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Eisenhower and CambodiaDiplomacy, Covert Action, and the Origins of the Second Indochina War$
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William J. Rust

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167428

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167428.001.0001

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“A Shrewd Move” (1953–1954)

“A Shrewd Move” (1953–1954)

(p.17) 1 “A Shrewd Move” (1953–1954)
Eisenhower and Cambodia

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

The many years of suspicion and in some cases certainty that the king of Cambodia was a French puppet ended in 1953, when Sihanouk embarked on a “crusade” for complete Cambodian independence. After unsuccessful appeals to French and US officials for greater Cambodian autonomy, Sihanouk employed an array of unconventional negotiating tactics that became a hallmark of his statecraft—for example, dispensing with confidential diplomacy and making his case in the international press. Near the end of the First Indochina War, France granted autonomy to Cambodia in economic, judicial, and military affairs. Despite Sihanouk’s opposition to communism within Cambodia, US officials were disturbed by his neutral stance toward international communism and the French fight in neighboring Vietnam.

Keywords:   Sihanouk’s crusade for independence, French–Cambodian relations, First Indochina War

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