740.00119 PW/9–1545: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

9498. We were told today by Foreign Office official directly concerned Portuguese affairs that Portuguese Foreign Office also protested to British Embassy Lisbon against Australian decision to accept surrender Japanese in Portuguese Timor. British Foreign Office official said that in British view two issues are involved, namely, permanent Portuguese sovereignty over Timor which British do not question [Page 460] and acceptance of Japanese surrender which Portuguese as neutrals could not properly undertake. He said British had decided to let Australians and Portuguese settle matter between themselves and that conferences were opened yesterday in London between Evatt44 and Portuguese Ambassador. Australians will insist on accepting surrender either in Timor or on a warship off shore. British feel that Portuguese will ultimately yield on this point and expect conferences will end next week. They feel Portuguese protest was largely for the record and should be attributed to Salazar’s excessively legalistic outlook.

Sent to Department; repeated to Lisbon as 203; repeated to Canberra as 1.

  1. Herbert V. Evatt, Australian Minister for External Affairs.