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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2182

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Have any developments occurred since his earlier talks with the representative of the Portuguese Government which would divert Australia from its traditional attitude of supporting self-determination as personified in the minds of the Timorese people?

Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) -The very short answer is no. I think I remember answering a question something along these lines previously in the House. While I was in New York I had 2 very long talks with the man who was then the Greek Foreign Minister. I had these talks both early in the piece and later after he had had a chance to talk to Dr Kissinger. I am sorry, the honourable senator mentioned -

Senator Mulvihill - Timor, not Cyprus.

Senator WILLESEE -I talked to Dr Soares in New York and later with Dr Santos here. I also spoke with Mr Adam Malik who of course is interested in this matter. There is nothing in the attitude of any of those people which is alarming at all. In fact, their attitude pleases us completely. The situation is that for 400 years the Portuguese have been the colonial power in Timor. Of course, Timor is still the prime responsibility of the Portuguese because they are there. Obviously 3 things could happen. Firstly, because of the halving of the island with Indonesia, Timor could seek to be incorporated into Indonesia. Secondly, it could go for independence. Thirdly, it could very well continue on with the Portuguese. What is certain is that whatever it does, changes will occur. If it stays with the Portuguese the changes will be for the better because of the general Portuguese situation. The Portuguese have had a look at their colonial powers and this thing has come to a head. I do not think there is any other way to handle the situation than to adhere quite tightly to what the United Nations has said over all these years. We have been saying as a government since we have been in power that we believe in the self-determination of people. We believe that they should make that decision and that it should be closely aligned with the several decisions made by the United Nations over the years.

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