Subject: ABC: Whitlam denies supporting military action against E Timor


Saturday January 1, 12:05 AM

Whitlam denies supporting military action against E Timor

The former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam says he never gave any implied support for Indonesian military action against East Timor.

Thirty-year-old secret papers released by the National Archives today show that the Australian Cabinet had no discussions on East Timor before Mr Whitlam decided it should be incorporated into Indonesia.

The foreign affairs brief given to Gough Whitlam before the Jogjakarta talks put three legitimate outcomes for East Timor - continuing association with Portugal, independence or incorporation by Indonesia.

But Mr Whitlam told Mr Suharto in September, 1974, first he believed East Timor should become part of Indonesia and second this should happen in accordance with the wishes of the Timorese people.

"I'm very happy for any of the documents to be released," he said.

"One of the things I point out is that the interpreter that was with me on those occasions denies completely that the green light was given to Indonesia to invade East Timor."

Mr Whitlam says the position he put to Mr Suharto in 1974 was the same as the Cabinet decision of the Menzies government, in 1963, that peaceful Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor was the only practical outcome.

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