206. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Recognition of the New Government in Cambodia

You raised a question over the telephone this afternoon as to the status of our recognition of Cambodia.

We have taken the line that the U.S. Government has not taken any action to alter the status of its diplomatic relations with Phnom Penh. We have not explicitly recognized the new regime contrary to some recent erroneous press reports. They claim to be the continuing legal Government of Cambodia, and we have simply not challenged that claim.

The Premier is of course the one appointed by Sihanouk last summer (Lon Nol), and the acting Chief of State (Cheng Heng) has been acting in that capacity since Sihanouk’s departure for France in January.

If asked whether Sihanouk does not claim to be still the Chief of State, I suggest you say simply that this is a question which we assume the Cambodians will be working out, and that we have not taken a position on it.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 506, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. II, September 1969–9 April 1970. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Kissinger, Haig, and Grant on March 20. A note on the memorandum indicates it went to the President on March 20.