207 Record of Conversation Between Tjan, Lim and Taylor

Jakarta, 2 September 1975


Portuguese Timor

Tjan and Lim Bian Kie obviously set out to impress upon me that statements by the Acting Foreign Minister, Mochtar, were not at variance with the Portuguese Timor policy of the President and Ali Murtopo, and to show that the policy of the latter had not changed. Tjan first gave me a copy of the draft terms of reference of the Joint Authority and said that this was clear proof that Mochtar was following the same policy as the generals. He drew my attention in particular to the distinction drawn in the draft between the first phase, that is the restoration of peace and order, and the second phase, that is the decolonisation process. This distinction was very important for Indonesia because it was in that first phase that Indonesian forces would ensure that result of any pursuant decolonisation program would be integration with Indonesia. Indonesian forces could not have their hands tied during this period.

  1. Tjan and Lim Bian Kie stressed that Ali Murtopo and Yoga Sugama were in control of the Portuguese Timor policy. The President was aware of this policy and of the way it was being implemented. The President on the advice of Ali Murtopo had some time ago decided that Indonesia should achieve the integration of Portuguese Timor without the use of naked military intervention; the costs in political terms of the latter would be detrimental to Indonesian interests. But there was no doubt that it was the President's policy that Portuguese Timor should be integrated.
  2. Tjan and Lim Bian Kie said that Mochtar was not fully aware of the OPSUS operation in Portuguese Timor. His performance, since becoming Acting Minister, had been good as far as OPSUS was concerned. It was important for the President that Indonesia maintain a clean reputation in international diplomacy. Mochtar was being used to this end (although he was probably not aware of it). He was not leading any group opposed to the generals on the Portuguese Timor policy.
  3. Tjan and Lim Bian Kie said that the draft Memorandum of Understanding and the terms of reference of the Joint Authority had been discussed in general terms with the President, who approved them on a 'take it or leave it' basis. Indonesia would not compromise with Portugal on them. If Portugal did not accept this draft, Indonesia would not mind. Indonesia could wait; it did not have to integrate Portuguese Timor tomorrow. It would not be sucked in by the Portuguese to a unilateral military intervention. Indonesia was fully aware that the Portuguese were trying to force Indonesia to intervene without an invitation, but Indonesia would not come to this party. If, in the event of failure to reach agreement on an invitation for Indonesian intervention, the Portuguese turned the question over to the United Nations, then that was also acceptable to the Indonesians. The United Nations could do nothing. It had not been able to solve the Angola problem and it could not do any better in Timor. They were unimpressed by the possibility that through the United Nations Russia and China would have a legitimate means of showing interest in Timor. They also brushed aside any attempt to argue that the situation in Angola was different to that in Timor because the Russians and Chinese were already involved.
  4. Tjan and Lim Bian Kie then gave the following account of Indonesian planning for Timor. There would be no outright military intervention. Indonesia was now looking to UDT to bring about integration. On 1 September they had received from the President of UDT, Lopes da Cruz, a statement supporting integration with Indonesia, and asking for Indonesian assistance. This statement would not be published now but would be kept until an appropriate occasion arose. Such an occasion would be a declaration of independence by FRETILIN; if that happened, not only would the UDT statement be published, but APODETI and other UDT groups around the country would also make similar statements. Lopes da Cruz was in Maliana with the Secretary-General of the party, Dominiges Olivares and there was considerable support for them in Maliana. Pro-Indonesian groups had control of the border areas. Indonesian support­ volunteers, arms and so on--could be sent to the Lopes da Cruz faction of UDT to fight FRETILIN. (In answer to a question Tjan said that arms had not yet been sent to the UDT in Maliana.) It was expected that as the fighting continued more and more UDT supporters would come out in favour of integration.
  5. While the civil war was going on, Indonesia would appeal to Portugal again to restore peace and order and reinstitute the decolonisation program agreed upon in Macao. If Portugal refused, Indonesia would declare Portuguese Timor a 'no-man's-land', but would still not intervene militarily. There would however, be a very good case for integration once the pro­ Indonesia UDT faction gained the upper hand in the fighting.

[NAA: Al0463, 801/13/11/1, xiii]