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

SUBJECT

  • TASS Issues Statement on Cambodia

The Soviet news agency TASS has issued a formal statement (Tab A)2 on Cambodia. The statement is generally cautious in tone, not committing the Soviets to any course of action but demonstrating their continued interest in and concern about developments in Southeast Asia. The statement does not explicitly repudiate the Lon Nol Government; it makes no reference to Sihanouk. It makes no mention of possible U.S. aid to Cambodia. It stands in marked contrast to the tough statements emanating from Hanoi and Peking. Moreover, although it expresses concern about the overall peaceful settlement of the problems of Indo-China, it makes no references to the recent formation of the “Indo-China Peoples’ Front.” In fact its references to a peaceful settlement “of the problems of Indo-China” might be a hint that the Soviet Indo-China conference proposal is not entirely dead. The difference in this Soviet statement and the Hanoi approach is particularly striking because there have been recent conferences between Hanoi Party First Secretary Le Duan and top Soviet officials in Moscow.

The TASS statement leads (and ends) with the following sentence: “It is believed in the Soviet Union that attempts to undermine Cambodia’s neutrality and widen imperialist aggression in the Indo-China peninsula may have the most serious consequences for the cause of peace and security in Southeast Asia.” The statement then condemns at length the reported massacres in Cambodia; it relates them to our policy of Vietnamization (allegedly setting Asians against Asians) and claims that this “cannot but cause concern among those who are interested in the earliest resolution of the dangerous conflict and a peaceful settlement of the problems of Indo-China.”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 711, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. VII. Confidential. Sent for information. Drafted by Holdridge and Richard Smyser on April 24. The memorandum is an uninitialed copy.
  2. Attached but not printed.