751G.00/7–1553: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy at Saigon1


110. Saigon’s 91, rptd Paris 31.2 For your information Bidault in course bipartite meeting with Secretary asked whether US (and British) could be of assistance Cambodian situation by telling King that general interest Cambodia and free world best served by independence within French Union perfected through procedure indicated by French July third declaration. Bidault referred to possibility King may believe his anti-communist stand will get him help from countries other than France under present circumstances.

Department pleased note you may be talking Penn Nouth and King shortly. Following points may in your discretion be made orally:

We are approaching period when heavy fighting will be resumed and when enemy in Tonkin and Laos particularly may be expected attempt resume offensive. Cause defended by French Union, Vietnamese and Laotian troops which will be engaged in meeting enemy also that of Cambodia. Is it not reasonable expect Cambodian contribution general solidarity and unity of purpose under grave existing circumstances?
US Govt believes and has so stated that French Govt declaration July third represents most important step forward and provides opportunity for placing relationships Associated States with France on basis consistent both with legitimate aspirations those states and with mutuality interest with France (see Far East communiqué and telegrams reporting remarks Bidault and Secretary this subject.)
It is hoped, on basis Cambodian Government truly recognizes as King has often stated that there is mutuality of interest, Cambodians will not set up insurmountable obstacles of purely procedural nature. For example: demand that French as condition precedent to Cambodia’s entrance into French Union grant Cambodia complete independence. Such step may well be beyond early capacity French Government whose control over French constitution is inferior to that which King has demonstrated he possesses over Cambodian constitution.
Present French contribution to defense and development Cambodia is not only vital; it is also irreplaceable, so far as Department aware, from elsewhere in free world.

Department recognizes difficulty making above points sympathetically, tactfully and effectively in present superheated Cambodian atmosphere but has confidence your skill and sense of timing. Let us have your comments and plans as well as extent you deem advisable coordinate with French locally. We will back you up with Cambodian Ambassador here.

  1. Drafted by Philip W. Bonsal, Director of PSA. Repeated for information to Paris as 199 and Saigon (to be passed to Phnom Penh by pouch).
  2. Dated July 15, p. 679.