This Week In Cambodian History- July 9-15

On July 9, 1958, a telegram sent by Ambassador Elbridge Durbrow in Saigon read:

From here Cambodia does not appear to be at crossroads but rather somewhat past that point along road to left. Sihanouk has already recognized USSR and accepted Soviet aid and for most practical purposes has also recognized Communist China by accepting trade mission and considerable ChiCom aid. Moreover, evidence from Phnom Penh, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] appears to indicate Sihanouk may be moving closer to Communist China, although of course this could well be bluff. Under these circumstances, I translate Sihanouk’s talk about “pure” neutrality and “active” neutrality as nothing more than “pure” opportunism or smokescreen.

To me Sihanouk’s talk about friends and allies in his July 5 speech is nothing but a part of smokescreen or crude blackmail attempt and his remarks accusing us of sabotaging his meeting with Diem are insulting and call for very sharp protest.

Although I have repeatedly urged Diem and other GVN officials to exercise restraint and moderation in dealing with Cambodia and they have not been helpful, particularly in July 3 and 4 press articles, I have personal conviction that Sihanouk for whatever motives he may have has deliberately elected to exacerbate Cambodian-Vietnamese relations and that time has clearly come for us to call his bluff.

I believe we should tell Sihanouk: (1) We are interested in seeing the restoration of good relations between Cambodia and Vietnam; (2) We believe this can be achieved by restraint and good will on both sides;(3)We believe invasion flap was largely artificial and incident should be considered closed; (4) We must reject accusation that US sought to torpedo Sihanouk-Diem meeting which we still consider desirable. Whether it be Sihanouk-Diem or under present circumstances it might be best to press for technical talks which if successful could lead to Sihanouk–Diem meeting to “bury the hatchet”;

(5) If Cambodia wants to turn increasingly to Communist China that is her privilege but RKG must not expect us to enter bidding contest with Communists but rather must expect that US would be obliged to re-examine its aid policy. We should also talk to Diem firmly along lines 1, 2 and 4 above.

If, as may be case, Sihanouk is drifting more and more towards Communist China any efforts to appease him will only encourage him in his game of playing both ends against the middle. On the other hand if we bring him up abruptly I think we have a good chance of making him face situation with greater realism.

On July 9, 1964, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Randolph A. Kidder took oath of office and proceeded to post, but did not present his credentials. He left the post on September 18, 1964.

On July 9, 1975, a New York Times story, ‘Cambodia’s Crime…‘ was published, outlying the forced evacuation from Phnom Penh of civilians in April.

 On July 9, 1992, Khieu Samphan repeated the PDK proposals and rejecting UNTAC demands in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General.

On July 9, 2016, the Cambodian government released a 3-point statement rejecting an arbitration court’s decision on a conflict between the Philippines and China over territory in the South China Sea. “Cambodia viewed that this arbitration case was not related with all ASEAN member states. Therefore, Cambodia would not join in expressing any common position on the arbitration court’s verdict on the dispute between the Philippines and China”, it said.

The statement also called on the Philippines and China to continue settling their dispute through peaceful means.

On July 10, 1958, Prince Sihanouk formed a government as prime minister. It was his 9th time in office.

As of 10 July 1992, UNTAC’s Phase II of the ceasefire operation recorded that of the estimated 200,000 Cambodian factions active troops, the numbers of cantoned soldiers were as follows: CPAF, 9,003; ANKI, 3,187; KPNLAF, 1,322. However, reflecting PDK’s position of non-cooperation, no NADK (Khmer Rouge) troops were cantoned.

On July 10, 2016, Cambodian activist, physician, and political commentator, Dr. Kem Lay was shot dead in a Star Mart café at a Caltex gas station in Phnom Penh.

On July 11, 1903, by Royal Ordinance, the first Cambodian battalion of riflemen was constituted under French officers. The Cambodian troops would go on to fight well in France in World War I, interestingly being paired with the Senegalese rather than with the Annamese and Tonkinese units.

On July 11, 1947, Prime Minister Sisowath Youthevong- the first elected PM known as ‘the father of Cambodian democracy’ died. Sisowath Watchhayavong was appointed prime minister.

On July 11, 1950, diplomatic relations were established between the USA and Cambodia when American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Donald R. Heath presented his credentials to the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Heath was resident at Saigon.

On July 11, 1994, the Khmer Rouge established a provisional government headed by Khieu Samphan in northern Cambodia.

