Don Foster MP*


Bath’s M.P., Don Foster, has secured an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 1st February, to call for an end to the Government’s spirit of secrecy, denial and non-co-operation surrounding the alleged murder of the British journalists, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters, in Balibo, East Timor in October 1975.

Main ImageCommenting, Don Foster, said,

“It’s increasingly clear that the British Government did nothing to prevent the brutal invasion of East Timor in 1975 – in fact, they gave a green light to Indonesia; standing back and watching as thousands were massacred – including the “Balibo Five.”

“Ever since, HM Government has met the victims’ families’ search for truth and justice with a spirit of denial, secrecy and cover-up.

“Time and time again, it appears that Ministers have misled them, and both Houses of Parliament, about how much they really knew.

“Now, attempts to cover-up the cover-up must stop.”

Don Foster has previously written to the Minister to request the release of further official papers which he suspects exists that could shed further light on to what happened.

Continuing, Don said

“The Minister must agree to the release of those papers and guarantee to provide full co-operation to the Australian inquest into Brian Peter’s death which as been secured by his sister, Maureen Tolfree.

“He must also establish high level discussions with the Indonesian, Australian, New Zealand and East Timorese governments to identify and put in place any further action needed to provide comprehensive information about the deaths of the Balibo Five and bring to justice any identified of wrong doing.”


Notes to Editors.

The Adjournment Debate will be held in Committee Room 10 of the House of Commons on Wednesday, 1st February at 11:00am

The “Balibo Five” comprise of two Britons, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters; a New Zealander, Gary Cunningham and two Australians, Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart.

Don Foster wrote to Jack Straw on 15th November 2005, to request the release of the following documents:

1) Copies of communications between HM Government and the Australian, New Zealand, United States and Portuguese Governments concerning the invasion of East Timor in 1975 and of the deaths of Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters and their colleagues in Balibo, on 16th October 1975.

2) Copies of briefings made available to Cabinet Office Staff in 1975 and 1998-1999 concerning the invasion of East Timor in 1975 and of the deaths of Malcolm Rennie, Brian Peters and their colleagues.

On one of the documents already released is a communication from the British Embassy, Jakarta, to the FCO, on 24th October 1975. On top of this is a handwritten memo stating “Spoke to Mr. Edwards in the Cabinet Office. His reports indicate that para 1 exaggerates anti-freti success; that they have not got Robomoro!” This suggests Cabinet Office staff were possibly better briefed than the British Embassy Staff.

3) Copies of documents relating to the UN’s alleged offer on “free choice” in 1976.

Another of the documents already released is an unnamed FCO official’s report on a conversation on 15th May 1976 at the Excelsior Hotel, London Airport between Kurt Waldheim (UN Secretary General) and the late Evan Luard MP (then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State)

4) Copies of all FCO documents relating to the April 1995 meeting at FCO between Maureen Tolfree, and Tony Baldry MP, former FCO Minister.

5) Copies of communications between HM Government and José Jamos Horta, East Timor Foreign Minister.

6) Copies of communications between HM Government and Australian Justice John Dowd.

This article published: 07/02/2024

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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