The documents collected in East-Timor were temporarily transferred to Portugal, with the agreement of the President of the Democratic Republic of East-Timor and with the support of the Embassy of Portugal in Dili. On one hand, this transfer was justified by the bad preservation state of the majority of the documents. On other hand, a deposit with safe conditions did not exist in East-Timor.
As a matter of fact, the degradation of many of the documents required conservation and restoration procedures that were not possible in East-Timor and that should be performed with the technical and the human resources available at the Mário Soares Foundation.
In East-Timor still there is neither a suitably equipped nor safely enough deposit to preserve the documents, nor qualified staff to handle them. Their transfer to Lisbon allowed their systematic and coherent processing. At the same time, East-Timorese staff received specific training (see Training).
Special reference should be made to the fact that all the material transferred to Lisbon required time-consuming interventions to ensure their hygiene and conservation that could only be correctly performed here.
The documents had serious order problems, requiring complex time-consuming operations of identification and classification. These could only be carried out with the help of the East-Timorese staff who worked for the Resistance, thus knowing how to “re-constitute” the rationale behind the drafting and issue of many documents – and, in particular, identify acronyms, names and aliases.
To all of these problems one must add the language issue: although most key documents are written in Portuguese, many were drafted in Indonesian Bahasa, Tetum, Fataluco, etc. This obviously creates particular difficulties especially as regards their comprehension and transcription (or, at least, their summary).