310. Telegram From the Embassy in Vietnam to the Department of State1

8218. Ref. A. State 070781; B. State 077899.2

Subject: Meeting With President Thieu, May 26, 1970.

[Page 1012]
General Abrams and I had detailed discussion with Thieu covering subject of reftels evening of May 26. Thieu found no problem with our presentation and agreed that guidance outlined should govern future actions.
As reported in my Saigon 7986,3 Thieu reiterated that it is not the GVN purpose to remain permanently in Cambodia. In GVN view, the main objective of the Cambodian operations is to assist and accelerate Vietnamization, to facilitate cleaning out remaining VC strongholds within Viet-Nam, and to destroy VC/NVA forces within country. It is not GVN purpose to take over either Cambodia’s battle or its territory.
Thieu made the following additional comments: —While he expects that all GVN forces will be out of Cambodia by 30 June, there may be some few caches which would need to be cleaned up.
  • —He hopes to work out arrangements with Cambodian Government which will permit limited cross-border operations to prevent enemy from rebuilding bases in Cambodia border area to preclude movement of forces across border from Cambodia into SVN and to prevent movement of enemy forces from SVN into Cambodia. Thieu believes that this latter move very likely to occur. He emphasized the fact that VC/NVA forces in III and IV Corps are now isolated and there is now opportunity to eliminate them.
  • —Since accelerated pacification program is to begin July 1, it is important that Vietnamese troops be in South Viet-Nam at that time.
  • —The GVN will study ways in which it can provide material support to the Lon Nol government to as great an extent as possible.
  • —It is important to keep the Mekong open to Phnom Penh but this does not appear to require strong military presence on the river.
  • —The GVN must do what it can to protect South Vietnamese residing in Cambodia. In this connection, access to Phnom Penh via Mekong important in case further evacuation necessary, but Thieu hopes it would be possible for Cambodian Government to maintain adequate security for ethnic Vietnamese.
  • —He feels that GVN must retain flexibility in regard to situation which could arise in case of a serious emergency such as an attack on Phnom Penh and a request for assistance from the Cambodian Government. He feels that we should try to arrive at a coordinated position on what action should be undertaken should such an emergency arise.
Thieu plans to review situation with his military commanders today to go over situation concerning operations in Cambodia and to alert them to requirements for accelerated pacification program to begin July 1. I shall try to secure read-out on this.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CAMB/KHMER. Top Secret; Nodis; Khmer.
  2. Documents 285 and 301.
  3. Dated May 23. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 CAMB/KHMER)