338 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 13 November 1975


Portuguese Timor

When I saw General Yoga on 12 November about the deceased Australian journalists1 I also raised briefly some other matters related to Timor, given the key role Yoga plays in all aspects of this issue.

(I) Indonesian Involvement

  1. I asked Yoga about Information Minister Mashuri's statement of the previous day that Indonesia was training UDT andAPODETI forces.2 I said that it had been reported previously that Foreign Minister Malik had said this but he had denied it. Yoga said that what Mashuri had been reported as saying was true enough. Mashuri had in mind however the training of APODETI and UDT forces to go back to East Timor with the refugees. The latter wanted to return to their lands but wanted to do so in conditions of security. The training to which Mashuri referred related to this. It was, Yoga said, 'village defence training' not training 'in attack techniques'.
  2. . I asked Yoga whether, in the wake of Malik's talks with Portugal, Indonesia would limit its military involvement in East Timor. Yoga said predictably and blandly that Indonesia's position was that there is no Indonesian military involvement in Timor. He repeated however that UDT, APODETI and KOTA could be expected to maintain the pressure on the ground in East Timor. Also Indonesia could not be expected to remain inactive given FRETILIN's continuing violation of Indonesia's border and given the understandable wish of many of the refugees to return under protection.

(II) FRETILIN 'Attacks'

  1. Yoga said that on the 10 November FRETILIN forces had made their '7th attack' on Indonesian territory. Most of these incidents were either mortar ftre into Indonesia or minor skirmishes. The sixth attack on the Indonesian border village of Kota had, however, involved two companies. Fourteen houses had been destroyed and 300 head of cattle stolen. 17 civilians, 2 professional soldiers and 4 civil defence personnel had been killed on the Indonesian side of the border. Yoga said that if this continued, Indonesia must be expected to retaliate.

(III) Possible Talks Between the Parties3

  1. I also asked Yoga for his assessment of the chances of FRETILIN agreeing to attend talks. Yoga said that perhaps Australia could use its links with FRETILIN to influence them to attend. I said that, as he would know, Malik had made this point to me last Friday and that I had told him then that we did not wish to be regarded as having special links with FRETILIN. I added that there were no FRETILIN leaders in Australia at present but if any turned up we would be prepared to urge them to attend talks. I said that Portugal would be better placed to press FRETILIN to attend the talks.
  2. Yoga said he accepted the point. He added that while Indonesia could get UDT and APODETI to attend talks if they materialised he doubted whether Portugal or anybody else would in fact be able to get FRETILIN to them, at least until FRETILIN accepted that its position could not last.
  3. I asked Yoga whether the reference in the Memorandum of Understanding4 to the equitable representation of all the parties meant that KOTA and TRIBALISTA should also be included in any talks. Yoga said that he had not thought of this but doubted if it would be so interpreted. KOTA and TRIBALISTA did not have at present defined areas of influence like FRETILIN, UDT and APODETI.

(IV) Possible Venues for Talks

  1. Yoga asked if the recent political changes in Australia meant that Australia was still a possible venue for any talks. I said that we now had a new Caretaker Government but as far as I knew at present the offer was still open. In fact Portugal had suggested the talks should be in Australia. Yoga said he 'personally' thought Darwin was 'out'. FRETILIN would not accept talks in Indonesia and he did not believe that UDT, and possibly APODETI also, would want talks in Australia (our O.JA2965 refers5). We might think it unfair but they did not now regard Australia as neutral. There were too many supporters and defenders ofFRETILIN in Australia.
  2. Yoga said that if the talks took place, he thought the most likely venues now would be Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, possibly the former.

(V) United Nations

  1. I asked Yoga whether he had seen Sani. I added that, as I had said before, it was our view that Indonesia needed to do more to protect its position internationally, especially in the United Nations, as Timor would be considered in the Fourth Committee later this month. Yoga told me that he had briefed Sani earlier in the day and that Sani had been instructed to do everything he could to convince the Africans and others that FRETILIN was not an established liberation movement. Sani apparently has been given 'documents, photographs and slides' to use in New York.
  2. To my surprise Yoga then said that he had seen the Draft Resolution and the Draft Consensus we had prepared.6 He had told Sani that with one or two minor amendments they were acceptable to Indonesia if it seemed in New York that they would be needed. I asked Yoga how he knew of the drafts. He said from Canberra. I told Yoga that any texts we had prepared were at this stage only of a contingency nature, as the item was coming up in the Fourth Committee. They were intended to be helpful to Indonesia. We wished to have contingency drafts which could, if required, be put in first before other less sympathetic groups, for example FRETILIN's African groups might seek to put in drafts. Yoga said that he accepted this and said that Sani would be in contact, primarily with the Portuguese delegation, but also with our own delegation on his return to New York.


[NAA: Al838, 906/30/14/3, i]