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89 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 707 LONDON, 17 October 1941, 9.45 p.m.


Your telegram 621 of 24th September. [1]

1. His Majesty's Ambassador at Lisbon [2] to whom the information
in your telegram was forwarded reported that after having spun out
negotiations as long as possible the Portuguese Government could
no longer postpone concluding a Commercial Aviation Convention
with Japan which will establish a fortnightly air service on the
line Kobe-Palao-Dilli. Reports confirming this Convention have now

2. In view of the insignificance of Japanese interests in Timor,
the Portuguese authorities regarded the determination of the
Japanese to open this line as dictated by purely strategic

3. His Majesty's Ambassador also learned from a confidential
source that matters were brought to a head when the Japanese
Minister at Lisbon [3] addressed a note early in October to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcing that a Japanese Delegation
of 13 persons would arrive in Timor by air on 13th October for the
purpose of concluding the Convention direct with the Government.

The Portuguese Government decided however at least to insist on
signature at Lisbon.

4. The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [4]
also confirmed to His Majesty's Ambassador the report that the
Japanese Consul [5] and 7 other officials will shortly arrive at
Dilli. From a good source His Majesty's Ambassador has also
learned that several other Japanese officials including a General
have been resident for some months past at Dilli, presumably as
the advance party for the Consul.

5. This being so we regard it as urgently necessary that a British
Consular Office should be set up at Dilli with the least possible
delay. We are, however, still faced with the difficulty of finding
a suitable career officer who can reach Dilli. In these
circumstances it has occurred to us that a possible way out might
be if the Commonwealth Government were prepared to give Ross [6]
Consular rank temporarily in order to meet the position during the
next few months. The Commonwealth Government will recall that
Archer [7] in his report on Portuguese Timor suggested that the
best solution would be to give Consular title to Ross (see
paragraph 10 of his report of 3rd May). We agree generally with
the argument put forward by Archer for the establishment of a
Consulate there and would be prepared to give Ross Foreign Office
appointment if the Commonwealth Government see no objection.

6. According to our information this proposal would have
considerable advantages in addition to getting over the immediate
difficulty of bringing a man to Dilli. These advantages are:-

(a) There is not enough work to occupy the full time of a career
Consular Officer with the consequent risk of deterioration of the
Officer, as the place [lacks any amenities for alternative
occupations.] [8]

(b) Climatic and other conditions of the post make it undesirable
for an Officer to remain long in Dilli. Temporary appointment of
Ross would thus for the time being solve the difficulties of

(c) Such work as there is is largely concerned with aviation for
which Ross has obvious advantages over a Career Consular Officer.

(d) The Governor of Portuguese Timor [9] is understood to be
specially favourably disposed towards Commonwealth citizens and
Ross himself is persona grata.

(e) The difficulty of finding suitable accommodation for a
Consular Officer would be avoided if Ross were to be appointed
since he could remain in the house he now uses.

7. In view of these circumstances we very much hope that the
Commonwealth Government will be prepared to agree at least to the
temporary appointment of Ross. [10]

1 See Document 74, note 1.

2 Sir Ronald H. Campbell.

3 Shin-ichi Chiba.

4 Dr L. Teixeira de Sampaio.

5 Tokitaro Kuroki.

6 Civil Aviation Dept representative in Dili.

7 C.H. Archer of the U.K. Consular Service visited Portuguese
Timor in March-April 1941. A copy of his report of 3 May is on
file AA : A981, Timor (Portuguese) 9.

8 Corrected from the London copy on file AA : A2937, Timor-Dilli
Air Service.

9 M. de A. Ferreira de Carvalho.

10 On 23 October the Commonwealth Govt agreed that Ross should be
appointed as Consul and that until the necessary formalities were
completed he should be regarded as Australia's 'official
representative' (cablegram 694) on 28 October, however, the U.K.

Govt suggested that it would be better to seek to have Ross
provisionally recognised as Consul pending formal application for
an exequatur (cablegram 726) and this course of action was
accepted by the Commonwealth Govt on 30 October (cablegram 766).

All cablegrams are on file AA : A981, Australia 248.

[AA : A981, AUSTRALIA 248]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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