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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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“Definite Political Problems” (1960–1961)

“Definite Political Problems” (1960–1961)

(p.241) 11 “Definite Political Problems” (1960–1961)
Eisenhower and Cambodia

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

In the fall of 1960, the US national security bureaucracy tried to develop a military aid program for Cambodia that would be sufficiently large to forestall a request by Sihanouk for similar assistance from communist nations. The leader of the Cambodian mission to Washington was Lon Nol, the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces and its minister of defense. He was disappointed by the small increase in US military aid but seemed pleased by the VIP treatment he received. With the civil war in Laos intensifying, Sihanouk appealed to the international community to guarantee the neutralization of Laos and Cambodia. He proposed an international conference that became the basis for the fourteen-nation Geneva conference on Laos (May 1961–July 1962). The Eisenhower administration, seeking to strengthen the military position of the Lao anticommunists and contemplating SEATO or unilateral American intervention, opposed Sihanouk’s proposal.

Keywords:   Lon Nol, US military aid to Cambodia, Geneva conference on Laos

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