465 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 10 June 1976


Timor: Dili Meeting and Process of Integration

Ref 0.CH3660351

Dan raised on 10 June with General Adenan (Foreign Ministry) the matter of the Indonesian fact-finding mission to East Timor scheduled for 24 June (paragraphs 9-11 of reference telegram).

  1. Adenan said he was glad to have this advice. He was particularly pleased that we propose to encourage Winspeare to make his second visit to Timor. Adenan agreed that Winspeare's attendance was extremely important. He added 'if he does go, Australia can take some of the credit'. Indonesia, he said, had already urged Winspeare to go, and would continue to do so.


  1. Would there be some merit in the Minister making a direct personal appeal to Winspeare (or the Secretary General) to make his second visit to Timor?
  2. We have since spoken to the United States embassy which is inclined to recommend to Washington that since bilateral relations with Indonesia are of the greatest importance, the United States should accept the 24 June invitation whether or not the United Nations is represented.
  3. In addition to our discussion with Adenan we have also taken Tjan through the relevant points in your O.CH366035 and informed him of our position on the next visit to East Timor.
  4. We agree that the initial Indonesian response to our decision on the Dili meeting was as much emotional as logical. More recent conversations than those reported in O.JA70852 suggest that the Indonesians are taking a more philosophical approach in retrospect. We suspect that the President's acceptance of responsibility for all aspects of the Timor issue (O.JA7114 refers3) had led those directly involved in Indonesia's Timor policy to be more relaxed about the poor international response on 31 May and about Australia's non attendance.
  5. At present the objective of isolating Timor from other aspects of our relationship is that followed by the Indonesian Government. In addition to the crucial support of Ali Murtopo it is also backed by the Foreign Ministry.
  6. We understand that the next invitation to Ambassadors to visit East Timor will be sent soon. It will be from the Indonesian Government and addressed to all Ambassadors resident in Jakarta. The visit is now to be on 24 June and probably, as on 31 May, last no more than one day. The present intention is that the group will be divided up into smaller groups each of which would visit two centres in East Timor. The Indonesian group would be headed by Home Minister, Amir Machmud and another Minister, possibly Sumarlin (Administrative Reform).
  7. As to the existence of a genuine element of choice in the process of consultation we have received no specific comments as yet. It seems likely, however, that the people in the various centres will simply be asked whether they agree or not with the petition of integration. As you say the Indonesians do not intend (and never have intended) to have what to Australia would be a 'genuine' act of self-determination. The message of public statements by both PGET and Indonesian spokesmen during the present visit of the East Timor delegation has been that the act of self-determination is over (O.JA71094 and O.JA71205 refer).
  8. With reference to your paragraph 3 the Indonesians are not, to our knowledge, claiming that it is Australia's policy alone which is damaging their international standing. But they recognise that our position on Timor issues has a considerable effect on the attitude of some other countries which are important to them. (It is not correct to say that Australia's decision not to attend the Dili meeting 'probably' influenced the Japanese and Americans. It was the decisive factor for them.)

[NAA: A10005, TS20211/l, ANNEX 3]