April16, 1970 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- S~NATE
THE SITUATION IN CAMBODIA
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President; on
yesterday, the press carried reporta of
an urg.:nt request tor mi11tary aid from
the government which is now In control
in the Cambodian capital of Phnom
Penh. This request comes hardly a.s a
surprise. What is surprising is the rapidIty
with which It follows the military
coup against Prince Sihanouk.
In the circumstances, It would be desirable
to sort out what we know about
the Cambodian situation and what we do
not know. What was for a decade and
a hal! the only oasis of peace In Indochina
has been turned Into a bloody
battlefield In the space of 1 month.
The spreading conflict already Involves
a civil war between the Cambodians who
remain loyal to Prince Slhanouk and
thooe who follow the military government
which overthrew him. The confilct
already Involves deep incursions Into
Cambodia by North VIetnamese and
South VIetnamese, an extension of the
battlefields which had been previously
avoided throughout the Vietnamese war.
The confiict already Involves the potential
of an ugly genocide by governmentstimulated
mob action against the several
hundred thousand Vietnamese civUians-
tor the most part farmers, fishermen,
and tradesmen who come from
both North and South VIetnam and who
nave lived for decades In reasonable
peace In Cambodia.
In short, the Pandora's box which was
held shut by the leadership and diplomacy
of Prince Sihanouk is now wide
open. For years, Cambodia was In the eye
of the Indochinese hurricane; now tt is
swept up In the full fury of a racial,
Ideological, and militarist storm.
It is scarcely a month since the successor
government clal.r:led authority over
Cambodia and this government Is already
In deep trouble. Its urgent appeal
for aid Is a broadside which has gone to
Communist governments and non-Communist
anybody who wm give support. It comes
from a government whose earliest acts
Include a declaration of martial law and
a suspension of personal liberties In a
country which did not have m:utial law
and which previously had provided a
greater d~gree of personal freedom than
most countries In SoutheP.st Asia.
While the appeal for aid is directed to
the world In general, It is reasonable to
assume that it Is aimed primarily at this
country. Where else would urgent aid of
any consequence come from In this situation
If not from this Nation directly or
through nations In the area which are
supplied by us?
Some may find It dlmcult to resist an
appeal for aid to this country from any
source. Some may find the present military
government more to their liking
than Its predecessor and, hence, more
"worthy" of ald. Some may ask whether
this Southeast Asian country wlll topple
under the domino theory if we do not
respond to the appeal for ald. Some may
note that it is just some arms-aid that
is being sought, not American forces.
If these observations sound familiar, It
is because they are the siren's songs
which have beckoned us time and again
even deeper Into the morass of Southeast
Asia. If there is ever a time to restst
them It Is when they are just beginning
to become audible.
The fact is that we do not know anything
of the character or competence
of the government In Phnom Penh which
has issued this appeal for aid. We do not
know how far Its authority extends outside
the capital or beyond the main
roads. We do not know what acceptability
It may have among the Cambodian
people. We do not know what will
emerge in the end In the way of a Cambodian
government from the present upheaval.
We do know, or ought to know, on the
basis of experience that even with a massive
Infusion of American equipment we
are likely tO havtl minimal constructive
effect on that upheaval and we wUl open
the door to another destructive impact
on our own national Interests. We do
know, too, or we should know at this
late date-after Vietnam, after La.osthat
each deepening of our Involvement
in Indochina began with an input of
President Nixon has made a wise start
in pointing the national course away
from our participation In the tragic war
In Indochina. It Is to be hoped that there
wlll be no deviation from that course.
The way to get out is not to go further
In-In any way, shape, or form. The road
out of Vietnam for this nation does not
lead by way of arms-supply or any other
Involvement In this new extension of the
Indochinese tragedy Into cambodia.
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 46 , Folder 6, Mansfield Library, University of Montana.
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