82 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government
Cablegram 689 LONDON, 13 October 1941, 11.45 p.m.
Your 588 of 8th September. 
His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom agree that Japanese
occupation of Portuguese Timor would constitute serious threat and
that consultation with the Netherlands authorities would be
desirable. It is felt, however, that this subject should be
discussed with the Portuguese also.
2. Before approaching either the Dutch or Portuguese we should be
glad to learn whether, if the Portuguese agree in certain
circumstances to accept reinforcements from outside Portuguese
Timor, the Commonwealth Government would be willing to undertake
this commitment in addition to their commitments in respect of
Ambon and Koepang.
3. We suggest that approach to the Portuguese should be on the
lines of an enquiry whether they would be prepared to accept
outside help if it is found necessary by the military authorities
on the spot and that the approach to both the Dutch and Portuguese
should seek their agreement to Australian, Dutch and Portuguese
military authorities discussing locally
(1) the preventive action necessary
(2) the action which should be taken if a threat should actually
Since, however, the local military authorities in Portuguese Timor
may not be qualified for discussing strategic matters, we think
that, as far as the Portuguese are concerned, it would be
necessary to clear the ground [as far as possible]  at this end
first. If the Portuguese agree generally, the place and method of
discussions could be settled later.
4. Should be glad of the earliest possible indication whether the
Commonwealth Government concur as opportunity for raising the
matter with the Portuguese may occur in the very near future and
it would also be convenient to raise it with the Dutch at the same
time as the proposal regarding Ambon and Koepang (my immediately
following telegram ).
[AA: A1608, J41/1/9, i]