accept the invitation from the PGET it did not matter whether the notice was short or not (echoes of Malik (April) aphorism 'the dogs may bark but the caravan moves on'). Moerdani added that he believed Salim was aware of the likely course of events and realised that the United Nations could not alter that course, even if some members did not approve of it.
  5. I said that I believed it was in Indonesia's interests to have the major countries in the United Nations accept the legitimacy of any act of choice leading to the incorporation of East Timor. This could prevent problems later. Moerdani then said 'look, we have always been frank with each other. Let's stop playing games. Politicians and people at the United Nations may have to do this, but as General Panggabean and I explained to Mr Peacock, conditions in Timor just don't allow for the type of act of self-determination the Committee of Twenty Four and the Australian public might find fully acceptable. Anyway, we are making the gesture. If they do not accept then they are not well placed if they want to criticise the process later'.
  6. I asked Moerdani whether this meant that Indonesia had decided to secure integration regardless of the United Nations. Moerdani said 'No' (but he meant 'Yes'.) Indonesia would continue, he said, to try to accommodate the United Nations but we and the United Nations must realise that 'the course was set'. Integration would take place in August. The PGET and the majority of the articulate persons in East Timor in fact now wanted and accepted integration. People 'outside' had failed to understand this.
  7. Moerdani also said that it had now been decided that all heads of mission in Indonesia would be invited by Indonesia (not by the PGET thereby removing a protocol problem) to accompany the Indonesian parliamentary (DPR) fact-finding delegation to East Timor when it goes to ascertain whether the people really want integration. This will be at the end of June. He said that, on this occasion, Indonesia would 'expect' ambassadors from the ASEAN plus group to go.

[NAA: A10005. TS202/l/l, ANNEX 3]