78. Memorandum From Robert H. Johnson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


  • The Cambodian Situation

Attached is a draft of an Independence Day Message from the President to Sihanouk.1 It is presently being cleared within the Department and should not yet be checked out with the President. I personally believe that this is a very good message and preserves the essence of what we sought to achieve by our draft.2

In view of the recommendation of Ambassador Trimble that our policy should be one of “courteous aloofness” and that the Independence Day Message should not “suggest that the U.S. considers itself any way responsible for the present imbroglio” and in view of State’s concern for the reaction of the Thais and Vietnamese, it is possible that there will be some resistance within State to sending even this message.

Perhaps our effort to draft a message and my discussion with Alexis Johnson on Thursday3 did have some additional effect for you may have noted that Johnson, when he received Ambassador Nong Kimny on Friday, reiterated in the “strongest possible terms” that “nobody in the U.S. Government was encouraging Thailand or Viet Nam to attack or threaten Cambodia in any way whatsoever”.4

I agree that Alexis Johnson’s talk with the Ambassador and the message to Sihanouk, if it goes out approximately as written, will accomplish what needs to be accomplished at present. I can no longer find anyone in State who favors additional action at this time.

[1 paragraph (10 lines of source text) not declassified]

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cambodia, 11/1/61–11/7/61. Secret. Bundy wrote “done” on this memorandum. A copy was sent to Rostow.
  2. Not printed. A copy of the draft message is ibid.
  3. Robert Johnson added a handwritten note at the end of this first paragraph that reads: “It even uses some of our language.”
  4. No full record of the Robert JohnsonU. Alexis Johnson discussion on November 2 has been found, but see Document 79.
  5. An account of that November 3 discussion is in a memorandum of conversation, November 3. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.51H/11–361)