468 Cablegram to Posts

Canberra, 11 June 1976

O.CH367176 SECRET AUSTEO PRIORITY1

Dili Meeting and Process of Integration

Thanks your O.JA7165.2 We are encouraged by Adenan's reaction. You will also have seen O.GE18616.3 We agree than an approach should now be made directly to the Secretary-General and are instructing New York accordingly. It must be accepted, of course, that the possibility of inducing the Secretary-General to authorise Winspeare to involve himself in the fact-finding mission is still at best doubtful. We believe, however, it would be helpful if a number of regional countries were to speak to him and to Winspeare, and again we are instructing posts accordingly.

  1. We are glad that the Indonesians themselves will continue to urge Winspeare to visit the territory. In the light of O.GE18616, you might encourage them to approach the Secretary-General as well, perhaps in the company of other ASEAN countries.
  2. Since our own acceptance of the Indonesian invitation is likely to hinge on Winspeare's participation as well, it may be difficult to engage the Indonesians in further discussions about the scenario for the fact-finding mission. But you should know that we should find the idea of Australian participation in a one-day visit (albeit under the arrangements sketched in your paragraph 8) entirely unsatisfactory and believe, like Davis, that Winspeare would take this view as well.

For New York

  1. We are encouraged byWinspeare's response reported in O.GE18616. We are particularly encouraged by his acceptance of the view that his mandate is not limited to observance of the military situation, but covers the whole range of the Security Council resolutions including self-determination. As you know, our preference has always been to encourage the continuing involvement of the Special Representative rather than the Committee of Twenty-Four in what is essentially a highly delicate political exercise.
  2. Could you now approach the Secretary-General in the same terms as paragraph 12 of O.CH366035?4 When doing so you might, as Geneva suggests, refer to Davis' discussion with Winspeare and note that Winspeare had said he was happy to proceed with this delayed second visit to the territory as soon as authorised by the Secretary-General.
  3. The points covered in paragraphs 4 and 8 (and 7) ofO.GE18616 may be very relevant to the Secretary-General's decision. If the Secretary-General enquires, you might say that our own knowledge of the situation on the ground in Timor suggests that the extent of Fretilin control, over any area, is now very uncertain. This assessment may be disputed by Horta and other Fretilin personalities outside the country. However, we ourselves see much merit in the approach suggested by Winspeare, namely that Horta should be pressed by the United Nations to name specific locations to which Winspeare might safely go in order to make contact with the 'other side'. The onus would then be on Fretilin to designate some safe area.
  4. In regard to assisting Winspeare to reach such areas (if they exist) you may inform the Secretary-General that the Australian Government would, of course, be prepared to consider any request addressed to it by the United Nations. We would assume, however, that the Secretary-General would have first obtained full and firm assurances of safety from the other parties, namely the Indonesians and the PGET, before authorising the Special Representative to proceed to any claimed Fretilin area. Access would, of course, also need to be feasible and safe on technical grounds. Thus, while Fretilin may continue to occupy and control some mountain areas, access to them may not be possible because of technical hazards.

For other posts

  1. You will have seen O.JA7165. We are also sending to you separately Geneva's O.GE18616.
  2. Please now inform governments to which you are accredited of Australia's position on acceptance of the expected Indonesian invitation to accompany the Indonesian fact-finding mission to East Timor. We should also like posts, in particular Washington, Tokyo and Wellington, to encourage other governments to approach the Secretary-General in New York (and perhaps Winspeare in Geneva) along the lines that we have instructed Harry and Davis.
  3. In discussions with the Japanese Embassy in Canberra on 10 June, the Japanese made the point—on instructions from Tokyo—that the invitation to accompany the fact-finding mission would this time be issued by the Indonesian Government and not by the PGET, and that the stated purpose of the mission was 'fact-finding'and notto observe 'an act of self-determination'. Japan was thus likely to accept the Indonesian invitation if any of the United States, Australia or the United Nations took up the Indonesian invitation as well.

[NAA: A10005, TS202/111, ANNEX 3]