Minister's Statement o[n] East Timor
Tjan told us today 30 November that the Minister's Statement1 had been extremely well received by the Indonesian Government. He had sent copies of the text last night to President Soeharto, General Ali Murtopo, Foreign Minister Adam Malik, General Yoga Sugama (Head of BAKIN), Information Minister Mashuri and General Benny Moerdani.
- Apparently Australia was the first country to announce that it did not recognise the UDI. Tjan said that this fact would be very helpful for Australia-Indonesia relations in the longer term.
- Commenting on the text of the Minister's Statement Tjan noted that 'The Australian Government was bound to continue to recognise Portuguese sovereignty in Portuguese Timor.' He said that one of the main questions that now had to be clarified was whether Portugal itself continued to hold [onto] its sovereignty in Portuguese Timor.If Portugal said it was obliged to accommodate FRETILIN's action, it was reasonable to conclude that Portugal had abrogated its legal claim to sovereignty.
- We also now had a situation in which not one of the five Timorese parties recognised Portuguese sovereignty in Portuguese Timor.
- As regards Indonesia's attitude to the question of Portuguese sovereignty the only public comment was contained in the Indonesian Government Statement on the UDI as follows: 'Portugal is now no longer considered responsible for what happens in Portuguese Timor following the unilateral proclamation of the so-called independence of East Timor by FRETILIN' (JA3366)2
- We expect that the Minister's Statement will be given extensive treatment in the media tomorrow (there are no Sunday papers).
[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, xvi]