175. Memorandum From James C. Thomson, Jr., to the Presidentʼs Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
- Cambodia Conference
Although I understand that State as a whole remains very leery of resurrecting any Cambodia conference proposal, Allen Whiting2 suggests that we over here might want to consider such a move.
The circumstances have altered considerably since Sihanoukʼs turn-down of the previous conference proposal. Cambodia is more gravely threatened than ever before—by a pincer movement with MACV on Cambodiaʼs eastern frontier and the Thai/GVN-supported Khmer Serei on the western frontier. Sihanouk is properly scared. It would be far less likely for him to shoot down the proposal under the present circumstances.
Our interests here are two-fold and clear: first and more narrowly, to get the Thai and GVN to call off their dogs—an effort in which we have been so far markedly unsuccessful; but second and more important, to get the right people to a conference where the long-sought corridor conversations can finally take place.
In short, there is more reason than ever for a Cambodia conference, both in terms of the heightened threat to Cambodiaʼs security and in terms of our intensified quest for negotiations.[Page 383]
So why not add this item to our current push? (Get the British and Soviets to take the initiative summoning such a conference.)