396.1 GE/5–1154

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation ( Heath )

confidential

Participants:

  • Cambodian Delegation: Tep Phan, Foreign Minister; Nong Kimny, Cambodian Ambassador to Washington; Sam Sary and Sonn San, members of the Cambodian Delegation.
  • Under Secretary of State, Walter Bedell Smith
  • Ambassador to Cambodia, Donald R. Heath

Subject:

  • The Cambodian Program for the Conference

The Under Secretary received the Cambodian Delegation and gave them our view of the conference to date, congratulated Sary on his [Page 768] political speech in the initial session against the candidacy of the “free Cambodian Government” proposed by the Vietminh Delegation, and he expressed the intention of the American Delegation to support Cambodian efforts to obtain an equitable peace settlement. He suggested that it would be well, in view of adverse communist propaganda, for the Cambodian Delegation to neglect no occasion during the conference to proclaim the full independence of Cambodia. Tep Phan agreed heartily with this suggestion.

Tep Phan then outlined Cambodia’s program for the conference. Cambodia intended to press for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Cambodia, that is, the withdrawal of the Vietminh aggressors and the French battalions which the Cambodian Government had called in to help fight against the invaders. There should be a United Nations commission to oversee the withdrawal and the disarmament of the Vietminh aggressors and an international guarantee against reinvasion. Cambodia warmly sympathized with Secretary Dulles’ proposal for a mutual defense pact for Southeast Asia.

Sonn San and Tep Phan then said that the entire Cambodian population was ready to take up arms against the aggressors but were in no position to obtain armament. Tep Phan had been ordered by the king to purchase 5,000 rifles in Paris so the Cambodian army could be expanded. Several months ago they had passed an order for 500 military rifles to the French but had been unable to get delivery. The only real source of armament was the United States and they inquired whether, in view of recent developments the United States could not now give direct arms aid to Cambodia instead of through the French as heretofore. The Under Secretary stated the Cambodian army had already received a considerable quantity of arms and equipment from the United States through the French but he agreed that the present situation necessitated some alteration of arrangements and he thought some changes in line with the Foreign Minister’s request should and could be made.