Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Day)
- Geneva Conference
- His Excellency Nong Kimny, Ambassador of Cambodia
- Mr. Everett Drumright, FE
- Mr. Henry B. Day, PSA
Nong Kimny had just returned by air from Geneva via Paris. He called to resume contact with the Department. He expressed appreciation of the support which the U.S. Delegation had given the Cambodian Delegation at Geneva.
Mr. Drumright exchanged current items of information with the Ambassador mentioning in particular the talks which Chou and Pham Van Dong had been having with the Lao and Cambodian delegates. These had taken place after Nong Kimny left Geneva. Mr. Drumright referred to the possibility that the Communists might agree to withdrawal of Viet Minh troops from Cambodia provided Cambodia agreed not to permit foreign bases on its soil or any foreign military personnel and to receive only very limited supplies of arms. Mr. Drumright informed the Ambassador that the Department had just received a message concerning a note from the Cambodian Foreign Minister to Mr. Heath at Geneva which (a) pointed out that it would be unreasonable for Cambodia to refuse to accept conditions which the Communists asked if Cambodia could not expect to receive assistance in personnel and armament and therefore the conditions were in fact to be fulfilled and (b) asked to what extent Cambodia might hope for help from the U.S. in maintaining its security. The Ambassador said this note was fully consistent with the position Cambodia had taken from the beginning.
The Ambassador said that when he left Geneva at the end of the Korean phase he thought the Indochina phase would also come to a [Page 1237] quick close. It was only then that the Communists adopted a more conciliatory tone and made overtures to Laos and Cambodia.
The Ambassador said he wished to make clear that his Government was determined to resist Communist encroachment but that Cambodia’s resources were insufficient to enable it to withstand Communist pressures alone. His Government attaches great importance to action on regional defense and favors conclusion on agreement or pact as soon as possible. The second matter he wished to say was that his Government considers it important to learn the results of the Churchill–Eden visit.1 He had the impression that the UK Government desires to postpone action on regional defense and fears that the British may wish to postpone action indefinitely. The Cambodian Government would not mind postponement for two or three weeks if that is the duration of the life of the Geneva Conference but is strongly opposed to letting the matter die. The Ambassador recognized that the British might want some sort of Locarno-type pact. Whatever resulted it would be essential to have some sort of collective guarantee. With regard to action in the UN, the Ambassador said that the way had already been paved and that he was fully prepared to take further action in the UN.
The Ambassador referred to Menon‘s visit to Geneva. Menon‘s ideas seemed vague and cloudy. Until just before Menon had left Geneva he had called on all of the delegations at the conference except those of the countries principally concerned, namely, Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodia. The Cambodian Delegation issued a communiqué pointing this out after which Menon announced that he would call on the delegations of the Associated States before leaving Geneva. Menon did call on Tep Phann, the Cambodian Foreign Minister, but nothing came of it. The possibility of recognition did not come up.
Nong Kimny expressed the belief that military talks between the Cambodian and Viet Minh Commands should take place in Cambodia, that the Cambodians would not discuss anything with the so-called free Khmers. He understood that there were two representatives of this movement behind the scenes at Geneva. The Ambassador was surprised that Defense Minister Tioulong had planned to go to Geneva for military talks.
With regard to the plans of the King of Cambodia, the Ambassador thinks that the present time is not good for such a long trip as the King proposes. He himself was to have accompanied the King on the trip but persuaded his Government that it was more important to return to duty in Washington. The King has a definite commitment to visit Thailand but may give up for the present his plan to visit other countries.