On July 11, 2008, journalist Khim Sambo and his son were shot in a drive-by shooting in Phnom Penh. At 6:30 p.m. on July 11, Sambo, 47, and his son, Khat Sarinpheata, 21, were fired upon numerous times by a man riding on the back of a motorcycle near Olympic Stadium in central Phnom Penh, where Sambo and his son had been exercising. Sambo died at the scene. His son died the following day in hospital.

On July 11, 2011, the Cambodian Stock Exchange (CSX) was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance.

July 11–13, 2012, Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Cambodia. She met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, attended the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia Summit Ministerial Meetings and the East Asia Regional Forum Retreat and attended a Friends of the Lower Mekong Ministerial Meeting. In Siem Reap, ahe met with the Prime Minister of Thailand and the President of Burma, addressed the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy Dialogue, and attended a U.S.-ASEAN Business Forum

 On July 12, 2011, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the country will begin extracting oil from the sea by December 2012. “We will exploit oil from the seabed from Dec. 12, 2012,” he said during an inauguration ceremony of a 900-meter sea-spanning bridge in Preah Sihanouk province. It was estimated Cambodia would earn $200 million U.S. from oil and gas sector by 2013.

On 13 July 1998, the UN Secretary-General appointed a Group of Experts to evaluate the existing evidence, assess the feasibility of bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice and explore options for doing so before an international or national jurisdiction.

On July 13, 2004, the Additional Constitutional Law tending to ensure the regular functioning of the national institutions was promulgated by Preah Reach Kram No. NS/RKM/0704/001- aiming at ensuring, under all circumstances, the good functioning of the national institutions in respecting the basic principles of a liberal multi-party democracy, according to the state of necessity.

On July 13, 2014, King Father Sihanouk’s ashes were interred at the silver pagoda next to those of one of his daughters, Kantha Bopha.

On July 14, 1993, The Royal Gendarmerie Khmer was formed.

On July 15, 1954, Chinese Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai met his Cambodian counterpart Tep Phan. The next day he sent a letter to Mao Zedong.

On July 15, 1954, Secretary of State Dulles gave a statement regarding Indochina:

I return from consultations at Paris with the new French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, M. Pierre Mendes-France. These talks were also participated in by Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary.

These talks have brought about an understanding concerning Indochina much more complete than has heretofore existed. It enabled us to demonstrate anew the solidarity of the Western powers in the face of Communist hostility and intrigue.

The United States has been concerned to find a way whereby it could help France, Viet-Nam, Laos, and Cambodia find acceptable settlements without in any way prejudicing basic principles to which the United States must adhere if it is to be true to itself, and if the captive and endangered peoples of the world are to feel that the United States really believes in liberty.

I had the opportunity in Paris fully to explain the United States position in this respect to M. Mendes-France, whom I had known before but whom I had not met since he assumed his new offices.

The conclusion was that we would ask the Under Secretary of State, Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, to return to Geneva at an early date to renew his participation in the Indochina phase of the Conference(2). But this is on the understanding, to which both the French and British Ministers expressly agreed, that renewed participation by the United States at the ministerial level will be without departing from the U.S. principles which I had described.

I believe that we have found a formula for constructive allied unity which will have a beneficial effect on the Geneva Conference. And it carries no danger that the United States will abandon its principles.

On July 14, 1994, the first amendment of the modern constitution (1993) was promulgated by Preah Reach Kram of July 14, 1994, aiming at delegating the King’s signature authority to the Acting Head of State.

On July 15, 1867, a treaty between France and the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand) was signed to regulate the political position and the limits of Cambodia. The treaty restored two northern provinces of Cambodia to Siam but did not directly affect the Cambodia-Laos line. The Siamese, however, recognized the sole protection of France over Cambodian affairs.

On July 15, 1973, fifteen B-52’s returned to the US from Southeast Asia, signaling the beginning of the end of the bombing of Cambodia.

On July 15, 2004, the National Assembly re-elected Hun Sen as Prime Minister and ratified the third-term coalition Government between the CPP and FUNCINPEC.

On July 15, 2008, around 50 Thai soldiers moved into the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda vicinity, which Phnom Penh claimed is located in Cambodia’s territory about 300 metres (980 ft) from the Temple of Preah Vihear.

 On July 15, 2012, police arrested ‘Beehive Radio’ owner Mam Sonando at his home in Phnom Penh. On July 16, he was formally charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court under six articles under the Penal Code.

On July 15, 2014, anti-government demonstrations in Phnom Penh turned violent as city security teams clashed with demonstrators, mostly CNRP supporters. 11 CNRP members were later arrested.

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