470 Cablegram to Canberra

New York, 13 June 1976


Timor—Visit by Special Representative of UN Secretary-General

I saw Waldheim late on 11 June. He was already aware of Minister's statements1 in the House and had spoken to Winspeare from Rome. He had just received Indonesian invitation to visit East Timor on 24 June.2 He had also been advised by his staff that neither the Committee of 24 [nor] the Security Council was likely to accept the invitation to accompany the Indonesian mission. The Provisional Government had presented what was in effect a fait accompli.

  1. I stressed that we had reached the view before receiving the Indonesian invitation that a second visit by Winspeare was desirable before the end of June.3 There had been fresh developments and Winspeare could provide additional facts. His visit could begin before the 24 June and perhaps extend beyond it. The Indonesians and PGET were particularly anxious for him to be there on 24 June but I believed they would accept him earlier.
  2. Waldheim said Winspeare was not prepared to go again to Timor just to meet the same people he met before. He must be able to make contact with the opposition. He could not sit around for days as he had done in Australia.
  3. I pointed out that Winspeare could certainly visit places he had not been to before, on the South coast for example. We were also anxious that he should assess the feelings of a wider cross section of people. However the extent ofFretilin presence was uncertain. This might be tested by challenging Horta and other Fretilin leaders to name one or more places where they would be prepared to meet Winspeare. If there were such a place and if the PGET gave assurances of safety, Australia would consider a request for help with transport. Of course, some places in the mountains might be inaccessible for purely technical reasons. Waldheim said he did not think it was reasonable for Winspeare to go out just to visit one or two more places. He would, however, consider our suggestion that Horta be invited to name a place for a meeting.
  4. I suggested that he consider also the possiblity of having Winspeare's visit coincide with the Indonesian mission. The observing of this mission was a somewhat different proposal from the Assembly meeting on 31 May. The observers were being invited to visit several different centres and to verify the wishes of the people. Australia had not felt able to lend its presence to the ceremony in Dili in the absence of observation by the UN. We thought there might be wider participation by Ambassadors from Jakarta in this next phase. Our own decision whether to accept an invitation would be influenced by what the UN did. It would be difficult for the committee of 24 to send a mission, but Winspeare could go.
  5. Waldheim said he would let me know his decision as soon as possible


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