339 Cablegram to Canberra and Washington

Jakarta, 13 November 1975


Portuguese Timor

Ref 0.CH2863351

Should the Indonesian campaign in Portuguese Timor run into serious difficulties or even fail completely we do not believe the Armed Forces would blame President Soeharto and turn against him.

  1. While there was initial disappointment among some senior military advisers, notably General Moerdani, that the President would not authorise overt intervention in Portuguese Timor, it is evident that these same officers now strongly support the Indonesian covert military operation. Moreover, Soeharto's firm decision—he did not 'hesitate' at any stage—not to intervene openly was we believe supported by at least two key ABRI figures, Defence Minister Panggabean and Air Marshal Sudharmono. Soeharto's cautious approach has also been backed from the beginning by General Ali Murtopo.

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