264 Submission to Willesee

Canberra, 16 October 1975


Portuguese Timor

A further point which we must now address is how the questions 'Did the Indonesians advise us in advance?' and 'If so, what did we say to them?' are to be answered. As the Government will not wish to deny that it had received advice from the Indonesians several days before the major direct act of intervention began, it may be that you will want to consider ensuring that we now record our views with the Indonesians about military intervention. The Government's hope that there would be no military intervention by the Indonesians has, of course, been registered many times over the past year; but you may want it to be done again.

  1. If so, we would suggest that Mr Woolcott be instructed to inform the Indonesian authorities at an appropriate level (as the information has come from Tjan we would leave this to Woolcott to decide) that we are very grateful for having been kept so closely informed, but that we wish again to express our disappointment that the Indonesian Government has in the end seen it as being necessary to resort to large-scale military intervention. We should draw attention to the dangers of the intervention. We could also add that our position has been firm throughout in terms of seeing integration as the best outcome of a process of decolonisation in Portuguese Timor, provided this were also the wish of the Timorese people themselves. But we had hoped that the Indonesian Government would have persisted in attempts to achieve its objective through diplomatic means. Mr Woolcott would need to add that his statement was to be taken as a formal expression of disapproval and that it is likely that the Australian Government would need to refer to this fact in the inevitable public debate that would follow in Australia when the full extent of Indonesian involvement becomes public knowledge.
  2. A draft telegram is attached for your consideration.1

ALANRENOUF - Secretary

[NAA: Al838, 3038/10/112, iii]