Memorandum to Waller

Canberra, 25 February 1963


Working Group on Portuguese Timor

Three things are clear:

  1. The Portuguese will do nothing for the Timorese.
  2. The United States will not support Portuguese colonialism.
  3. The Indonesians will move against the territory; if they achieve their end by force (and there is nothing to prevent them), it will be a most serious encouragement to irresponsible and expansionist elements in Indonesia and it will do the greatest harm to Australia's long-term interests.
  1. The United States and the United Kingdom are looking to Australia to take some initiative to avoid the Western world finding itself in a situation where a nationalistic revolutionary power, backed by Russian arms, can achieve its ends by force of arms. This power is at Australia's doorstep.
  2. I want a Working Group on Portuguese Timor to explore all possible measures: and to analyse developments which, if they can be initiated or encouraged, would produce the least embarrassment to Australia's foreign policy and national interests.
  3. The deliberations of the Working Group are to be kept highly confidential; and it should report within three weeks. 1

A.H.TANGE Secretary

[NAA: A1838, 3038/1011, ii]