95 Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 24 February 1975


Portuguese Timor

I have just returned from a call on Harry Tjan of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. As soon as I arrived Tjan said that he knew what I wanted to talk about. He said that he would have called me had I not taken the initiative. He said that Yoga Sugama, the Head of BAKIN, had only just spoken to him. Sugama, as you know, is the regular Chairman of the Special Committee on Portuguese Timor. Because of the possible importance of the following exchange with Tjan I am reporting it as accurately as possible in dialogue form.

Tjan Yoga is furious about the Reuters report from Canberra in the Singapore Sunday Times on 23 February.1

Dan Why is he furious?

Tjan Because of the leak of the top secret intelligence report of an impending amphibious and airborne assault on Dili. (Tjan read those words from a copy of the Sunday Times report in his hand.)

Dan Is Yoga suggesting that this was an Australian report that was leaked in Australia?

Tjan Oh no. It is an Indonesian report and Yoga believes that someone in an Indonesian Government Department was responsible for the leak. He thought it might have even come from the Centre. I assured him that we were not responsible.

  1. As you know, Tjan is a highly intelligent and articulate man. He is completely loyal to the Indonesian Government. I believe that this slip by him, the acknowledgement of the existence of this top secret Indonesian plan, was made quite unintentionally.
  2. I then told him of the various reports in the Australian press and of Mr Peacock's statement.2 I asked him quite bluntly whether there was any intention by Indonesia to take Portuguese Timor by force within the next few weeks or even within the next few months. Tjan said that he could assure me personally that there was no such intention. He said that apart from anything else 'the timing was all wrong'. He said that as he had told us before, Indonesia wanted to see what was going to happen in Portugal before deciding what Indonesia had to do in relation to Portuguese Timor.
  3. Tjan went on to say that he wanted to make one thing very clear to me. He said that he thought he had already got this message across, but he wanted to be absolutely sure that I did understand it. He said that a decision had been taken by the Indonesian Government that sooner or later Portuguese Timor must form part of Indonesia. This was a unanimous decision by all the leading Indonesian personalities involved, including the President. All that remained to be decided was when, and how, this should be brought about. As he had said, it would not happen in the very near future. But it would happen. The Indonesian Government would first try every conceivable means before turning to a military solution. He described the latter as the 'ultimate act'.


[NAA: Al0463, 801/13/11/1, x)