220. Editorial Note

On March 25, 1970, Secretary of State William Rogers and Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin met to discuss Laos and Cambodia at the Secretary’s initiative. After discussing prospects for a coalition government in Laos, both men agreed that their countries had a mutual interest in maintaining a neutral Cambodia and preventing conflict from spreading there. Rogers assured Dobrynin that the United States had nothing to do with the overthrow of Sihanouk; Dobrynin indicated that if a right-wing group emerged in Cambodia there “would probably be trouble.” (Telegram 44214 to Moscow, March 26; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 LAOS) On April 3 the Department of State instructed the Embassy in Moscow to make a formal démarche to the Soviet Government on Cambodia, stressing US–USSR mutual interest in Cambodian neutrality, reiterating that the United States was not involved in deposing Sihanouk or establishing Lon Nol, and expressing concern about North Vietnamese and Viet Cong encouragement of unrest and opposition to Cambodian control in border regions of Cambodia. (Telegram 49049 to Moscow, April 3; ibid., POL 27 CAMB) On April 8 Ambassador Jacob Beam reported that when he made these points to Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Firyubin, he received “little more than stonewalling in over one-hour conversation.” (Telegram 1711 from Moscow, April 8; ibid.)