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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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“Numerous Reports of Plots” (1958)

“Numerous Reports of Plots” (1958)

(p.147) 7 “Numerous Reports of Plots” (1958)
Eisenhower and Cambodia

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

US unwillingness to mediate a border dispute between Cambodia and South Vietnam in 1958—the so-called Stung Treng incident—further aggravated relations with Sihanouk, who retaliated by establishing diplomatic relations with the PRC. Ambassador Strom and his counterpart in Saigon, Elbridge Durbrow, differed sharply in assigning responsibility for the bitter relations between Sihanouk and Ngo Dinh Diem, the anticommunist president of South Vietnam. Strom, increasingly out of step with US officials in Washington, blamed Diem for creating problems with Cambodia and urged the State Department to insist that he negotiate with Sihanouk in good faith. Durbrow, however, thought that Sihanouk was a duplicitous opportunist and that any fixation on the problems Diem created for him indicated a skewed outlook. Sihanouk’s visit to Washington in the fall of 1958 did little to increase understanding between Cambodia and the United States. Although US officials repeatedly said that they respected Cambodian neutrality, they bristled at the moral equivalence implied by Sihanouk’s foreign policy.

Keywords:   Stung Treng incident, Ngo Dinh Diem, Elbridge Durbrow, neutralism, Sihanouk’s visit to the United States in 1958

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