On 20 March, Kelly (Portuguese Desk, State) said that a middle level 'Working Group' of State Department officers whose directorates had an interest in Timor had met recently. It had come to the following broad conclusions:
- the Timor issue was peripheral to United States interests as a whole and peripheral in the context of United States relations with Portugal;
- it was in the United States interest to have the Timor question sorted out with the minimum of fuss. It did not really mind whether Timor merged with Indonesia -a possibility which had something to be said for it- or decided to go its own way. But it was a matter of concern that the Indonesians not take any action which would blow up the issue;
- the United States should continue to support fully the Australian attitude on and initiatives in respect of Timor. It should not however get out in front of Australia;
- it was pleased that Portugal and Indonesia were now talking and encouraged this development;
- there was a danger that if too much attention was focused on Timor, the issues could be magnified and the problem enlarged. It believed that the United States Embassy in Jakarta was perhaps paying too much attention on it.
- Kelly said that it was unlikely that there would be a further meeting of the Working Group in the absence of notable new developments.
- Copies of this memorandum have been sent to Jakarta, Lisbon and JIO.
J. P. McCARTHY
[NAA: A1838, 3038/7/1, i]