The events of March 18, 1970, actually began in 1959 with an attempted coup by General Dap Chhuon Mchulpich, military commander of the Siem Riep area.
Supported by the US military and its puppets in South Vietnam and Thailand, this plot could have resulted in Cambodia ceasing to exist. The plan was to divide the nation between its neighbours, with the total area under de facto US control.
King Norodom Sihanouk’s film, Shadow Over Angkor, dramatises these events, which are detailed in his book My War With the CIA. A DVD of this film and a book are available in Phnom Penh.
Plots to remove King Sihanouk, due to his neutrality, began in the 50s. Neutrality was “unacceptable” to Cold War warriors like Allen and John Dulles, who constantly pressured Sihanouk to accept American aid and thus domination.
The 1959 coup was thwarted, and General Dap Chhoun arrested. King Sihanouk instructed Lon Nol to bring the general to Phnom Penh for questioning.
Lon Nol’s reaction was to have Dap Chhuon shot so as not to reveal Lon Nol’s involvement with the plot.
It took another 11 years before another coup was successful and Sihanouk was removed.
Perhaps if Lon Nol had been shot with Dap Chhuon, Cambodia may never have endured the horror inflicted on it by US aggression. In 1959 the Khmer Rouge were nothing, Cambodia was at peace, and its people lived in harmony.
In the 1971 Paris Peace Accords, Nixon agreed to pay Vietnam reparations of US$3.25 billion. Of course the US government never paid this money, which would be worth nearly $20 billion if paid today.
If Cambodia was to take action for damages, it could consider a figure of $10 billion to $15 billion as fair compensation for illegal US activities from the 1950s onwards.
The US has the gall to claim the Lon Nol era debt must be repaid.
Perhaps Cambodia can deduct this amount from its damages claim, which should be made soon while the US remains an existing nation.
Send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.