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Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor - 1940s to the early 1970s

Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor - 1940s to the early 1970s

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Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor – 1940s to the early 1970s.
This brief work of about 165,000 words (Third Edition, 320 pages) is offered as a modest contribution towards an understanding of the history of that period - ie principally covering Timorese independence movements and Indonesian involvement in Portuguese Timor from the pre-World War II period to the early-mid 1970s.
The independence movements in those times were not successful. Indeed, some could be considered to be but nominal attempts. Indonesian efforts at infiltration and subversion were also desultory and generally ineffective before 1975. Aspects covered include: the pre-War deportados; the wartime “native uprisings” and the somewhat obscure “filhos de timor” proposal; the 1959 “Viqueque” uprising; Indonesian attempts to influence events in Portuguese Timor – including through Silvester Martins Nai Buti, in the early 1960s; fears of communist infiltration; the Uni Republic of Timor - Dilly(URT-D) movement led by “Mao Klao”; the "movimentos" of the early 1970s; and the prelude to the Indonesian occupation. Readers may wish to review the contents section to see the work's full scope.
To illustrate events, a number of photographs and maps have been included. However to keep the electronic file to a manageable size, the annexes and index have not been included in the Scribd “upload”. Complete hardcopies of this work will shortly be available in a number of major libraries.
Regards, Ernie Chamberlain
Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor – 1940s to the early 1970s.
This brief work of about 165,000 words (Third Edition, 320 pages) is offered as a modest contribution towards an understanding of the history of that period - ie principally covering Timorese independence movements and Indonesian involvement in Portuguese Timor from the pre-World War II period to the early-mid 1970s.
The independence movements in those times were not successful. Indeed, some could be considered to be but nominal attempts. Indonesian efforts at infiltration and subversion were also desultory and generally ineffective before 1975. Aspects covered include: the pre-War deportados; the wartime “native uprisings” and the somewhat obscure “filhos de timor” proposal; the 1959 “Viqueque” uprising; Indonesian attempts to influence events in Portuguese Timor – including through Silvester Martins Nai Buti, in the early 1960s; fears of communist infiltration; the Uni Republic of Timor - Dilly(URT-D) movement led by “Mao Klao”; the "movimentos" of the early 1970s; and the prelude to the Indonesian occupation. Readers may wish to review the contents section to see the work's full scope.
To illustrate events, a number of photographs and maps have been included. However to keep the electronic file to a manageable size, the annexes and index have not been included in the Scribd “upload”. Complete hardcopies of this work will shortly be available in a number of major libraries.
Regards, Ernie Chamberlain

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Published by: Ernest Patrick Chamberlain on Oct 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/03/2011

In mid-1951, an Australian weekly magazine published an article alleging
that a “Secret War” was being waged in Portuguese Timor against Indonesian-
supported guerrillas:

“A strict news censorship has kept quiet the guerilla battles that have flared
up continuously there since the end of the war and only Portugal’s top

111

Australian Consulate – Dili, Memo 74, 10 May 1950 (NAA: A1838, 3006/4/3 Part 1).

112

Australian Consulate – Dili, Memo 3/50, 14 June 1950 (NAA: A1838, 378/3/1).

113

Australian Consulate – Dili, Memo 34/52, 23 July 1952 citing Government figures for the 1950
“general census” presented to the visiting Portuguese “Minister for Overseas” in May 1952 (NAA:
A1838, 3038/1/1 Part 1). Of the total population of 442,378, the “civilized” population (1.7 percent)
comprised: “568 Whites; 1,541 Timorese; 2,022 Mixed; 3,128 Asiatics; 110 Arabs, 48 Indians; and 54
Negroes” – while the “non-civilized population” (98.3 percent) numbered 434,907. A later Consulate
report indicated the “Indonesian population of Portuguese Timor” as “possibly about 100 of the Islamic
faith referred to as Arabs … mostly engaged in the piecegoods trade. … There are a few real Malay
types originally from Kupang but there would not be more than 30 of these …” – Australian Consulate
– Dili, Memo 68/54, 23 February 1954 (NAA: A1838, 3006/4/3 Part 1).

114

Department of External Affairs - Canberra, Interview (Extract) – Indonesian Infiltration, 27 April
1951 (NAA: A1838, 3006/4/3 Part 1).

24

officials know the full facts. … The sporadic flareups have devastated the
land. … Two-thirds of the reinforcements sent last summer from
Mozambique to Macao were diverted to Dilli to strengthen the battle-tried
garrison on the island. Another 4000 have just been despatched. There are
no signs that the fighting will fizzle out or decrease in ferocity. The guerillas
are well supplied with instructors and arms. Reinforcements are regularly
sluiced [sic] across the Indonesian side of the border.”115

No other reporting – including from the Australian Consulate in Dili,
indicates any such conflict in Portuguese Timor in the immediate post-War years. As
noted in the preceding paragraphs, there had been “incursion fears on the south coast”
in early 1950 - and forces were mobilised by the Dili authorities in response.
However, no trace was ever found of the alleged foreign military incursion. It is
possible that the aberrant and inaccurate “Secret War” article may have been
catalysed by the claims of 1950 – and extensively “embroidered” by its author.

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