233 Commonwealth Government to Lord Stanley, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 71 24 July 1938,

SECRET

Your 69 of 22nd July. [1]

Commonwealth Government had no knowledge whatever that Wittouck was associated with group on whose behalf Abbot, Tout and Creer were acting. In the conversations with the Commonwealth Government [2] Creer represented he was acting for purely Australian and British interests, but would not disclose principals, and no representations were actually made to Commonwealth Government by Creer to support any application by his group. In any case support would not have been given in absence of information about his group. The knowledge you furnish that Wittouck is behind this group confirms our attitude. Creer was definitely informed by Minister External Affairs [3] that the Commonwealth Government would not only not be associated with any group which represented any foreign interest, and especially Japanese, but would definitely oppose any attempt to obtain concessions on behalf such interests.

In meantime, Commonwealth Government was approached by Oil Search Ltd which fully satisfied Commonwealth Government as to their bonafides, capital and purely Australian interests.

We desire that action as indicated in telegram 69 be taken immediately, as Oil Search has already submitted application direct to Lisbon by cablegram, confirmed by air mail and is sending representative to Lisbon by air.

In submitting these representations to Lisbon, we feel in light of knowledge about Wittouck, that the Portuguese Government should be informed we dissociate ourselves entirely from his activities, and any representations he might make to Portuguese Government.

1 Document 232.

2 W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, met J. N. Creer in Sydney on 15 February 1938.

3 W. M. Hughes. In a letter to Creer on 5 May 1938 Hughes suggested a personal meeting the following weekend. No record of such a meeting has been found, and Hodgson's letter to Creer of June 1938 seems to suggest that it did not take place. (See AA :

A981, Timor (Portuguese) 22, iii.)

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