1955-1966 Sihanouk’s foreign policy during the Sangkum. Dr Henri Locard
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1955-1966 Sihanouk’s foreign policy during the Sangkum. Dr Henri Locard

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Lecture 9

Lecture 9
Cambodia in the 20th Century – 27th March:
Sihanouk’s foreign policy during the Sangkum.
Dr Henri Locard

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1955-1966 Sihanouk’s foreign policy during the Sangkum. Dr Henri Locard Presentation Transcript

  • 1. XVI – 1955-1966: Sihanouk‟s foreign policy
  • 2. 1958
  • 3. Will Sihanouk choose his camp during the Cold War ? • After independence and the establishment of the Sangkum – not to forget the Chinese revolution in 1949 - Sihanouk was urged to choose his camp in the Cold War, as Ho Chi Minh had clearly chosen his – the Soviet. • Allen Dulles, CIA director at the time, came specially to Phnom Penh, on 28th February 1955, to convince the King to make his country join SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) created in late 1954 to prevent the spread of communism. • But Sihanouk was “in no mood to compromise” [Osborne, 94]. After his victories in the “Royal Crusade for Independence” and at Geneva, Sihanouk‟s participation at the Bandung Conference “reinforced his belief in his own importance” [Osborne, 95] and his belief in neutralism. But was that intense activity to prove beneficial to his people ?
  • 4. I – Bandung & Cambodian Neutralism • 1 – Charles De Gaulle • When the young monarch went on a private visit to De Gaulle at his home in Eastern France in 1946, the General was by then a private individual, after his resignation on 20th January 1946. Sihanouk could have been impressed by the General‟s rejection of what he called the “exclusive regime of parties”, while he was to create the Rassemblement du Peuple Français (RPF) on 7th April 1947 • Sihanouk himself was to do the same thing in 1955, with the creation of the Sangkum. Later, after he regained power in 1958, De Gaulle was also to flirt with an anti- Americanism and neutralism he called a return to France‟s grandeur.
  • 5. 2 - Jawaharlal Nehru • In 1954 and 1955, while Sihanouk was still the King, he had drawn much of his inspiration for his foreign policy from Jawaharlal Nehru. He was the major intellectual source of “neutralism”, what was referred to in India as “panchasila”: the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence, including respect of territorial integrity and national sovereignty, non- aggression, mutual non-interference, mutual benefits, and peaceful co- existence. • These principles were presented by the five members of the so-called Colombo group (India, Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) at Bandung. Nehru had visited Cambodia in 1954, before Bandung, and Sihanouk had reciprocated the visit also before Bandung. The Prince considered the Indian leader as his guru, having been initiated by him to the virtues of neutrality, or as “an older brother from whom I had much to learn”. However, Sihanouk had reservations about Nehru‟s insistence on non-violence, like his master Gandhi. He also found some inspiration with the pious Teravada Buddhist U Nu, then Prime Minister of Burma.
  • 6. 3 - 18th-24th April 1955, Sihanouk at Bandung • On 18th-24th April 1955, Sihanouk led a delegation to Bandung in Indonesia and the first so-called Third World Conference that proclaimed the principle of neutrality at the time of the climax of the Cold War that saw the confrontation mainly between the Soviet Union and the United Stated – the two so-called Super Great. • The stars of the meeting of mainly countries of the South from Asia, Africa and South America, were the Chinese Communist Zhou Enlai, Tito from Yugoslavia – a communist State also -, Nehru from India, Nasser from Egypt and, of course the host, Sukarno from Indonesia. All those would adopt the 5 principles of peaceful coexistence put forward first by Nehru and then adopted by the so-called Colombo group of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.
  • 7. Zhu, Sukarno, Sihnanouk, Chen Yi
  • 8. What was the upshot of Bandung ? • Bandung was sponsored by the Asian nationalist leadership of Indonesia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar), and the Philippines. • The foremost figure of these nations was Ahmed Sukarno, president of Indonesia, who clearly ruled over a police state, however strident his anti-imperialist rhetoric. • The prominent personalities were Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India, Kwame Nkrumah, prime minister of the Gold Coast (later Ghana), Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, Chou En Lai, premier of China, Ho Chi Minh, prime minister of Vietnam.
