[Marxism] Request for sources

Clinton Fernandes clintonf at optusnet.com.au
Thu May 12 06:01:54 MDT 2005

Dear Editors, 

John Woods asserts http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2005/05/09-1559-3569.html that his "recollections from reading the history of the War in Timor was that many Timorese were opposed to the Australian soldiers and often "dobbed" to the Japanese where the Australians were located". He further asserts, "The more that I read official histories of the war in Timor the more I believe that it was a series of military blunders some of which were plain incompetent."

Would Mr Woods provide the historical sources on which he bases his recollections?

Crikey readers should be aware that Australia, not Japan, violated Portuguese neutrality by invading East Timor in 1941. Neither Japan nor Germany had any intention of violating Portuguese neutrality. 

Note that Manuel d'Abreu Ferreira de Carvalho, who was Governor of Portuguese Timor, cabled Australian PM John Curtin on 18 December 1941, "on the direct instructions of the Prime Minister of Portugal, Dr António de Oliveira Salazar, who had told the Governor to: Protest vigorously against the aggression, absolutely contrary to the principles of law, being carried out against this part of Portuguese territory, by Dutch and Australian forces, who claim to be acting in accordance with instructions received from the Government of the Netherlands Indies in agreement with the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia". Source: Ferreira de Carvalho to Evatt, 18 December 1941, W.J. Hudson and H.J. Stokes (eds.), Documents on Australian Foreign Policy, 1937-1949, Canberra, Department of Foreign Affairs, 1982, vol. v, p. 321. 

See also Henry Frei, 'Japan's Reluctant Decision to Occupy Portuguese Timor, 1 January 1942-20 February 1942', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 27, no. 107, October 1996, pp. 281-302, which shows that the Japanese deliberated for approximately six weeks after the Australian invasion, ultimately realising that they would have to send troops to Portuguese Timor. This decision was made only at the end of January 1942 (the Australian force had entered on 16 December 1942). Having respected Portuguese neutrality in Macao, they were keen to respect it in Portuguese Timor, but were drawn there by the Australian invasion. 

I look forward to Mr Woods's evidence.


Dr Clinton Fernandes,

More information about the Marxism mailing list