416 Cablegram to Canberra

Lisbon, 4 February 1976


Portuguese Timor

We have noted from O.JA44531 that Guicciardi is hoping the Timor issue will be defused by the passage of time and from O.CH3163282 that he has been irritated with Portugal's latest protest to the Security Council concerning renewed Indonesian aggression. In considering the Timor question after Guicciardi's departure from the area, it is our assessment that Portugal is likely to try and keep the issue alive at the United Nations for a while yet. We believe that Portugal's two principal objectives are to recover their prisoners and to seek to embarrass Indonesia as much as possible by emphasising the illegality of its presence in Timor and by maintaining the international pressure on Indonesia to withdraw. The Portuguese however do not harbour any illusions about the likelihood of an Indonesian withdrawal.

  1. Timor could also have important effects on Foreign Minister Antunes policy towards the Third World. The recent deterioration in Portugal's relations with Luanda and Lourengo Marques3 has left his Third World policy in tatters, especially in Africa, and a public stand at the United Nations in favour of self-determination in Timor is a way of salvaging what is left of it.

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