Companion to East Timor - ASDT


The Associacao Social Democratica Timorense (ASDT) or Timorese Social Democratic Association was formed on 20 May 1974. Its president was Francisco Xavier do Amaral, an indigenous Timorese who had received a seminary education in Macau and in Timor itself. He was a civil servant with the port authority in Dili and had previously been a postal clerk. JIO described him as 'a devout Christian with moderate political views.' The Vice-President was Nicolau Lobato, who would later be revered as perhaps the greatest East Timorese freedom fighter. JIO described him as 'one of the organizational brains behind the party; idealistic but not extremist.' Other key figures included Alarico Fernandes (First Secretary-General), Justino Mota (Second Secretary-General), Mari Alkatiri (Secretary for Political Affairs) and Jose Ramos-Horta (Secretary for Foreign Affairs), who had previously also attended the formation of UDT. The ASDT stated that it was committed to a 'good neighbour policy' towards other countries in the region. Ramos-Horta visited Indonesia's foreign minister, Adam Malik, in Jakarta in June 1974. He attempted to enlist Indonesia's diplomatic support for an independent East Timor. In response, Adam Malik provided written assurances that Indonesia supported East Timor's right to self-determination. Ramos-Horta was so impressed by his meeting with Malik that he came away from it indicating that East Timor's leadership might even concede its foreign and defence powers to Indonesia. None of this would reduce the hostility of the Indonesian government.