457 Record of Conversation Between Taylor and Tjan

[Jakarta], 3 June 1976

SECRET AUSTEO

Timor

I gave Tjan copies of recent press items on Timor, parliamentary questions and so on. He commented that there were no real problems for Indonesia in the Minister's comments on the Dili meeting.1 He was very interested in Mr Peacock's statement2 on the journalists, but did not comment.

  1. Tjan said the petitioners from the Dili meeting would arrive in Jakarta on 5 June, present the petition to President Soeharto on 7 June and meet various Ministers and the DPR leaders. In all they would be here for about one week.
  2. Ambassadors (possibly the same ones invited to the Dili meeting) would be invited to accompany the Indonesian fact-finding mission to East Timor at the end of June. Press correspondents would probably also be invited. The visit would last about three days-staying in either Kupang or Dili; it was undecided. The party would be divided into groups to visit various places in East Timor. So each Ambassador would see a selection (maybe even only one) of the places the party as a whole would visit.
  3. Tjan asked whether Australia would accept the invitation, which would be from the Indonesian Government. I said I did not know; would the United Nations be involved? He did not know. In view of our decision on the Dili meeting I felt personally that if the United Nations were not involved we would not attend. I stressed that we had no indication from Canberra on how we might respond. In any case his view was that Australia should be invited, even if we were going to refuse.
  4. Asked whether the ICRC representatives were back from East Timor yet Tjan said he would check and let me know. He repeated what he had said on 31 May that an ICRC involvement in East Timor now would be more in terms of its involvement in disaster areas. There was no conflict in East Timor now. His point was that there was no need for an ICRC representative in East Timor. I rehearsed Australia's firm position on the return to Dili of the ICRC and made, in general terms, the points in paras 2 and 3 of CH362796.3
  5. We had a long discussion about the history of the Timor issue. Tjan's main point was that Australia with good intentions had planted the idea that East Timor should be part of Indonesia and events had moved so quickly that [it] had not been possible to work out a solution with the Portuguese. I said that I did not accept that Australia had determined the general direction of Indonesian policy to the extent he had claimed. He said that what he was really claiming was that Australian interest had focussed Indonesian attention on East Timor. He acknowledged Indonesia would have had to focus attention on the territory at some time in any case.
  6. Tjan said that when the Timor problem first attracted attention in Indonesia the future of Diego Garcia4 was an issue and the situation in Indo China looked grim. People in Indonesia had argued that if there could be such interest in Diego Garcia, Timor too could become a focus of conflict.

[matter omitted]

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