450 Report by Taylor

Jakarta, [21 May 1976]



Visit to East Timor

Indonesian Presence

  1. The Indonesian physical presence was unobtrusive, but clearly all pervasive. At Balibo we identified no Indonesians, at Baucau there were Indonesians in civilian dress-doctors and so on; similarly at Viqueque there were Indonesians in civilian dress, though not as many. Lopes da Cruz said there were about 1,200 Indonesian 'volunteers' in East Timor. At Baucau it was said there were about 100; at Viqueque the administrator said he did not know how many there were.
  2. I saw no Indonesian armed forces personnel in uniforms. Most of the 'volunteers' I saw seemed to be military personnel, however. Their bearing and attitude towards each other betrayed them. For instance a few saluted one another. At Dili the airport was administered by Indonesians. I saw what seemed to be a patrol of Indonesian soldiers dressed in white T-shirts and dark green trousers near the airport.
  3. It was not surprising, of course, that no uniformed Indonesian soldiers were seen. General Moerdani explained frankly that any place I was to visit would be 'cleaned up'. When I lunched with Moerdani, Colonel Dading (the local Indonesian Commander) and Lopes da Cruz in their Dili base (the house of Moussinho, the UDT leader killed by Fretilin) Moerdani said 'you have seen the official side, this is the unofficial side'. He also mentioned that he did not want me to visit East Timor between 4 and 6 May because there was a routine change over of Indonesian troops. (In Kupang there were suggestions that this was, in fact, an increase in the number of troops.)
  4. Indonesian influence was noticeable too in the regimentation of the groups mentioned above-the scouts, Red Cross volunteers (locals, not to be confused with the Indonesian 'volunteers') and so on. Indonesian 'volunteers' in charge of these groups drilled them in military fashion. (A platoon of men in traditional costume in Viqueque drilled with some precision using wooden rifles capped with Indonesian flags.) Light blue uniformed 'partisans'¬≠—ex-Apodeti and UDT soldiers—acted as guards and controlled crowds. They formed a Timorese militia force.
  5. These and similar activities appear somewhat crude and heavy handed attempts to convince observers of the extent of support for integration. They also had an important propaganda role, and appeared to be enthusiastically received.
  6. At Baucau there were no demonstrations in favour of integration as there were at Viqueque and Balibo (on the second visit).It was impossible given the tight organisation of my visit and the ever present Indonesians (except in Balibo), to judge whether expressions of support for integration were genuine. There was no doubt, however, that the children especially enjoyed the pageantry and novelty of the organisations set up.

[matter omitted]

Act of Self-Determination?

  1. There was no doubt that the political process leading to integration on 17 August this year described to us in Jakarta was proceeding.
  2. It was unlikely that any choice would be offered at the meeting of district representatives at Dili in the second half of May. The meeting was seen as an occasion to confirm the Balibo declaration of integration made in November last year.2 International representatives including Ambassadors in Jakarta, would be invited to observe the meeting.
  3. In addition to the two representatives from each district chosen by the people, 13 traditional leaders, members of the Advisory Council and about 10 members of the PGET would participate.
  4. On the grounds of East Timor's political backwardness not even all the district representatives would be selected on the basis of one-man-one-vote.Viqueque's representatives were said to have been chosen by the local leaders; Baucau's were said to have been chosen by the people (exactly how was not made clear) on 9 April. The Administrator of Maliana, who was in Balibo, had not been asked to provide representatives for the Dili meeting, but said he could arrange for them quickly. There was no question that any of these representatives would oppose integration.
  5. Lopes da Cruz acknowledged the importance in terms of international opinion and the legality of integration of a choice at the Dili meeting. He agreed that a genuine act of self­-determination should be seen to be held. Personally he would agree to a referendum and he expressed no doubt as to the result. But he claimed that the people wanted integration and did not want a referendum which would only stir up old-or not so old-problems. Despite the view of the United Nations the PGET had to follow the wishes of its supporters he said. Carrascalao too argued along similar lines.

[NAA: A1838, 3038/10/12/4, iv]