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87 Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs

Memorandum H25 LONDON, 13 October 1937



In continuation of H.24 [1], the Ambassador at Lisbon [2], who is
relin quishing his post, reports that at his farewell interview
with the Minister of the Colonies [3] on 30th September, the
latter questioned him about the purport of his recent
conversations at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the subject
of Japanese penetration in Timor. The Ambassador accordingly gave
the Minister a sketch of the situation, explaining that there was
great Japanese activity in that part of the world and that the
United Kingdom Government did not want to find that the Japanese
had succeeded in establishing themselves anywhere where they might
constitute a danger to all Colonial Powers interested in the Far
East. The United Kingdom Government had, in particular, been
preoccupied by rumours of a transference of the Silva inheritance
to some company controlled by Japanese; by the possibility of
Japanese being connected with Monsieur Wittouck's [4] activities;

and by the question of the Staughton Concession, since its
transfer to the important Australian Company interested in it
might afford some security against Japanese penetration in those
parts. Dr F. Vieira Machado seemed to know nothing of any transfer
of the properties belonging to the Silva heirs. With regard to
Wittouck, he said that this gentleman had been highly recommended
by the Belgian Minister, and the Ambassador could only reply that
he knew nothing against him, only one could not be too careful in
this matter. As to the Staughton Concession, the Minister said
that it had lapsed, as it had not been worked; but, though it
could not be revived, a new one could always be granted. To this
the Ambassador replied that there was an Australian Company able
and willing to take over the Staughton Concession, which only
desired to have it extended in order to make it worth while to
incur the expenditure necessary in prospecting. He hoped therefore
that this matter could be settled amicably with the Portuguese


1 Not printed.

2 Sir Charles Wingfield.

3 Dr F. J. V. Machado.

4 See Document 49, note 3

[AA : A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 22, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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