Submission to Barwick

Canberra, 16 January 1962


Portuguese Timor-Australian Attitude in Event of Indonesian Aggression

From the attached record of conversation you will see that the Portuguese Charged'Affaires, under instructions, has requested a definition of the Australian attitude in the event of Indonesian aggression against Portuguese Timor. He has asked to call on you or me this week to receive a reply.

  1. It is suggested that the reply, which should be oral and confidential, might be on the following lines:-
    1. the Australian Government would naturally take a serous view of any Indonesian aggression against Portuguese Timor;
    2. the particular steps which it would take in that hypothetical event would, in accordance with normal practice, be decided by it in the light of all the relevant circumstances at the time;
    3. subject to that general proviso it could be expected that:-
      1. political action by the Government would include support of proposals in the United Nations for a cease-fire and for a withdrawal of Indonesian forces, but that
      2. the Government would be unlikely to feel able to give Portugal military or logistic support except in pursuance of a United Nations resolution or in association with both the United States and the United Kingdom1
    4. the Australian Government would like to know what objectives Portugal has for the eventual political status of the territory, and what is the present state of the Portuguese Government's advance towards this objective.2
  2. I suggest that it would be sufficient if I conveyed the reply to him.3

A.H.TANGE Secretary

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