396.1 GE/6–2454: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Secto 516. Repeated information Paris 492, Saigon 205, Phnom Penh unnumbered. Re Sectos 5101 and 513,2 June 23. Suggest Heath [Page 1235] might be authorized orally to state to Cambodian Foreign Minister that the US is at present disposed to increase the deliveries of equipment for Cambodian regular forces which have been provided under terms of the Pentalateral Convention of 1950. It is also at present disposed to provide some military equipment for local defense units (auto defense). The kind and amount of military equipment to be provided would be discussed in the first instance by Cambodian defense authorities with the Chief of Military Assistance Advisory Group established under the authority of the Pentalateral Convention. Whether US military equipment would be furnished directly to Cambodian forces or as at present through the French High Command in accordance with terms of the convention would be decided later. In this connection it has been the view of the MAAG that the development of the Cambodian defense forces to date has not yet provided a logistic branch sufficient to meet the requirements of American legislation and regulations re reception, transportation, maintenance and inspection of military equipment furnished.

It is noted that France has heretofore also provided both equipment and budgetary support for the Royal Khmer Army and is presumably prepared to continue such assistance. As regards military advisory, technical and training personnel it is noted France is also contributing such personnel and it is our understanding is prepared to continue to do so.

It is noted, however, that the Cambodian delegation, in the restricted session of the Geneva Conference on June 19 stated, “the Cambodian delegation would be ready, as proposed by the Chinese delegation, to engage in special negotiations on the question of the introduction of certain personnel into our territory”; and on June 4 stated, “it might also be agreed, in connection with the control of the withdrawal of Viet Minh forces, that the relevant control authority would see to it that what is imported into Cambodia in the way of equipment, cadres, etc., would be elements strictly necessary for the Cambodian National Army for its own defense.”

We note these statements with some concern as possibly indicating that the size, character and equipment and the members [numbers] of foreign technical and training personnel for the Cambodian Armed Forces would be negotiated with member states of the Geneva Conference and determined by such negotiations.

In conclusion the Foreign Minister might be informed, in compliance with Tosec 465, June 23,3 that in the past we have been most favorably impressed with consistency and firmness of position maintained at conference, that withdrawal Viet Minh troops in Cambodia [Page 1236] is only problem regarding them which concerns the Geneva Conference and we feel we must warn the Cambodian delegation against making any commitments to Communist bloc which might compromise present defense or hinder participation in future defense arrangements.

  1. Ante, p. 1227
  2. Ante, p. 1231
  3. Ante, p. 1226.