481 Cablegram to New York

Canberra, 13 July 1976


East Timor: United Nations

Ref O.JA77481

Unless you see any problems in this course of action at this stage we should now like you to send a letter to the Secretary General along the following lines:


'I have read with interest Mr Winspeare Guicciardi's second report on East Timor which brings up to date the account of his activities pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 384 and 389.2 The report reflects the seriousness with which Mr Winspeare Guicciardi, as your Special Representative, has approached what is a very difficult undertaking. The work he has done is much appreciated by the Australian Government.

I am sure you will recognise the importance Australia attaches to this matter. It is the hope of the Australian Government that all possible avenues for the further pursuit of Mr Winspeare Guicciardi's mission could be explored in order to ensure continued United Nations involvement in consultations with the parties in East Timor. In particular, as has been known to you in recent weeks, my Government is hopeful that Mr Winspeare Guicciardi will be able to proceed with a second visit to East Timor. The Australian Government is willing to lend whatever assistance it reasonably can in such an enterprise.

My Government recognises your concern that the Special Representative should be able to visit all areas of the territory, including such as might be held by the FRETILIN forces. In this connection I have been instructed to reiterate that, were FRETILIN able to designate a venue for a meeting with the Special Representative, and if such a venue were accessible and all parties had given firm assurance of safety, the Australian Government would be prepared to consider a request for help with transport'.3


  1. We recognise that Waldheim will be reluctant to authorise a further visit by Winspeare without the concurrence of the Security Council (paragraphs 7 of UN59014 and 5920).5 But in fact Winspeare can hardly be said to have yet discharged his functions under the existing Security Council mandate (Resolution 389). In any event in conveying your letter to the Secretary General we should hope that you could reinforce orally our concern, in common with all of the ASEAN countries and New Zealand, that a return visit should be made, and in the near future. It also seems to us that with a second visit being urged by FRETILIN as well as the PGET, the political risks to the Secretary General in authorising a return visit would be minimised. You could of course inform the Secretary General that we share his concern that his Special Representative should be able to visit all areas of the territory. Our understanding, however, is that the PGET authorities on this occasion are agreeable to Winspeare visiting all provinces, and indeed 'any part of East Timor', and stay as long as he likes. In any event the PGET's willingness to facilitate a visit of this kind might be thoroughly explored and tested.6
  2. In regard to FRETILIN-controlled areas, you could repeat that, despite FRETILIN's latest communications7 to the Secretary General, we are by no means convinced that FRETILIN has any secure and accessible areas under its control. But again our view is that FRETILIN's ability to nominate a site for talks might be tested. If in fact FRETILIN were able to designate a time and place for a meeting with Winspeare, and if such a venue were accessible and all parties had given the United Nations firm assurances of safety, Australia would be prepared to consider helping out with transport. We should of course expect the United Nations to obtain the required assurances and guarantees.
  3. For the sake of avoiding unnecessary misunderstanding with the Indonesians it may be as well, as suggested in JA7748, for you to go over the ground once again with Sani before sending the proposed letter to the Secretary General.

[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, xxiv]