168 Cablegram to Lisbon

Canberra, 16 August 1975


Portuguese Timor

RefO.JA1201, O.JA1233 1

For Ambassador

You will appreciate the importance of the information reported in the reference telegrams from Jakarta. The Minister is currently considering the desirability of the Prime Minister sending a message to President Suharto which would underscore the value the Australian Government attaches to a cautious approach toward the evolving situation in Portuguese Timor.

  1. Meanwhile, we take the point made by Adam Malik to Woolcott that the Portuguese should be encouraged to reassert their control in Timor. We recognise in this regard that Governor Pires has been able to take some of the heat out of the situation as a result of his talk with UDT leaders. We are hopeful that these discussions can be carried forward with the arrival of Major Soares in Dili. But it may be useful, as opportunity permits, to let the Portuguese know that we fully support their efforts to regain full control of the situation in Timor.
  2. You might say that Australia had been greatly encouraged by the outcome of the Macau talks which promised both the measured and deliberate approach to decolonisation which we have always urged on the Portuguese, as well as a means by which the people of the territory would eventually be able to decide their own future. We should hope that despite the event[s] in Timor (and the debacle in Angola) the Portuguese would try to preserve as much as possible of the Macau program including the timetable for decolonisation laid down at Macau.

[NAA: Al0463, 801113/11/1, xi]