308 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram [199A] [1] LONDON, 21 October 1943, 7.50 p.m.

SECRET

Portugal The Portuguese Ambassador [2] called to see me somewhat urgently last night as he is leaving on a short visit to Lisbon to-day. He told me that his Government had received reports that in certain sections of the Australian Press there had been statements to the effect that after the war the Australian flag should fly over Timor.

I told the Ambassador that I had heard no reports of this kind. If such statements had been made they were Press statements and entirely [unofficial]. I reminded him that with his long experience of this country he would know to what extent the Press here was free. Our Australian Press, I continued, was just as free and if anything rather more outspoken. I told him that he could advise his Government that they need have no apprehensions whatsoever about Portuguese Timor. The Commonwealth Government had given certain undertakings [3] and the Portuguese Government could rest assured that we would live up to them.

I then went on to say that he would realize that the whole area north of Australia was a matter of the greatest concern to us and that after the war we would undoubtedly contemplate the closest co-operation by the Portuguese Government with ourselves in regard to defence of that area and also with regard to questions of communications, transport and trade. The Ambassador replied that that was equally the desire and hope of the Portuguese Government, and we had a long and friendly general conversation before he left.

BRUCE

1 Material in square brackets has been corrected from Bruce's copy on file AA:M100, October 1943. The Canberra copy was numbered 189.

2 The Duke of Palmela.

3 See Document 234.

[AA:A816, 19/301/821]