62 Mr H. Fitzmaurice, U.K. Consul-General in Batavia, to Sir George Pearce, Minister for External Affairs

Letter (air mail) BATAVIA, 9 September 1937

CONFIDENTIAL

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th August on the subject of developments in Portuguese Timor.

[1]

2. It is to be hoped that the steps now being taken by Mr Pascoe will lead to effective development of the Staughton concession.

If, however, Mr Wittouck, in the name either of the Asia Investment Company Limited or of the Allied Mining Corporation obtains the concession for which he has applied, this would seem likely to preclude Mr Pascoe from obtaining any larger area than is now covered by the Staughton concessions.

3. In regard to the question whether Mr Wittouck will obtain the concession he desires or not, the Governor of Portuguese Timor was non-committal when he passed through Batavia. He indicated to me, as you will have already learned from my despatches of August 30th [2] and 31st [3], that he did not favour the development of Timor's mining resources by one big concern alone, but he also said that the actual grant of concessions was a matter for the Central Government and not for him. It is thus only through Lisbon that extra concessions could be obtained by Mr Staughton or Mr Pascoe, though the Portuguese Government will no doubt attach weight to the opinion of the Governor, and it would, therefore, be well worth while for their representatives in Timor to secure his sympathetic interest, and if possible his support, for their application. The inadequacy of such a small area as three thousand acres for a thorough geological survey investigation and eventual exploitation seems a strong argument, and may receive a good hearing if the Portuguese Government are in fact anxious to encourage some concern other than the Allied Mining Corporation.

4. The present position of Mr Wittouck's group is, as far as I am aware, that they are still awaiting the definite grant of their concession by the Portuguese Government. They have spent some fifty thousand pounds (50,000.-) on preliminary work, but work was lately reported to be at a standstill, and the company was said recently to be 'awaiting the official documents from the Portuguese Government'.

5. I have recently seen a newly published report of the Allied Mining Corporation, which purports to explain the position of this corporation and the affiliated Asia Investment Company, presumably for the benefit of prospective shareholders. This explanation is summarised in the enclosed memorandum. [4]

H. FITZMAURICE

1 Document 59.

2 Not printed.

3 Document 61.

4 Not printed.

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