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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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“Stupid Moves” (1959–1960)

“Stupid Moves” (1959–1960)

(p.191) 9 “Stupid Moves” (1959–1960)
Eisenhower and Cambodia

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

US officials feared that Sihanouk would respond to the coup attempt in 1959 by appealing to China for military assistance. Instead, he asked President Eisenhower to stop Thailand and South Vietnam from interfering in Cambodia’s internal affairs. The US government, however, was unwilling to take meaningful action on behalf of the rash and mercurial Sihanouk against two staunch anticommunist allies. US officials were also unwilling to discuss CIA operative Victor Matsui’s contacts with Dap Chhuon. Such an admission would, at the very least, confirm that the United States had been silent about Thai and South Vietnamese intentions and about American awareness of the plotting. The appointment of a new US ambassador to Cambodia, William C. Trimble, did little to improve matters. Sihanouk’s grievances included a bombing at the royal palace and an alleged letter by Sam Sary implicating the United States in plotting against Sihanouk, published by the anti-American Indian tabloid Blitz.

Keywords:   William C. Trimble, Cambodian–South Vietnamese relations, Cambodian–Thai relations, Blitz affair

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