395 Cablegram to Canberra

New York, 6 January 1976


Portuguese Timor: Special Representative of Secretary-General

Ref 0.CH305078, 0.UN4844, 0.UN48471

Sani told me this morning 6 January, that his discussion with Winspeare on 5 January was more technical than political and concentrated on Winspeare's schedule and arrangements. Sani had asked whether Winspeare intended visiting Australia and the latter had thought this would not be necessary.

  1. Winspeare had mentioned that Horta was in New York and that they would meet. (Arrangements for this meeting have been made for 6 January.) Horta had apparently indicated that he would like to accompany Winspeare. Sani had made plain that this would mean the end of the mission as far as Indonesia was concerned and Winspeare had likewise said that he did not treat the possibility seriously.
  2. Winspeare was thinking of arriving in Jakarta on Thursday 15 January and remaining there for two or three days before moving on to Timor. Sani said that the schedule and arrangements for Timor would be worked out with representatives of the PGET whom Winspeare would most likely meet in Kupang for this purpose.
  3. When I saw him this morning, Winspeare volunteered immediately that it was not his intention to visit Australia and that he wished the Government to be assured of this and that he was fully conscious of the difficulties which the Timor question had already caused and might still cause for the Australian Government. He recognised that Australia was not a party concerned and that these were limited to Indonesia and, for the time being, Portugal.
  4. Winspeare said that suggestions had been made from FRETILIN quarters that he should go from Timor to Darwin specifically to see the FRETILIN refugees there who were claimed to be numerous and important. He had no intention of acceding to this request. I added that in any event the claim could not be substantiated and Winspeare commented that it was obvious that information reaching the outside world from FRETILIN sources via Darwin was being very considerably magnified. For this reason Winspeare said he would greatly appreciate an informed Australian view of the remaining strength and significance of FRETILIN in Timor. He looked to us as detached and close observers, but you will appreciate that there was very little indeed that I could say to him of any value on this score.
  5. Winspeare is approaching his mission in a realistic and helpful way. If, therefore, there is any further information about the situation on the ground, including the position of FRETILIN, which could be passed to him on any basis it would be worthwhile trying to provide this assistance as soon as possible.
  6. Winspeare leaves New York tomorrow night 7 January. He will spend Thursday 8 in Lisbon where he is to see the Foreign Minister and possibly one other, returning to Geneva this night. He will remain in Geneva until about Tuesday 13 January when he leaves for Jakarta. He has in mind a maximum of two or three days in Jakarta beginning on Thursday 15 and seeing Malik on Friday 16 followed by about a week in East Timor. Winspeare is prepared to meet the PGET in Jakarta, Kupang or elsewhere in Indonesia before entering East Timor provided the purpose of the meeting is exclusively to arrange his movements within East Timor.
  7. Winspeare will be accompanied by a member of his staff, Eric Jantzen (?),2 a Malaysian national of Danish origin, at present holidaying in Penang who will join him in Jakarta. He will also have a Brazilian Portuguese-speaker from Tan Ming-Chao's staff and a United Nations security guard, with secretarial or other assistance to be provided by UNDP in Jakarta. Because ofUNDP resources in Jakarta, Winspeare is prepared to treat it as his base-camp and to return there briefly after visiting Timor
  8. In addition to his request to us for information, Winspeare asked whether we could look urgently at the possibility of arranging a private Australian charter aircraft at UN expense with some sort of temporary UN identification (for example UN decals) for his use in Timor. The aircraft would need to be small enough to use on airstrips other than Bacau to which he might have access and would need to carry up to six and possibly more passengers.
  9. Winspeare attaches some importance to the transport problem because he must appear to be reasonably independent in his movements and because Tang Ming-Chao has already indicated Chinese political objections to the use of an Indonesian air force aircraft.
  10. Winspeare is also having enquiries about aircraft charter made in Singapore (which he is concerned would be too expensive) and in Jakarta itself where he understands there may be several possibilities. He feels, however, that if he is to fly from Jakarta to Timor in a charter aircraft he would need something the size of a Fokker Friendship.
  11. It is Winspeare's hope, if the chartering of an Australian aircraft for his use in Timor is the most feasible solution, that the Australian Government would not see any embarrassment in such a commercial arrangement. I said I thought it possible that there could be some Indonesian misgivings and made no commitment other than to relay his request and to undertake to let him have your reaction and any relevant information preferably in Geneva by 12 January.
  12. As to the mission itself, Winspeare obviously did not yet feel well enough informed to make much comment of substance. He does regard it, however, as being 'so difficult as to be easy'. He intends to make a particular effort to reintroduce the ICRC into Dili and any other centres that may be open to them.We discussed this desirable objective at some length including in relation to domestic opinion in Australia and touched on the possibility of the Indonesian Red Cross being used initially as ICRC agents. I emphasised the Minister's and the Government's strong interest in arranging for ICRC activities to be resumed in Timor and for our aid to be channelled through the Red Cross and left with Winspeare copies of the Minister's statements of 23 and 29 December.
  13. Winspeare mentioned at conclusion of our discussion that he hoped he could persuade the Secretary-General simply to present his (Winspeare's) report to the Security Council. He thought it better that Waldheim not risk burning his fingers by attempting a substantive report of his own at this stage.
  14. The Australian press have been asking to accompany Winspeare who has of course declined. In response to press enquiries, I have said that (A) I have seen Winspeare at the request of the Secretary-General's Office, (B) he described briefly the plans for his itinerary to Portugal and Indonesia, the two States concerned, and to East Timor itself, (C) these will of course be for Winspeare himself to announce when finalised, and (D) we discussed the importance of ICRC activities in East Timor and I confmned to him the high priority given by the Australian Government to resuming immediately the programs administered by the Red Cross


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