  • 9. 5 - The rôle of Zhu Enlai • The Chinese leader approached the conference participants with "utmost friendliness and reserve,...turning the other cheek when receiving ideological slaps. » • His speech stressed Asian-African unity instead of attacking the West or pushing communist ideology on newly "free" nations. • "Pan-Asianism" was legitimated and empowered by the weight of communist China. Chou En Lai's seemingly weak, but tactical stance at the conference only ensured a de facto bloc against the West. In the late 1950s it provided China with the wedge it needed for the Sino-Soviet split. China's relationship began to decline with India in 1959 over the question of Tibet, and was finally destroyed in the border clashes of 1962.
  • 10. 6 - Lessons of Bandung (Matthew Quest, 1994) • The legacy of these "great" leaders and their regimes represented at Bandung is a sad one. The personalities that were worshipped (Nehru, Nkrumah, Nasser, Chou En Lai, Ho Chi Minh), however great their oratory, were in practice authoritarian, undemocratic, sexist, and despite major theses to the contrary, complicit with furthering neo-colonialism and/or establishing state capitalism. • Non-alignment was clearly a tactic, not a philosophy. Skillful Cold War diplomacy gained some leverage for state sovereignty, but what of the people? In today's one- superpower world no manœuvers are comparably impressive. In a manner similar to much-criticized communist and so-called non-aligned regimes, many nationalists rally the people for "independence" only to seize power in their name and suppress their aspirations for true freedom.
  • 11. 7 - Sihanouk‟s brand of neutralism • Still, just after Bandung, perhaps in contradiction to the principles proclaimed in Java, Sihanouk signed an agreement on 16th May 1955 with the USA for direct military aid that was extremely significant in equipping the country‟s army. “For the moment, Sihanouk was able to have his neutral foreign policy cake, while happily eating the benefit of generous American aid” [Osborne, 96]. • He also received the aid from USAID, while the social and cultural service of the Asia Foundation opened an office in Phnom Penh. • Similarly, in December 1955, Sihanouk went on an official visit to Japan where he was received by Emperor Hirohito (1901- 1989, Emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989). He signed a friendship treaty with Japan and renounced war damages. In return, Japan granted Cambodia 100 million yens of aid to Cambodia.
  • 12. The aid racket • Sihanouk thereby inaugurated his policy of getting aid from a vast amount of donor countries, balancing those between East and West and benefiting from the competition between both sides of the Cold War. • Still, the official slogan proclaimed in the Prince‟s rhetoric was invariably “Cambodia helps itself” “Le Cambodge s’aide lui-même”. As we saw, this was only implemented in colonial days, as the Cambodian taxpayers paid for the cost of the administration and public investments – even for the salaries of colonial administrators – and therefore received no foreign financial aid.
  • 13. II - Sihanouk & Communist countries 1 – Mao’s China in particular • On 16th January 1962, Sihanouk declared in the Parliament: “I know full well that communism is destined to dominate Asia and we shall be under its grip. When the days come, I myself will invite the people to get ready for the new regime” [Tong, 91]. • In the wake of the Bandung meeting, on Zhou‟s invitation at Bandung, Sihanouk went to his first State visit to Beijing in 13th February 1956. It was the year the new Soviet leader Khrushchev (1894-1971) was to denounce the crimes of Stalin against Party supporters and therefore the beginning of de-Stalinization and the loosening of the close relationship between the two Communist giants. • Mao did not at all like this new approach to the history of the revolutionary movement, as he himself was a great admirer and imitator of the Soviet dictator. He indeed himself surpassed his model as it is now reckoned that Mao Zedong caused the death of no less than about 70 millions of his compatriots – the most “self-genocidist” of all Communist totalitarian leaders [read Mao, the Unknown Story, Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, Jonathan Cape, London, 2005].
  • 14. A close cooperation that survived all subsequent regimes • That was to be the first step towards establishing a friendly cooperation between the two countries that has survived all Cambodian regimes to this very day. We may really wonder what could have attracted Sihanouk, calling himself “a thoroughbred prince”, to “a man of rural extraction who lacked Zhou Enlai’s smooth gait, refined manners, and entirely noble bearing” [Krishner, 108-109] ? • The reason was simple: he treated Sihanouk like a great chief of State and flattered his ego. On the first meeting, that fatal day of February 1956, … “as my car entered the courtyard of the President’s house, Mao was already standing there waiting for me. He had walked out of the house to greet me personally, a great surprise and a signal honour. After a long and warm discussion, Mao walked me to my car and re-entered his simple and traditionally Chinese-furnished home only after I passed out his view” [109].
