354 Cablegram to Jakarta

Canberra, 2 December 1975


Portuguese Timor

We were glad to see from paragraph 5 of your JA33941 that you emphasized to Sunarso and Tjan the importance Australia attached to the need to determine the future of Portuguese Timor through an expression of the wishes of the people themselves. We hope that the Indonesians will maintain their repeated public commitments to self-determination for Portuguese Timor [despite the changes in the situation in Portuguese Timor] which may occur.2 We should also like you to make the point to the Indonesians as suitable opportunities occur that their interests and ours would seem to be served by trying to avoid bloodshed on both sides as much as possible. We have in mind the observation of Tjan and Sunarso reported in paragraph 3 of your JA3394,3 which seemed to accept too easily that bloodshed will be fairly widespread.At the same time, we appreciate that part ofTjan's purpose is no doubt to hurry us along towards removing Australian observers from Portuguese Timor whose presence might prove a liability for the Indonesians as their operations develop.4

[NAA: Al0463, 801/13/11/1, xvi]