300 Mr David Ross, U.K. Consul in Dili, to Department of External Affairs

Radio message unnumbered DILI, 25 January 1942, 10.29 p.m.

Received 25 January 1942


When we evacuate our troops from Dilli Japanese now interned must be released and their Consul [1] will telegraph immediately full particulars and general situation to Tokyo via Macao. My primary duties were the promotion of good relations with Portuguese and observation of Japanese influence here but neither are of any value now. Portuguese have agreed to ask for assistance if the Japanese attack, so local friendly relations or otherwise cannot influence instructions to this effect issued by the Portuguese Government in Lisbon to the local Governor. [2] Japanese influence has benefited greatly owing to our violation of Portuguese territory but it cannot increase under war conditions. Twenty-four Japanese have been interned under bad conditions without any international legal right and will bear personal as well as political malice. This, together with feeling of political victory and Latin [3] connections amongst senior Portuguese administrative officers including military reinforcements expected from Africa, will make official position here untenable for white British officers and Dutch. I would appreciate early indication of your views. [4]

1 Tokitaro Kuroki.

2 M. de A. Ferreira de Carvalho.

3 The original was here annotated 'group mutilated'.

4 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, replied on 26 January that he appreciated the difficult position Ross would be placed in by the withdrawal of Allied forces, but that be considered it would then be even more important for the Commonwealth Govt to have proper representation in Dili 'in order particularly to give due notice of likely unfavourable developments'. See radio message 5 on file AA:A981, Timor (Portuguese) 3, i.