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


  • Clandestine Psychological Campaign on Cambodia

Mr. Helms has reported (Tab A)2 a gradual evolution in the CIA clandestine program directed toward Cambodia:

  • —from support of the GOC, it has gradually shifted to support for the concept of an independent Cambodian Government, and it has somewhat diminished the original emphasis upon Cambodian neutrality.
  • —it has shifted emphasis to show the dilemma which the USSR faces in Indochina.
  • —with the U.S. withdrawal, it has shifted from support of allied intervention to focus on Saigon’s military successes and diplomatic initiatives.
  • —it has emphasized the Djakarta Conference3 and Asian solutions to Asian problems.
  • —it has gradually enlarged the theme of North Vietnamese aggression in Cambodia to point to aggression throughout Indochina, and has pointed to Hanoi’s logistic problems in attempting to fight a threefront war.
  • —it is adjusting to the gradual dimunition of world interest in Cambodia.4

Mr. Helms reports that the present preoccupation is the September non-aligned conference in Lusaka and the problem of Cambodian representation. Agents and assets are being deployed to work for a favorable outcome in Lusaka.

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Mr. Helms has transmitted 234 new clippings, bringing to 1,125 the number of news articles, editorials, radio and TV broadcasts which have been placed by CIA throughout the world in support of its program on Cambodia.

CIA is continuing to place intelligence items on Cambodia with selected influential persons abroad, and the success of the program has led to plans to expand the program to embrace all of Indochina.

As the above points suggest, CIA is in the process of adjusting the Cambodian campaign to pick up the old issues on Vietnam plus new issues developing in the area, without causing any break in the momentum of the campaign which began exclusively focussed upon Cambodia.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 588, Cambodia Operation 1970, Cambodia–Clandestine Psychological Campaign on Cambodia. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed his comment, “Communicate to Helms.” In a September 2 memorandum to Helms, Kissinger noted that the President commented favorably on the campaign and urged him to continue it. (Ibid.)
  2. A memorandum from Helms to Kissinger, July 27, is attached but not printed.
  3. Reference is to a conference on Cambodia held by the Foreign Ministers of 11 Asian nations in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 16–17, 1970. Following the conference, the Foreign Ministers issued a communiqué urging an immediate end to all acts of hostility in Cambodia and withdrawal of all foreign forces. The text of the May 18 U.S. statement supporting the communiqué is in the Department of State Bulletin, June 8, 1970, pp. 710–711.
  4. The President wrote in the margin next to these points, “Good, keep it up.”