57 Cablegram to Canberra

Lisbon, 11 November 1974

O.LB526 CONFIDENTIAL ROUTINE

Timor

A Mr Jose Celestino DaSilva Martins came to see me today. He said he was a Portuguese citizen and the nephew of a Timorese chieftain. He said the highland chiefs rejected any of the proposed three solutions for Timor and he hoped to enlist the Australian Government's support for a fourth solution-namely that Timor should become a 'protectorate' of Australia.

  1. I told Martins that I would convey his views to you but that he should understand that his proposal was contrary to the Australian Government's support for the principle of decolonisation. We were seeking to divest ourselves of our colonial responsibilities not to add to them.
  2. Martins pressed me to say what our attitude would be if the Timorese came out in favour of the 'fourth solution'. I said we would respect the wishes of the Timorese people but I was not prepared to prejudge the issue by speculating about the outcome at this stage. His proposal had major and far reaching implications and he should not assume that it will find any favour with Australian Government.
  3. Martins indicated that he had in mind to go to Canberra next month to put his views directly. I told him that was a matter for him to decide.

Comment

  1. Despite the naivete of some of his views, we have probably not heard the last of Martins and his supporters. What he is seeking is official Australian Government support before launching his 'fourth solution' publicly. He could therefore prove to be a major political embarrassment.1
  2. Full record by bag.

[NAA: Al0005, 202/1/3, iv]