86 Cablegram to Canberra

Lisbon, 14 February 1975

Portuguese Timor

In the light of Jakarta's advice (O.JA7640),1 I think there is a very real danger of Santos exaggerating the nature and extent of the aid we are contemplating for Timor when he speaks to the Indonesians. In order to make his case more persuasive Santos is almost bound to give the impression that Australia has already offered to provide aid and to blur the very modest nature of our offer.

  1. You might therefore consider it desirable to let the Indonesians know what we have said to Santos on the question of aid with appropriate stress on the technical assistance aspect and a firm denial that it would involve any direct budgetary support. This should at least remove any suspicion in Jakarta that (as a result of what Santos might say) we are seeking to bolster the Portuguese position.
  2. In speaking to Santos I adhered strictly to the terms of para 3. of your telegram 5252 but even this could be misrepresented by Santos as amounting to an offer of millions of dollars.


[NAA: Al838, 49/2/1/1, v]