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Western Officials: Cambodia Granting Haven to Viet Cong

May 19, 1964 - An arrangement has developed whereby Cambodian border guard units grant aid and haven to Viet Cong insurgents (pictured), according to Western intelligence officials.

Under the arrangement, the Cambodians sell food and supplies to the insurgents, grant them security in moving into and away from combat inside South Vietnam, and supply intelligence about South Vietnamese troop strength and activity in the border area.

In return, the Viet Cong are reported to have agreed to dispose of their individual weapons before approaching Cambodian settlements, except in actual combat, and to conduct themselves with such discretion that authorities can disclaim knowledge of their activity.

The U.S. and South Vietnamese Governments have been aware of this arrangement for some time but chose not to make an issue of it as they tried to reach an accord with Cambodia’s head of state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk.

Prince Sihanouk denies any collusion between Cambodia and the Viet Cong.

Some Western officials consider the Cambodian frontier arrangement a more immediate danger to the South Vietnamese and U.S. war effort than the supply lines, called the Ho Chi Minh Trail, entering South Vietnam through Laos.

At its nearest point — the tip of the so-called Duck’s Beak, where the most effective cooperation has been traced — the Cambodian border is less than 40 miles from Saigon.

In related news, the House Foreign Affairs Committee cleared the way today for prompt approval of President Johnson’s request for an additional $125 million in military and economic aid for South Vietnam.

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