  • 15. Sihanouk‟s fascination for Mao … • The reason for the fascination was twofold: Sihanouk loved to be lionized and flattered, a play-acting the less diplomatic and more straightforward Americans hosts were less able to put on, while the Asian leader was a past master in obsequiousness – like later Pol Pot his disciple. • But there was more than this: both were at the apex of their respective State for reasons that, in their eyes, turned them into super-humans. Sihanouk was not just a direct descendant of Angkorean Kings – or so he believed – but he had brought independence to his country single-handedly and peacefully and before other Indochinese countries. Mao was by then at the forefront of the world communist revolution thus catapulting China into post-modernity after Khrushchev‟s “betrayal”. One was on the throne by the Divine Right of kings, the other by the fatal inexorable advance of the Wheel of History that was crushing all those that stood on its path.
  • 16. …. & lucidity • Sihanouk noted that Mao “was not at all dictatorial and even less imperial. In informal situations, one could easily have mistaken him or a hearty village chief.” [108]. The Chinese also noted they appreciated Sihanouk‟s “special rapport with his people”, something similar to the adulation Mao was enjoying from the crowds of Tienanmen Square. The Prince added in his memoirs: “at a great ceremony in Tienanmen Square, Mao praised me effusively in front of one million people, and he fully supported me and the Khmer resistance against the Lon Nol government” [111]. • At the same time and contradictorily, the Prince was very perceptively aware of the limitations and even criminality of Chairman Mao, the Great Helmsman, when he added just after, “later, he was to wholeheartedly support the Pol Pot regime. Blind to its excesses, he saw it only as the classical proletarian revolution he had dreamed of personally spearheading all his life. Goal-oriented, he was oblivious to the Khmer Rouge’s cruel extremism and coldly indifferent to the human casualties it perpetrated” [111].
  • 17. The rewards of that friendship • The main result of those friendly relationships throughout the year was the gift on the part of the Chinese of entire factories, all fully fitted, constructed by them: a cement factory in Kampot, a paper mill in Kratie, a weaving factory in Kompong Cham, a plywood factory, along the Mekong. • It also supported the radio station in Phnom Penh and extended the airport of Siemreap-Angkor to give it an international standard. Everything ran smoothly until the days of the so-called Cultural Revolution when all the workers in Siemreap work site conducted by Chinese experts were submitted to intense communist propaganda and shown films of revolutionary China in the evenings at a specially built cultural centre, and most workers joined then Khmer Rouge in 1970, after the fall of Sihanouk. • So much for the claim of non-interference into the internal affairs of Cambodia.
  • 18. 2 - A tour of the European Communist countries • In June 1956, Sihanouk went on his first cherished international tours that took him to several Communist countries: Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Belgrade; but he balanced those with Paris, Stockholm, Madrid and Vienna. • But his most memorable visit was to be in Yugoslavia where he formed what he considered a solid friendship with president Tito, the Communist dictator. “I found myself on the enchanting Adriatic island of Brioni, south of Trieste, in the exalted company of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Achmed Sukarno of Indonesia and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.
  • 19. 3 - Beloved Tito • Tito had invited me to join the four main initiators of the non- aligned movement, who were meeting at Tito’s luxurious villa on this paradise island. They had signed the historic joint declaration on non-alignment just one day before my arrival. That declaration was in effect the charter for the movement, whose first summit conference was to be held five years later in Belgrade in 1961. • The day after Nehru, Sukarno and Nasser had departed, Tito invited me to the same villa and asked me to co-sign the charter. Thus, thanks to him, I was the fifth founding father of the non- aligned movement” [117]. • Tito invited Sihanouk again in 1961 where he assembled 29 heads of State or governments. By 1989, there were 106 countries that had joined the non-aligned movement.
