204 Cablegram to Lisbon and Jakarta

Canberra, 31 August 1975


Portuguese Timor-Humanitarian Concerns

Ref O.GE13766 1

Acting Minister today 31 August expressed wish that RAAF meet requests from Red Cross stemming from what Pasquier describes as urgent need in Dili for medical supplies and personnel.

  1. Red Cross is flying supplies and personnel to Darwin tonight and, provided necessary approvals are obtained, it is quite likely that in the next few days the RAAF will make a number of flights from Darwin to various destinations in Timor on the Red Cross's behalf.
  2. We have also been asked by the Red Cross to make available an RAAF plane for use under Red Cross operational control.
  3. We are therefore finding ourselves more and more involved in Timor, for proper humanitarian reasons and in response to Portuguese requests to us and the ICRC. At the same time, however, Indonesia, to whom an identical appeal was addressed by Portugal, has had its offers of and attempt at assistance rejected by Portuguese authorities (and has publicly expressed its unhappiness at this).
  4. Please say to the Portuguese that, for the reasons set out in paragraph 8 of our O.CH261072,2 and bearing our own increasing and largely involuntary involvement in mind, we think that the Indonesians must be allowed promptly to play an appropriate part in the necessary humanitarian activities now going on.

    For Jakarta

  5. Please advise the Indonesian authorities.

[NAA: A1838, 696/5, iv]