60 Minute from Mayne-Wilson to Feakes

Canberra, 27 November 1974

Portuguese Timor

Mr. Joseph has shown me the attached last few pages of his draft on Portuguese Timor,1 which he had rewritten after discussions with Mr Forrester and myself.

I feel bound to point out that I do not agree with the approach outlined, as Mr Joseph knows. In essence, I believe we are already on a path that is

  1. driving FRETILIN into the arms of the extreme left, and perhaps the Chinese
  2. giving the Indonesians the very excuses they need to intervene in P. Timor to prevent a 'communist takeover'
  3. and thus leading to an unpleasant period in our relations with Indonesia, with calls for suspension of aid, etc.

I do not believe we should detach ourselves and do nothing-or wait to be asked to join some Indonesian/Portuguese arrangement that may never materialise.

I believe we need to take an initiative now to offer the Indons. a way out. We must get the idea across that they can live with an independent P. Timor, if we and they take measures to integrate it economically into our region and help make it viable. Its political co-operation would automatically follow.

P.S. I can elaborate further in discussion if you wish.

[NAA: A1838, 3038/10/1, xivA]