284. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 1

046476. For Ambassador from Asst. Secretary Green.

Public statements by Adam Malik clearly show his awareness of importance of Cambodia to security Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. As reported by FBIS, Malik told press March 25 that “what is happening in Cambodia at present is a change of government and that Indonesia recognizes the government currently in power in that country.” Malik added that all foreign troops should be withdrawn from Cambodia since their presence only “endangers situation in SEA.”
Request you see Malik at earliest convenient moment to discuss developments in Cambodia as they relate to security of Southeast Asia. After commending him for his above statement, you might point out to him that we too fully support the neutrality and territorial integrity of Cambodia. Communist allegations of US involvement in Cambodian affairs are absolutely without foundation. These charges are an [Page 615]obvious effort to divert attention from the undeniable fact that there are perhaps 40,000 North Vietnamese encamped on Cambodian soil plus some 5,000 Viet Cong. It was in order to gain international support, including that of Moscow and Peking, for the removal of these NV/VC forces that Sihanouk set out on his trip. Meanwhile, Lon Nol is continuing efforts to talk with Hanoi and PRG to get them to remove these forces and there are now unconfirmed reports and rumors that Communists may be seeking to attack and overthrow Government of Cambodia or to extend control over various parts of country.
Under these circumstances, would be most useful if Asian countries were to register their concern over developments in Cambodia and their support for Cambodian neutrality and territorial integrity, much the way Malik has already done (see para 1). If this could be done by ASEAN countries speaking with common voice, this would be particularly impressive, but if ASEAN as an organization shrinks from being involved in this kind of an issue, then it would be second best if ASEAN member countries could speak up on their own. In any event, it is better for Asians to take the lead than it is for US or European countries. Moreover, any indication that US was putting Asian countries up to making such statement would be unfortunate.
I leave it to your best judgment and finesse as to how to handle this issue with Malik in a way likely to result in ASEAN (or failing that, ASEAN member countries) making their position clear along above lines. It is not our intention to approach other ASEAN countries on this issue since this should be a purely Asian initiative. Indeed I would hope you could handle conversation in such a way that Malik would make suggestion himself about ASEAN or ASEAN member countries making statement and that he would follow through with them.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL Nodis. Drafted by Green and Masters on March 30, cleared by Haig in the White House and Wingate Lloyd (S/S), and approved by Green.