92 Cablegram to Lisbon and Jakarta

Canberra, 21 February 1975


Portuguese Timor

An AAP report of 20 February from Jakarta states that Fretilin and UDT have called for 'an immediate proclamation' of the territory's independence. The report states that 'the call was made through Timor Governor Lemos Pires'. This suggests that Pires might have conveyed the UDT-Fretilin case to the Portuguese authorities in Lisbon during his recent visit.

For Lisbon (Cooper)

The clear implication of this report is that UDT and Fretilin are pressing for a handover of power without recourse to self-determination. We should like Cooper to call as soon as possible on the Portuguese (preferably at Ministerial level) and stress the importance Australia attaches to a measured and deliberate process of decolonisation in Timor through arrangements leading to an internationally acceptable act of self-determination. You might also invite the attention of the Portuguese to the harmful effects the reported statement by Fretilin and UDT might have on Indonesian attitudes. (Reference O.CH177826.)1

For Jakarta

Taylor should refer to this report in the course of his discussions with the Governor, also making the point that we strongly support a measured and deliberate approach to decolonisation, which should culminate in an internationally acceptable act of self-determination.2

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