259 Submission to Willesee

Canberra, 14 October 1975


Portuguese Timor

Jakarta telegram O.JA2376 of 13 October1 reports that Harry Tjan has said that the Indonesian military effort in Portuguese Timor will be upgraded as from 15 October, the aim being 'to take Dili by the middle of November'. If Tjan's comments do reflect Indonesian decisions - and his comments are confirmed by other information we have - there has been an acceleration of the timetable for Indonesian intervention as we previously understood it.

  1. A JIO assessment of the likely course of military events in Portuguese Timor is being prepared. This latest information on Indonesian intentions will be accommodated into that assessment. Tjan's remarks, however, do not really add very much to what we already know about Indonesian determination that the situation should be kept on the boil and indeed resolved by an Indonesian-directed operation. What we do not know is the extent to which the physical involvement of Indonesian forces can continue to be disguised or denied by the Indonesians, and the extent to which FRETILIN will be able to maintain its defences once significant advances are made by the anti-FRETILIN forces. So far FRETILIN has been holding together (but not making any progress) in the border area near Batugade.
  2. There seems little doubt that the Indonesians are preparing to step up their activities. As we discussed on 9 October we shall clearly need to put Australian policy to close examination towards the end of this month.2

G.B.FEAKES - Acting Deputy Secretary

[NAA: Al838, 3038/10/1/2, ii]