229. Telegram From the Liaison Office in China to the Department of State 1
Beijing, April 12, 1975, 0245Z.
685. Subject: Note from Sihanouk.
- Subsequent to Holdridge’s session with Phung in Malo’s apartment,2 Malo got in touch with Holdridge to ask that the latter call on him at the French Embassy. When Holdridge did so, Malo presented a handwritten note from Sihanouk responding in concrete terms to the U.S. plan which had been forwarded to him the evening before. (Note is being sent to Department via septel).3 Malo explained that due to Cambodian peculiarities, Sihanouk had specifically instructed Phung not to hand over the note directly but to make it available through a third party, i.e., Malo.
- Sihanouk’s note does not add anything to what we already know, but it makes it all the clearer that Sihanouk has no influence over the Khmer Rouge and cannot in his judgment do anything that will run contrary to their wishes at a moment when they consider a military victory is within their grasp. It does, however, hold out hope for future relationship between the GRUNK and the U.S. once the U.S. severs diplomatic relations with the GKR, stops all aid to the GKR, and evacuates US personnel from Phnom Penh.
- It appears obvious from Sihanouk’s note that he wants to keep the door open for relations with the U.S., and that his response to the U.S. plan constitutes part of the political maneuvering in Peking in which the Prince is now engaging in order to build up his influence vis-à-vis the Khmer Rouge. With respect to this maneuvering, Malo told Holdridge when passing on Sihanouk’s note that during the Prince’s dinner with Soviet Ambassador Tolstikov the latter had assured the Prince of Moscow’s full diplomatic, political, and military support, and had also offered a gift of medical supplies and large quantities of clothing to him personally for distribution in Cambodia. Sihanouk accepted the gift. In Malo’s opinion, distribution of these supplies in Sihanouk’s name rather than in the name of the FUNK or GRUNK would probably enhance Sihanouk’s position politically.
- Incidentally, it has become obvious in Holdridge’s contact with Malo that the French have been kept fully informed by Sihanouk and Phung of all developments in the U.S. contact with Sihanouk, including the details of the U.S. plan.
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 15, People’s Republic of China, State Department Telegrams, To SECSTATE, Nodis (5). Secret; Nodis; Flash.↩
- See Document 227.↩
- Telegram 686 from Beijing, April 12, contained the text of Sihanouk’s note. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 15, People’s Republic of China, State Department Telegrams, To SECSTATE, Nodis (5))↩