56 Letter from Furlonger to Jockel

Jakarta, 1 November 1974


You will have received copies of the series of conversations with Tjan, Liam Bian Kie and Yoga, regarding the possible resort by Indonesia to military action of some sort to advance its policies in Portuguese Timor.1

As a postscript to these conversations, it is worth adding that I have since spoken to Djajadiningrat and again to Tjan and both have confirmed that consideration of military activity still remains very much in the contingency field. Tjan seems to have gone back on some of his earlier statements and is not now saying that in effect the implementation of Indonesian policy has been handed over to the military; what he is now saying is that there is a danger that the matter might be taken out of the hands of 'the moderates' around Ali Murtopo and passed over to people like Benny Murdani.

There continue to be rumours about the question of possible cross-border military action. The British have picked up the date of 25 March next year as an alleged target date for activity of this sort. At this stage I take none of these references to military activity very seriously. I think that Tjan has been rather foolish in talking about military activity to pressmen like Hastings and Richardson. His motives in doing so are not entirely clear but I suspect he was rather worried about the possibility of [a] military option being resorted to and of OPSUS losing the leading position that it has had on this question. If his objective was to stir us into some action to reinforce his own line, I think he has been successful. The Indonesians can be in no doubt that we regard talk of military action as misplaced in current and currently foreseeable circumstances.

I assume in any event that you will be using the sources available to you to keep a close watch on military activity and deployment, just in case our judgment of likely Indonesian behaviour on this whole question should be excessively optimistic.

One way in which we may help to reinforce the position of the moderates would be if we were able to provide them with a generally reassuring picture of the prospects of the continuance of moderate control in Lisbon and of the line that Santos advocated to the Indonesians and ourselves. I think it would be worth making a special effort to get Cooper to put together whatever he can, drawing as necessary on the knowledge of some of his better informed colleagues since he himself has not been in Lisbon for long. It would also, I think, be helpful if we had a clearer view of how the Americans and the British feel about internal political prospects in Lisbon. Presumably, both are well tuned in on the score.2

[matter omitted]

[NAA: Al838, 3038/10/1, xiii]