204. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • ANZUS Council Meeting—Part Two—Cambodia


  • The Secretary
  • Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of New Zealand
  • Minister for External Affairs Paul Hasluck of Australia
  • Mr. William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary, EA
  • Mr. Ian Stewart, Head, Defense Division, Department of External Affairs of New Zealand
  • Sir James Plimsoll, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs of Australia

Hasluck began by reporting on Prime Minister Holtʼs trip to Phnom Penh. He said that Holt had wished to help, but it was hard on a first visit to get into argument on the difficult questions related to the VC. Holt had engaged in some discussion with Sihanouk, in which without being argumentative he had at least got across to Sihanouk that the US believed it had a real case.

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Hasluck then adverted to the question of what Deschamps might usefully do. He thought he could readily and perhaps usefully make soundings seeking to have a direct US-Cambodian channel of some sort. However, he was dubious that Deschamps could effectively raise the question of providing or exchanging information on VC/NVA activities. Deschamps could only talk to Sihanouk as a practical matter, since talking to any other Cambodian would arouse resistance from Sihanouk when he heard about it. Sihanouk would fear the Chinese reaction if he appeared to be getting into such an information exchange with us. Therefore, even if the exchange were proposed, Sihanouk would probably turn it down. If he did accept, he would at once wish to know where it led, and this would be most difficult.

Hasluck concluded that it was the general Australian view that the US should not rush. Let Deschamps talk about direct contacts, but donʼt ask him to discuss exchange of information.

The Secretary responded that he was agreeable to this proposal. As to the locale of direct contacts, he suggested that they could be in Tokyo, or New Delhi, or at the UN, or indeed wherever the Cambodians wished. The Secretary noted that Senator Brooke felt he had received some encouragement in this direction, though not from Sihanouk himself.

Hasluck then went on to say that he himself had made the deliberated decision to leave Deschamps in Phnom Penh, having learned when he took over (in April 1964) that Deschamps was up for transfer. He considered Deschamps ideally equipped to conduct a policy of keeping relations smooth with the Cambodians and particularly never getting into argument. This was in fact Deschampsʼ own personal inclination, and this he had done. Hasluck considered the results of this policy to have been of value, as the Australians clearly had good standing in Phnom Penh now and even their role in Viet-Nam was not condemned by the Cambodians.

The matter was left at that, and Bundy remarked that we would draw up a possible message for Deschamps to use suggesting direct contacts.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S-International Conference Files: Lot 67 D 586, CF 169. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Bundy and approved in S on May 1. Holyoake, Hasluck, and Rusk were attending the 16th meeting of the ANZUS Council, held in Washington, April 21–22.