  • 20. 4 - Zhou Enlai in Cambodia • In November 1956, it was Zhou Enlai‟s turn to reciprocate the visit and he came to Phnom Penh to solemnly reaffirm that the Chinese aid was absolutely without strings attached and disinterested. • Still, Cambodia was to provide all diplomatic support to the communist giant it could muster, in particular in the Taiwanese question – till today in the question of the Mekong in international meetings. • It continuously supported revolutionary China‟s right to hold the UN seat instead of non-revolutionary Taiwan, in the name of the unity of China.
  • 21. 5 - The Soviet Union • In the meantime, the Soviet Union would be just as generous with Sihanouk‟s Cambodia. It built entirely the largest hospital in Phnom Penh – 500 beds – fully equipped and in operation, along with specialized medical personnel. It remained the main hospital for the Khmer Rouge apparatchiks and military under Democratic Kampuchea. • They also built the very important first and only engineering school in Cambodia, The Khmero-Soviet Institute, renamed by French aid from the early Nineties „L’institut de Technologie du Cambodge”, - the name of the donors having disappeared. • The Soviets built an equally vast embassy along the Sutharot Boulevard, closer to the Royal palace and the National Assembly. The Soviets were again present massively in the Eighties, when Phnom Penh Tuol Tompung market was – and still is – to be know as “the Russian market”. • Finally, various East European Communist countries, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland opened embassies and supported the Sangkum regime.
  • 22. III – Sihanouk & France : Charles De Gaulle In June 1954, Sihanouk made his first official visit to France, where he stayed part of the summer. It was in the course of this stay that Sihanouk obtained a substantial military, economic and cultural aid from the former colonial country. Certainly until his fall in 1970, when the Prince‟s relations with France started to cool off, Sihanouk was a great Francophile. In compensation for the dissolution of the Indochinese Federation, France offered to construct the port of Kompong Som, later renamed Sihanoukville, and the international airport of Pochentong, after the loss of access to Saigon and the airport of Tan Son Nhut. France also helped Cambodia to construct the nucleus of a University with the foundation of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, the Law and Economics Faculty and the Royal School of Administration. France would also aid Cambodia to build the Pedagogical Institute to train secondary school teachers and the complex of what was to become the Faculty of Agricultural, Forestry and Fishing.
  • 23. 2 - France • From 1955, the military instruction mission helped to create a Cambodian military officers academy and gave military hardware from 1964, when USA military aid had been rejected. • Besides that, an important mission of technical assistance of technicians, engineers, doctors and teachers in every subject, as French had been chosen as the language of instruction from grade three. The French were still running the vast rubber plantations and, with EFEO, continuing the conservation of the vast Angkor complex on their own, without the help of UNESCO. The consequence of that was that the number of French nationals present in Cambodia ran into the thousands and they were much more numerous than under the colonial age. • Mao‟s China was the great official friend and Sihanouk had broken diplomatic links with the US in early 1965, but in reality the French were still running much of the show.
  • 24. 3 - Exchange of visits with De Gaulle • The climax of this francophilia or even francomania on the part of Norodom Sihanouk was the grandiose reception the Prince put up for one of his world idols – General De Gaulle. • “When I paid an official visit to France in June 1964, the General received me in a manner reserved for heads of State of friendly countries. He and Madame De Gaulle bestowed on Monique and myself the singular honour of greeting us at Orly airport. As we entered Paris, we were escorted not by motorcycles, but by the magnificent mounted unit of the Garde Républicaine. We were put up at the Quai d’Orsay in a suite once occupied by Queen Elizabeth. […] • In [September] 1966, it was the General’s turn to pay an official visit to Cambodia. We spared nothing to give our illustrious guests an unforgettable memory of their stay amongst us. The 12-kilometre route between Pochentong Airport and the Royal Palace was lined with tens of thousands of Khmers, Chinese and Vietnamese – and of course the French still living among us. Simple enthusiasm turned to absolute exhilaration when the General, standing in an open car, greeted the deliriously happy crowds with his familiar gesture of raising both his arms. […]
  • 25. • That evening the capital was dazzlingly lit. The parks and promenades were emblazoned with blue, white and red. The programme I organized for De Gaulle surpassed any reception Cambodia ever held for a visiting Head of State. Honour after honour were bestowed on him. He was made General-in-chief of the Khmer forces, which in fact owed their origin to the French army. He became an honorary citizen of the capital Phnom Penh, receiving a golden key to the city, and was also presented with the Grand Collar of Independence, set with diamonds. He became the first Head of State allowed to receive the diplomatic corps inside the royal Throne Hall – just as if he himself were the King of Cambodia. He became the first person to give a speech – to 100,000 people – in Phnom Penh brand new Olympic Stadium. A major avenue in Phnom Penh and the most beautiful boulevard in the town of Siemreap were named after him. And he inaugurated the new State Palace of Chamcar Mon, reserved for visiting Heads of State”. [Krishner, 45-49].
