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

SUBJECT

  • Actions in Cambodia
[Page 811]

Attached is an interim progress report from Director Helms 2 on two actions taken in Cambodia to sustain the present regime. The report states that:

  • —A senior CIA officer has been sent to Phnom Penh and is now in contact with our best placed agent in the Cambodian government. He is expected to return to Washington during the middle of next week with a full report on the current situation there.3
  • —A world-wide propaganda effort is well under way to call attention to the flagrant violation of Cambodian territory by the North Vietnamese, to seek to discredit Sihanouk's efforts to create an exile government, and to emphasize the value of a genuinely neutral Cambodia.

Director Helms also reports that other measures are being considered which might provide support for the current regime. At the present time actions such as black radio broadcasts stressing the Chinese and North Vietnamese threat appear to be counter-productive. However, two proposals are recommended:

  • —Jamming for the next month or so broadcasts from Hanoi and Peking supporting Sihanouk and directed towards Cambodia.
  • —Increasing Voice of America broadcasts to two hours a day.

Director Helms believes these efforts to counteract the Chinese and North Vietnamese propaganda campaign on Sihanouk's behalf might be very useful in the current situation. They would also provide a clear but discreet signal to Cambodia that we are willing to help in ways that would not impair their neutrality. State and USIA have apparently rejected these proposals. However, I believe they have merit.

Recommendation:4

That you approve my working with State, Defense and USIA to institute selective jamming of broadcasts to Cambodia from Hanoi and Peking and to increase Voice of America broadcasts to Cambodia.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1002, Haig Special Files, Staff Memos, 11/30/69–7/23/70. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.
  2. The progress report was an attached April 10 memorandum from Helms to Kissinger. Helms wrote a note next to the paragraph about this action reminding Kissinger: “You alone know this [the dispatch of a CIA senior officer to Phnom Penh].”
  3. On April 15 Kissinger sent Nixon a summary of the senior officer's conversation with the agent. The agent stated that Lon Nol did not want to ask the United States for aid unless absolutely necessary and then it should be given “quietly.” Kissinger noted that the agent was unaware of Cambodian approaches to the U.S. for military aid and that the Cambodian search for arms from other nations was not yielding much. Finally, the agent described the internal situation in Cambodia as quiet, the army as loyal, and reported that the Lon Nol government is sending propaganda teams to the countryside seeking to win over the people. The agent predicted that a republic would be established by popular referendum within 3 months. (Memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, April 15; ibid., Box 506, Country Files, Far East, Cambodia, Vol. III, 10 April 1970–23 April 1970, [1 of 2])
  4. Nixon initialed the “approve” option.