Skip to main content

Historical documents

233 Commonwealth Government to Lord Stanley, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 71 24 July 1938,


Your 69 of 22nd July. [1]

Commonwealth Government had no knowledge whatever that Wittouck
was associated with group on whose behalf Abbot, Tout and Creer
were acting. In the conversations with the Commonwealth Government
[2] Creer represented he was acting for purely Australian and
British interests, but would not disclose principals, and no
representations were actually made to Commonwealth Government by
Creer to support any application by his group. In any case support
would not have been given in absence of information about his
group. The knowledge you furnish that Wittouck is behind this
group confirms our attitude. Creer was definitely informed by
Minister External Affairs [3] that the Commonwealth Government
would not only not be associated with any group which represented
any foreign interest, and especially Japanese, but would
definitely oppose any attempt to obtain concessions on behalf such

In meantime, Commonwealth Government was approached by Oil Search
Ltd which fully satisfied Commonwealth Government as to their
bonafides, capital and purely Australian interests.

We desire that action as indicated in telegram 69 be taken
immediately, as Oil Search has already submitted application
direct to Lisbon by cablegram, confirmed by air mail and is
sending representative to Lisbon by air.

In submitting these representations to Lisbon, we feel in light of
knowledge about Wittouck, that the Portuguese Government should be
informed we dissociate ourselves entirely from his activities, and
any representations he might make to Portuguese Government.

1 Document 232.

2 W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, met
J. N. Creer in Sydney on 15 February 1938.

3 W. M. Hughes. In a letter to Creer on 5 May 1938 Hughes
suggested a personal meeting the following weekend. No record of
such a meeting has been found, and Hodgson's letter to Creer of
June 1938 seems to suggest that it did not take place. (See AA :

A981, Timor (Portuguese) 22, iii.)

[AA : A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 22, iii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top