  • 26. 4 - The Olympic Stadium speech • After praising the achievements of the Sangkum, De Gaulle indirectly addressed the Government of the United States, as if it was alone responsible for the Second Indochinese War. He gave the example of Algeria in which it had been present for 132 years, had about one million settlers, and yet left. This is a curious parallel, as the two situations were quite different. Besides, the Americans were present in South-Vietnam on the request of a free and independent country that did not want to become communist. • “France considers that the fighting that is ravaging Indochina […] offers no end. In France’s view, it is unthinkable that the American war apparatus will be annihilated on the spot. There is, on the other hand, no chance that the people of Asia will subject themselves to the law of the foreigner who come from the other shores of the Pacific, whatever his intentions, however powerful his weapons” [Krishner, 187]. • For De Gaulle, the solution is crystal clear: the US must leave Vietnam and everyone will be happy ever after. Well, this is just what they did from 1973 and the Indochinese people – the South Vietnamese and the Khmers – were not particularly happy and prosperous after that departure.
  • 27. 5 - The French Riviera • As a final note, we must not forget to underline that Sihanouk never failed to spend months in the South of France to be treated by his French doctors • He usually resided in a relatively modest villa belonging to his mother Queen Kossamak at Mougins on the Riviera, not very far from the Mediterranean Sea and the luxuries of high life in this blessed and beautiful part of France. • The excuse for those long trips was his health and his slimming cures with his devoted French doctors.
  • 28. IV – Cambodia & its Neighbours: South Vietnam and Thailand • Siahnouk‟s Cambodia became the greatest of friend with distant nations, like China, Yugoslavia and France, but proved unable to establish normal, balanced and trustful with its immediate neighbours. That great shortcoming was to mark all the ensuing decades of Cambodian history. One of the reasons for Sihanouk to insist on the close ties with China was the hope: “that China would act as Cambodia’s protector against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, a state whose intentions the Prince distrusted” [Osborne, 102- 3]. • Both neighbours, South Vietnam and Thailand had, contrary to Sihanouk, clearly chosen their camps in the Cold War – the West, ASEAN and SEATO. That was for the immediate history, not to forget centuries of hostility and the quite negative heritage left by the colonial era. Indochina, a colonial construct, had been administered from Hanoi and by many Vietnamese middle level officials employed in French offices – interpreters, secretaries … .
  • 29. 1 – South Vietnam • Relations started very badly with the dictatorial Ngo Dinh Diem who had refused to organize the free elections in South Vietnam as planned by the Geneva accords. He did not return to Cambodia the refunds from import duties before 1st January 1955 he should have returned. Worse, he blocked the free passage on the Mekong, up and down the river, of high sea cargo ships. • Then, with the development of the war, there were more and more incursions into Cambodia of the South Vietnam military forces. The worst incident was the total destruction of Bathu village in Svay Rieng province. In June 1958, regular South Vietnamese troops penetrated several kilometers into Cambodia in O‟Yadao district, Ratanakiri, along Road 19 from Stung Treng to Pleiku At the beginning of 1959, Son Ngoc Thanh, who had taken refuge in Saigon, was accused of being implicated in the Dap Chuon plot.
  • 30. 2 - South Vietnamese attacks The South Vietnamese attacks, by air and by land, against border stations and villages kept increasing in spite of the Cambodian government‟s numerous protests. So that, the exasperated Prince Sihanouk decided to cut all diplomatic relationships with the Ngo Dinh Diem regime on 27th August 1963. He was to be assassinated some two months later on 1st November 1963. Incidents were to escalate into 1964 when the embassies of both the United States and of the United Kingdom were ransacked by a mob encouraged by the Government, along with the offices of the US Information Service and the library of the British Council. Those were provoked by the continuous incursions on the part of South Vietnamese and Americans and their refusal to recognize the exact layout of the border line.
