131 Commonwealth Government to Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 22 9 March 1938,

Your secret telegram No. 9 of 24th January. [1] Timor Oil.

Question has been considered by Commonwealth Government and Minister External Affairs [2] is now investigating whole position.

Latest development is that entirely new group, comprising English and Australian capital, is now interesting itself in Timor concessions, and is negotiating with Staughton group view to liquidation all latter's interests. It then proposes making entirely new application to Lisbon and to Governor at Dilli [3] on lines suggested by Ambassador Lisbon. [4]

In meantime it is desired that Portuguese Government be informed through Ambassador of this proposal to show that Commonwealth Government is still interested in the question and to ensure that concessions covering whole area are not granted to Wittouck [5] or any other group.

1 Document 120.

2 W. M. Hughes.

3 Major Alvaro Neves da Fontoura.

4 Sir Walford Selby.

5 See Document 49, note 3.

[AA : A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 22, ii]