82 Minute from Forrester to Feakes


Portuguese Timor

I refer to paragraph 2 of the attached record of conversation with the Portuguese Ambassador and the Ambassador's reference to a 'special ingredient' in Macao.

  1. In our most recent cable to Lisbon we suggested that Portugal should come to regard Portuguese Timor in the same light as Macao, i.e. Portugal took account of Indonesia as a large and influential neighbour just as it takes account of China's view.
  2. Paragraph 2 of the record suggests that the Portuguese, on the contrary, have a deprecatory view of the Indonesians. It is perhaps time that they were put right, in the interests principally of an orderly outcome in Timor. It could be put to them that Indonesia is the world's fifth most populous country; Indonesia is a country of some influence in the region; Indonesian civilization has a long and illustrious past; and that Indonesians could suggest that earlier 'Indonesian' dynasties had suzerainty over islands like Timor in the same sense that the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties 'ruled' what is now China. Such an approach could at least induce the Portuguese to take more account of Indonesian attitudes given that they already, in the Ambassador's own words, 'kow-tow' to Chinese attitudes.
  3. An introductory call by the Ambassador could provide the opportunity to make these points.

[NAA: A1838, 3038/10/1, xvii]