  • 31. 3 - Conference of the Indochinese Peoples • In November 1964, took place in Phnom Penh, on Sihanouk‟s initiative, a “conference of Indochinese Peoples” that was open to all “anti-colonialist and anti- neo-colonialist organizations” from the peninsula. There were of course delegation from the North-Vietnamese, the NLF and the Pathet Lao and smaller organizations, but the conference was a mixed success, as the participants confronted each others. • A complaint was lodged with the United Nations and a commission of inquiry was set up with nationals from Brazil, Morocco, and Ivory Coast. Cambodia, Sihanouk claimed, obtained nothing from these peaceful negotiations.
  • 32. 4 - Break of diplomatic relationships • The tension with South Vietnam and the Second Indochinese War were to be the cause of the break of diplomatic relations with the USA. • On the occasion of he 15th anniversary of the Chinese revolution on 1st October 1964 in Beijing, Sihanouk, who had been invited to the celebrations, met Pham Van Dong, the Prime Minister of the Hanoi Government and representatives from the southern so-called National Liberation Front (NLF). The Prince mentioned the problem of the borders and it was decided to examine the questions with those representatives of both the North and the South Vietnam. But after long meetings and negotiations between the three delegations, those were bogged down in legal and technical considerations and nothing came out of those either. • The result was that, on 3rd May 1965, Sihanouk decided to break diplomatic relations with Washington. That rupture of relations was a logical step after the rejection of American aid from November 1963.
  • 33. Break of diplomatic relationships - 2 • As we remember diplomatic relations had been broken in August 1963 with South-Vietnam and earlier with Thailand, even before the Preah Vihear affair of 1961-62, we must note that the Sangkum regime had no normal relations with its immediate and important neighbours. • Still, after an intense lobbying, the NLF, on 31st May 1967 and the North-Vietnam on 8th June, officially recognized Cambodia‟s borders. But neither did South-Vietnam nor Thailand.
  • 34. 5 - Thailand • Relations with Thailand were just as tense. The resentment of the Thais must have originated in the 1907 treaty that forced those to cede back Cambodia‟s western provinces. 1947 was another sore time for the Thais, as the same thing was repeated again. • Their government tried to cause troubles in the Western provinces by helping to create the Issarak movement that operated from the Thai territory. • From 1955, the Thai were putting some pressure on Cambodia to persuade it to join SEATO. At the same time, Son Ngoc Thanh took refuge in Bangkok after having been chased from the Cambodian border and took the lead of the rebellious Khmer Serey forces. He was said to have been then working for the CIA. It was also the time when the Thai military occupied the Preah Vihear temple.
  • 35. Preah Vihear • In July 1958, Sihanouk travelled to Bangkok to meet the King of Thailand and conversations continued between the Khmer and the Thai delegations. Cambodia required Thailand to officially recognize the borders as defined by the 1907 Franco-Siamese Treaty, together with the sovereignty of Cambodia over Preah Vihear. Thailand refused and that was the cause of the break of diplomatic relations. • Cambodia seized the Security Council and Dag Hammarskjoeld, the UN General Secretary tried to bring a compromise. By 1959, nothing was settled and the Thai troops remained at Preah Vihear. So, in October 1959, the Cambodian Government decided to appeal to the international Court at The Hague in Holland. The verdict came out on 15th June 1962 and confirmed the temple stood on Cambodian territory. The main argument of the judges was that until the late Nineteen Fifties, the Thais had never contested the Treaty and the King of Thailand‟s brother himself had visited the site without demanding a revision of the Treaty. In other words, the international judges decided the Thais had waited too long to object.
  • 36. Can we say that by 1966-67 Sihanouk has guaranteed peace in his country ? • In 1964, Cambodia offered Thailand to sign a pact on non-aggression. No reply came. In April 1966, Thai troops attacked the temple again, but they were pushed back. The situation remained tense throughout the Sixties, all the more so since the Khmer Serey of Son Ngoc Thanh, along with bandits and smugglers, maintained a state of instability along the border. • 1967 would mark a change Cambodia‟s diplomacy as a consequence of the Cultural Revolution in China, with an attempt of rapprochement with the West on the part of Sihanouk starting with the official visit of Jacqueline Kennedy.