This Week In Cambodian History- August 13-19

On August 13, 1969, Lon Nol formed a government as prime minister which in March 1970 would vote to depose Prince Sihanouk.

On August 13, 1978: Three foreign sailors (Briton John Dawson Dewhirst, 26, Canadian Stuart Robert Glass, 27, and New Zealander Kerry George Hamill) drifted into Cambodian waters on their boat Foxy Lady and were captured by Khmer patrol boats. All were later executed as spies.

On August 13, 1987, the Indochinese governments endorsed “the Ho Chi Minh formula” (Hanoi’s term for Indonesia’s ‘peace cocktail party’ idea) as a significant “breakthrough” toward a peaceful settlement in Cambodia.

On August 14, 1945, King Norodom Sihanouk appointed Son Ngoc Thanh as prime minister of the government of Kampuchea. He was arrested by the French authorities the following October.

On August 14, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced that Imperial Japan had surrendered unconditionally, ending World War II. 

On August 15, 1948, Penn Nouth formed his first of many governments as prime minister. 

On August 15, 1958, Sihanouk had an audience with Chairman Mao. Discussing education, Mao advised “The number of students should also be controlled. Elementary school does not matter. Middle school needs to be in control, because there are not so many things waiting to be done for them….. Don’t set up ordinary schools, but some technical schools and agricultural schools.”

On August 15, 1973, The US brought Operation Freedom Deal (the bombing of Khmer Rouge and North Vietnamese Army positions in Cambodia) to an end. Some 250,000 tons of American bombs had been dropped on Cambodia in three years.

On August 15, 1979, the Revolutionary People’s Tribunal indicted Pol Pot and Ieng Sary on charges of genocide, in violation of Article 2 of Decree Law Nº 1 of 15 July 1979.

Both accused were the subject of subpoenas to appear. In light of their failure to appear and pursuant to Articles 5 and 6 of Decree Law Nº 1, the Tribunal decided to hold the trial in absentia

On August 16, 1955, a US Intelligence report ‘PROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN CAMBODIA TO JULY 1956‘ was released. Extract:

The Problem

To analyze the present strengths and weaknesses of Cambodia, and to estimate probable future developments and trends to July 1956.


1. Cambodia’s principal current problem is the conflict between the young ex-King, Norodom Sihanouk, and the majority of the country’s intelligentsia over the issue of royal absolutism versus constitutional monarchy. Although Sihanouk is a patriot and appears deeply concerned with the welfare of his people, he apparently believes that the Cambodians are not prepared to govern themselves. READ FULL REPORT (long read and some very accurate predictions)

On August 16, 1969, the US Embassy Phnom Penh was reestablished, with Lloyd M. Rives as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. WATCH INTERVIEW HERE

On August 16, 1987, ASEAN foreign ministers met informally to discuss the ‘cocktail party’ idea, and forged a compromise that papered over some of the differences among the six member states concerning the Cambodia situation.This attempt to achieve unanimity proved fruitless, however, as Hanoi rejected the ASEAN suggestion.

 On August 17, 1994, approximately eighty Khmer Rouge troops attacked Chumkiri town, Kampot, burning shops near the market. In the course of the raid, Khmer Rouge soldiers surrounded the house of the Chumkiri district chief, eventually catching him and stabbing him to death. Three others were killed by the Khmer Rouge at the same time: the deputy district police commissioner, the district chief’s bodyguard, and a civilian passerby.

On August 18, 1970, the Chinese government agreed to provide military assistance to Prince Sihanouk’s government-in-exile. 

On August 18, 2018, it was announced that Cambodia would not grant any new online gambling licenses, and not renew those already in existence.

On August 19, 1979, the Revolutionary People’s Tribunal convicted Pol Pot and Ieng Sary on charges of genocide. They were sentenced to death in absentia.

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