This Week In Cambodian History: December 12-18

On December 12, 1936, acting French Resident supérieurs Henri Louis Marie Richomme handed over the position to Léon Emmanuel Thibaudeau.    

On December 12, 1963, Prince Sihanouk made a speech in Takeo, repeating his call for ‘celebrations’ over the assassination of President Kennedy. A diplomatic row between the US and Cambodia would continue into 1964.

On December 12, 1971,MSGT Bernard Joseph Moran, Jr, USMC Imagery Interpretation Specialist with MACVSOG OP-20, KIA over Cambodia.

Bernard was born and raised in Philadelphia. He enlisted in the Marines 26 September 1955, at the Philadelphia Recruiting Office. Bernard arrived in Vietnam 26 February 1971, where he was assigned to MACV-SOG. On December 12, 1971, he was a “backseater” in a 0-1G aircraft piloted by CWO Lloyd S. Rainey of the 74th Aviation Company. At the time, the 74th Aviation Company had a detachment at Quan Loi, near An Loc, which conducted missions in support of MACV-SOG’s CCS headquarters.

On this day they were flying a visual/handheld photography recon mission in Cambodia at extremely low altitude (tree top) level when the aircraft was hit by ground fire. Pilot CWO Rainey was killed and the aircraft crashed. MSGT Moran suffered fatal injuries in the attack. Their remains were recovered. Bernard is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeardon, Delaware County, PA.

On December 12, 1997, in UN resolution 52/135, the Secretary-General was asked to examine a request on establishing an international court, including the possibility of appointing a group of experts to evaluate the existing evidence and to propose further measures for “for the assistance of the United Nations and the international community in bringing to justice those persons responsible for the genocide and crimes against humanity during the rule of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979”.

On December 14, 1843, King Ang Duong took the throne for the second time during the Siamese-Vietnamese war that was fought over Cambodia. He would not be officially coronated until 1848.

On December 14, 1955, Cambodia is granted full membership status of the United Nations.

On December 14, 1992, Angkor Wat was added to the World Heritage List, at the sixteenth session of the World Heritage Committee.

On December 15, 1946, Prince Youthevong was appointed prime minister on December 15, 1946, following French reforms which allowed for greater autonomy, and an election held on September 1, 1946. Prince Youthevong died in July the following year.

On 15 December 1970, The allied Cambodian Army [a.k.a. Forces Armées Nationales Khmères – FANK] successfully held back a three-day Communist assault at Prey Totung, the last govt. stronghold north of Phnom Penh.

From December 15-19, 1975, the text of a new constitution for Democratic Kampuchea was approved by a 1,000-member National Congress in Phnom Penh.

On 16 December 1977, an estimated 60,000 troops from the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) assembled on the border and launched an attack, which overran the Cambodians and came to within 30 km of Phnom Penh before withdrawing on January 6, 1978.

On December 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent a personal message to Prince Sihanouk:

Your Royal Highness,

I have long hoped that we might make some progress towards resolving the problems which have troubled United States-Cambodian relations. It was with this purpose in mind that I asked my Special Advisor on Asian Economic and Social Development, Mr. Eugene Black, to visit Cambodia during his recent Asian tour. Mr. Black has reported to me fully on his visit, and I was gratified by the frankness and cordiality of the discussions which he had with members of Your Royal Highnessʼ Government.

I should like to address Your Royal Highness on a matter which affects relations between our two countries. This matter involves the men on board the LCU 1577 which, because of an error in navigation, entered Cambodian waters on the Mekong River and was detained by the Royal Khmer Navy. It also involves the wounded helicopter crewman who is, I understand, being well cared for in Cambodian hospitals. The release of these men would be welcomed in this country and would, I believe, contribute significantly to an improvement in the atmosphere of relations between Cambodia and the United States.

I also wish to assure Your Royal Highness of the continuing friendship of the American people for Cambodia and its people. Differences which may exist from time to time in our outlooks on the problems of Southeast Asia and the world will not, I hope, prevent the continued development and strengthening of this friendship.

Lyndon B. Johnson

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