Cablegram to Canberra

Jakarta, 30 September 1975


Portuguese Timor

Tjan told us today, 30 September, that on 26 and 29 September the President had agreed to increased Indonesian assistance to the anti-Fretilin forces in Portuguese Timor.

  1. He said that up to 3800 Indonesian soldiers from Java would be put into Portuguese Timor gradually. Atsabe would be their base. The King of Atsabe would be the figure-head for the anti-Fretilin side. Jao Carascalao would probably be its military commander.
  2. Tjan indicated that this plan of operation would probably start later this week.
  3. Tjan said that the President still refused to approve outright Indonesian intervention. The President described Indonesian actions mentioned in paragraph 2 above as ‘helping’ the anti-Fretilin forces.
  4. Indonesia would also provide the King of Atsabe with a radio transmitter to enable the anti-Fretilin forces to communicate with the outside world independently rather than through Indonesia.


  1. The plan of operations mentioned by Tjan represents a significant escalation of Indonesian involvement in Portuguese Timor and of the approach they have adopted in the last three weeks (JA16771 refers).
  2. Tjan acknowledged that the scale of support for the anti-Fretilin forces now planned could not go undiscovered.
  3. The plan also represents a return to the initial idea (which Tjan had referred to before 10 August) of using the King of Atsabe as the Indonesian stalking-horse rather than the UDT remnants in Batugade as has been the case in recent weeks. These remnants will still play an important part in the plan, however.
  4. It seems that the aim of the plan is to capture Fretilin-held territory. Tjan did not say how long Indonesia expected this to take. But recently he has said that a solution to the Timor problem would be found by March 1976.

[NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1, xiv]

  • 1 Document 217.