851g.01/8–1948

The Consul General at Saigon (Abbott) to the Secretary of State

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No. 144

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my Despatch 134 of August 6, 1948, and to report that H. E. Tion Long, (until recently Cambodian delegate to the High Commissioner and now named Cambodian representative on the High Council of the French Union) before leaving for Paris expressed to the press his views on the future of French-Cambodian relations.

Tion Long pointed out that the modus vivendi of January 6 [7?], 1946, is only a working agreement without any status in international law and must be replaced by a permanent definitive agreement. This agreement, according to the delegate, should provide for complete internal sovereignty with only one government, one administration, and one justice. However, special privileges might be reserved for French Nationals, and French technicians would be detached for service with the Cambodian Government. The army, he continued, would have as its task the defense of the national territory and would form [Page 38]together with the armies of the other French Union, “the great army of the French Union”.

Regarding external affairs, Tion Long continued, “In view of its position as a member of the French Union, Cambodia should naturally harmonize its policy with that of the Union and be assisted by France in its ordinary foreign relations, but it should not give up all its external sovereignty and thus deprive itself of its legitimate right to discuss, reject, or ratify future agreements which might affect its vital interests and perhaps, as has already happened several times, limit its internal sovereignty”. As an example he referred to the agreements with Siam regarding the return of Cambodian territory.

The above statement is further evidence that France will not be able to delay much longer in taking up the settlement of French-Cambodian relations.

Respectfully yours,

George M. Abbott