222 Cablegram to Canberra

New York, 10 September 1975


Portuguese Timor

Ref. O.CH2655481

We appreciate that the intention in your reference telegram is to seek regional or international and not United Nations endorsement of an acceptable conclusion reached in Macao or elsewhere, we note the minimum candidates you suggest as possible participating regional countries, and we are conscious of the pace and complexity of developments in Jakarta.

  1. We appreciate also that, for the time being at least, we are putting to one side the question of use of United Nations machinery. Nevertheless, it may be necessary and possibly advantageous to have appropriate UN recognition further down the line provided this can be achieved in a way quite acceptable to Indonesia. The relationship between regional endorsement and possible associated action in New York will need to be kept in mind.
  2. In the Committee of Twenty-Four there is a tendency in relation to the problem of any particular territory to follow the lead of countries from the region concerned, and indeed it is normally hoped that a regional lead will be given. As you know, Salim has already behaved in this way in relation to Portuguese Timor. This consideration should, we think, have a bearing on the countries which might be invited to participate in your proposed endorsement. In particular, we would suggest that you consider including two other Asian members of the Committee of Twenty-Four, namely Fiji and India. You will have in mind India's helpful attitude at the Lisbon meeting of the Committee of Twenty-Four.2 We do not think that Indian participation would affect the Chinese position. It would seem natural to add Fiji to Australia and New Zealand.
  3. We would be interested to know whether the matter is under discussion with the Government of Papua New Guinea. Obviously an early gesture like this by an independent Papua New Guinea could count for a lot in its future relations with Indonesia. In any event, in a few days, PNG will be another regional country just as closely affected as Australia.3

[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, xiii]