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164. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

SUBJECT

  • Cambodian Border

At Tab A is an interesting letter from Marshall Green expressing concern about the political implications of shelling across the Cambodian border and suggesting that a concerted effort be made to minimize such incidents.2

Green suggests moving Civilian Irregular Defense Group bases out of enemy artillery range, and indicates, inter alia, that:

  • —In less than a month there have been ten major incidents involving these bases.
  • —Cambodia may feel forced to break relations if the incidents continue at the present level, and may ask for a Security Council meeting, which Yost believes would prove particularly embarrassing.

Green anticipates that some military leaders may object to his proposal. Field commanders probably will not want to sacrifice the advantages of forward position for these bases and may point out that [Page 526]moving these camps out of mortar range will not protect them from long-range artillery and rocket attacks launched from Cambodia.

I do not want to prejudge the issue. However, in the wake of our more forceful actions inside the Cambodian border, relations with Sihanouk actually seem to have improved. Sihanouk also appears to be much more concerned with what is known publicly than what the U.S. actually does. Therefore, a public sign of weakness on our part might hinder our relations. Nevertheless, I believe Green's suggestion deserves careful consideration by all concerned agencies.3 I am asking for comments from others concerned.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 506, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. II, September 1969–9 April 1970. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Tab A, a letter from Green to Kissinger, December 15, is attached but not printed.
  3. Nixon underlined portions of the two previous sentences and wrote: “1. Don't tell him what we are really doing—! 2. It might be well to do more—in the non public area if possible.”