320 Cablegram to Jakarta

Canberra, 4 November 1975


Timor: Journalists

Ref. OJA28351

While taking the point in your paragraph 2, we feel it important to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to establish beyond all reasonable doubt the fate of the missing newsmen. We therefore feel, and the Minister agrees, that Rodgers should proceed to Kupang and that either he or both he and Johnson should then seek to proceed to Atambua.

  1. If they succeed in getting to Atambua, we should hope that the Indonesians would agree to lend their good offices in arranging interviews with Lopes da Cruz or indeed with the UDT-APODETI Field Commander as you have already canvassed with Tjan (JA28362). The Minister would also like you to continue to pursue with the Indonesians the possibility of Indonesia providing an aircraft to fly Rodgers, or Rodgers and Johnson, to Atambua. We note in this connexion that, while General Yoga told you on 1 November that he saw no reason for a visit to Atambua, he also said that there would be no objections from the Indonesian side if we were to proceed with the idea and indeed that he would facilitate the provision of an aircraft to enable us to do so.
  2. As regards what might be done further in Jakarta, we have been pinning our hopes on General Yoga's suggestion to you that early this week he hoped to have some more definite information and might be able to hand over some personal effects and 'some remains'. You will no doubt be pursuing this matter with Yoga in the next day or two.
  3. We are, of course, inclined to agree with you that unfortunately we may never obtain what the Australian Government would regard as a full and satisfactory account of what happened at Balibo. But the Minister is anxious that all avenues be explored and wishes the Embassy to continue its efforts in this regard.


[NAA: Al838, 3038/10/12/4, i]