466 Cablegram to Canberra, Jakarta, Geneva and Washington

New York, 10 June 1976


Timor: Process of Integration—Representations to Secretary-General

Ref 0.CH366035, O.JA7165 1

Unless we can inject some new element I would not expect Winspeare to respond positively to our representations that he make a further visit to Timor in the near future or to associate himself with future Indonesian fact finding missions scheduled for 24 June.

  1. We had therefore been considering whether there was anything we could do in New York. An approach to the Secretary-General is one of the possibilities we have had in mind, particularly as the Minister for Defence may be seeing Waldheim briefly late tomorrow 11 June2 on the argin of the Security Council debate on Cyprus.
  2. My judgement is that Waldheim would not be opposed in principle to a further visit by his representative for the purpose of updating facts for the Security Council, provided there were a reasonable assurance (which the PGET/Indonesia could no doubt give) that Winspeare would be able to travel freely or at least more freely and more widely than he did in January. Waldheim might also stipulate that Winspeare must be able to make contact with Fretilin leaders in Timor. It might be difficult to persuade Waldheim that there are no opposition leaders in Timor, unless we could give him a confidential assurance that we have evidence to support Indonesian claims that fighting has virtually ceased. Unfortunately I do not have material here even to rebut Fretilin claims that they control 80 percent of East Timor though Taylor's report3 suggests that the Fretilin presence is much smaller than the radio transmissions report. I should appreciate for this and related contingencies the latest JIO assessment of the situation in East Timor in particular the state of the Fretilin supporters and areas where the guerrillas operate.
  3. The Secretary-General would be much less inclined to instruct Winspeare to go out at short notice to attend functions connected with Indonesian activities which are to be portrayed as part of the process of self-determination. Before he would agree to do this I would expect him to seek an assurance first that Indonesian forces have left or are in the process of leaving East Timor. The fact, (observed by witnesses of the assembly in Dili) that there are few Indonesian troops to be seen, would, I am afraid, not be sufficient. Again, Waldheim might be influenced by an assurance by Australia that Indonesian announced partial withdrawal has in fact occurred and that Fretilin claims of massive reinforcements are incorrect. Again, I would appreciate your assessment.
  4. I have just learned that the Portuguese asked Waldheim a few days ago for his reactions to the proceedings of the Dili assembly. Waldheim replied to the effect that Timor was not high on his priorities and that he had not yet arrived at any conclusions.
  5. Waldheim would in any event by guided to a large extent by the reactions of the Security Council and Committee of 24 to a second visit by Winspeare. [According to Kosong]4 of Malaysia the Indonesians came under some criticism during the Algiers meeting of the non­-aligned bureau,5 where the OPM attacked their annexation of West Irian, and Timor was also mentioned. The Indonesian representative was not very efficient in their defence, although there was no reference to Timor in the final communique. I am sure Waldheim will be sensitive to possible accusations by Tanzania/Mozambique and other non-aligned countries of sending Winspeare to give his blessing to a fait accompli or a demonstrably inadequate act of self­-determination.
  6. The final question which Waldheim might ask is: 'Can the Australian Government assure me, from their independent sources of information, that the people of East Timor, even if they have not been consulted in a proper fashion, do in fact, by a clear majority, favour integration with Indonesia?' If we had reasonable evidence that this is the case, then we could conceivably overlook failure by Indonesia to observe all the niceties of consultation of the people, and we could urge that Winspeare be sent out, confident that the true wishes of the people would emerge.
  7. If these problems are not insuperable, an approach to Waldheim would I think be useful, even if in the event he declined to give a direction to Winspeare. A message by the Minister, together with any supplementary points you would wish me to make orally, would be an appropriate method.6

[NAA: A10005, TS202/1/l, ANNEX 3]