Cablegram to Washington

Canberra, 28 January 1963

0.1785/174 SECRET

For Beale from Barwick

I do not believe you should give the Portuguese Ambassador any reason to hope that we can support Portugal's position in Timor. Prime Minister has already made clear to Salazar our belief that the principle of self-determination should be applied to the Portuguese overseas territories and we are at present considering the desirability of re-iterating this warning in the context of likely discussions on Timor in the Committee of Twenty-four.

2. You should express as your personal opinion to Pereira that neither Australia nor the United States would be extremely [likely]1 to send a man to defend Timor against Indonesian attempts to annex the Portuguese parts of the island by force. You could then suggest that Portugal would do well to approach some international body to recommend a future for the Timorese. Obviously the anachronism of this tiny colony cannot remain in their control much longer. Britain, France, the Dutch and of course Australia have recognised the trend of history and realised that colonial territories must be given the right to determine their future. Portugal deludes herself if she believes she can retain indefinitely what she holds by right of conquest.2

[NAA: A1838, 3038/1011, ii]