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Khmer Rouge Lose Diplomatic Archive

Khmer Rouge Lose Diplomatic Archive

Diplomatic and military documents collected by U.N. situation investigation teams

in Ko Krabas and Phum Chat after the Aug. 18 offensive were turned over in the last

several weeks to the interim government without being analyzed by U.N. observers,

U.N. military spokesman John Weiland said this week.

"These documents would have been fascinating for historians," said John

Brown, an American academic writing his dissertion on the Cambodian conflict. "They

show the thinking of the DK and the manouevering between the parties within the coalition

government before the peace agreement."

At Phum Chat, a small wooden house within the town's administrative area contained

correspondence between the leaders of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea,

annotated press clippings from regional newspapers, memos of meetings from Sihanouk

to Khieu Samphan, and battlefield reports. Arranged in chronological order, the library

seems to have contained the DK diplomatic records covering a period from the early

eighties until the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement. Many documents had been

carried away by the fleeing DK, and CAF soldiers reported papers lying along the

roadside leading into Thailand.

The CAF had also ransacked the library searching for useful military information,

but they felt the historical documents held little value. "We took a truckload

of documents away from Phum Chat," said a ex-KPNLF soldier in Thmar Pouk, "but

the English and the French weren't any use to us so we tossed them out."

U.N. observers went in several days after the Aug. 18 attack and sifted through piles

of press clippings and the occasional Thai clothing catalogue.

Among the documents found by the U.N. team were a signed and stamped blank SOC passport,

several roles of film showing meetings with westerners in Phum Chat, one piece of

correspondence from a Swiss bank and a document entitled "What To Do When You

Capture an UNTAC Person."

In Thmar Pouk, CAF soldiers retained one box of papers. While many documents captured

at Phum Chat had been destroyed, a handwritten message on a torn notebook page from

Prince Sihanouk to Khieu Samphan requested that Khieu Samphan attend a 1987 conference

in Indonesia. A draft contract, signed by a Japanese real estate company but not

countersigned by Prince Sihanouk, Son Sann or Khieu Sampahn, outlined the sale of

the coalition embassy in Tokyo for U.S. $96,000,000. Battlefield reports on onionskin

paper concerning casualties sustained in the west and northwest of the country were

filed in date order, and a four-page FUNCINPEC memo to the DK reiterated the need

to change the name of the country from "Kampuchea" to "Cambodia"

in order to "erase the bitter memories of 1975-1979."

Again and again throughout the memos, letters and reports the DK were intransigent

in their positions on many issues, even down to what choices should be made for the

national anthem and flag. In document after document, the vehement hatred of the

Vietnamese spilled from paragraph to paragraph in internal memos, press releases

and correspondence with foreign statesmen.

Before the U.N. observers arrived CAF forces at Ko Krabas had rummaged piles of papers

written in Khmer, English and Thai. "I only took documents listing numbers of

men and the type of weapons they had," said Sao Sai, a 34 year old Lt Colonel

formerly in the ANKI army. "The Thai and English didn't interest me," he

said.

One Khmer language document was a handbook instructing how to choose and promote

officers. Printed in 1992, the pamphlet predicted the KR would win Cambodia after

taking Kompong Thom through a tactical battle, the countryside by stealth, and Phnom

Penh by negotition.

"If we are right and we are strong we will win," the text continued. "If

we are strong, even if we are not right, we will still win."

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