The Second Prime Minister sent this letter to King Sihanouk in Beijing in
response to the monarch's comments on taking power.
Preah Norodom Sihanouk Varman King of Cambodia.
First of all, please allow my wife and myself to extend
to Your Majesty and to Samdech Preah Mohesey all our best wishes of good health
and longevity, especially on the occasion of the 58th Birthday Anniversary of
Samdech Preah Mohesey.
May I beg Your Majesty's forgiveness for any
possible inappropriate expressions that might occur in my letter and the
inconveniences it created to Your Majesty while You are on your medical
I was forced by the current situation to write this letter
which is intended on the one hand to make clarifications on a number of issues,
and on the other hand to solicit Your Majesty's advice on some issues that I
have to address, namely the solution to be brought to the Khmer Rouge problem
and the issue of conferring the State Power to Your Majesty.
the solution to the Khmer Rouge problem, so far some allegations have been made
that my humble person as well as Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh,
especially my humble self, were the obstacles to any accommodation with the
Khmer Rouge, meaning that Hun Sen is the hard-liner opposed to any accommodation
with the Khmer Rouge.
In this regard, I could not really understand,
because I have done nothing but confirming myself to the Constitution which
resulted from the elections. Concerning the Khmer Rouge problem, it is well
known that the Khmer Rouge are opposed to the Paris Agreements, to the
elections, to the Constitution, and to the elected Royal Government.
they oppose Your Majesty's initiative of national reconciliation starting with
the cease-fire. They even dare to demand that (a new Government be formed which
is tantamount to the dissolution of the legitimate institutions resulting from
the Elections and to nullifying all the efforts jointly exerted by the whole
Cambodian people and the International Community in implementing the Paris
Agreements.)They are continuing this warfare, the assassination of innocent
people, committing untold tragedies to the Nation and to the people and yet the
Khmer Rouge could get away with it and everything was blamed on Ranariddh - Hun
Sen who are only exercising their legal obligations of protecting the
Some people said that the Royal Government refused to accommodate
because it preferred the military option to destroy the Khmer Rouge. In this
regard, allow me to say, Your Majesty, that for the moment, the Royal Government
has no choice. The two rounds of Rounds Table failed because of the Khmer Rouge.
May I also inform Your Majesty that my humble person, Hun Sen, now is a little
bit different from Hun Sen prior to the Paris Agreements and from post-election
Hun Sen: then I had two important options either to continue to fight or to seek
a solution by ways of the Paris Agreements, either not to accept the election
results and to rekindle the flame of war or to accept the election results to
avoid warfare and to create conditions for national reconciliation. But for the
moment, the Khmer Rouge do not leave Samdech Krom Preah and myself with any
option since the Khmer Rouge have decided to opt for warfare against the nation
and the population. There are indeed two other options that (I certainly could
not go along:)
1. To accept the Khmer Rouge demands of dissolving
the National Assembly, the elected Royal Government and to (form a new
government with the Khmer Rouge in it.) (Proceeding this way is equivalent to a
cool coup d'Etat) since even the Constitution will have to be scrapped or
suspended. I have no mandate to go that far, but this is the prerogative of the
National Assembly. But in my capacity as an MP, I will certainly vote against
such a proposal because it (constitutes an outrageous concession tantamount to a
legal coup d'Etat to dissolve the Constitution, to dismantle the national
Assembly and the Royal Government elected by the people.) It is also a big blow
to the achievement of the UN operation in Cambodia just for the sake of
exchanging it with the participation of the genocidal group.
2. For the sake of avoiding combat initiated by the Khmer Rouge's
offensive, the Royal Government was forced to withdraw from the areas where the
Khmer Rouge aim to occupy. Doing so would allow the Khmer Rouge to expand their
control over the territory and the population, and it will not be long before
the Khmer Rouge would control the whole of Cambodia. For me, the above two
options are impossible. But I don't know whether there are any personalities who
can accept the above two mandates. If there are, they should come out to take my
position and carry out these tasks, which is better than to go about fomenting
There were times when I did not want
to hear allegations that Hun Sen was the obstacle to accommodation with the
Khmer Rouge, I picked up my pen and wrote my resignation, so as to make way for
the Khmer Rouge easy return. But this act of mine would have resulted in the
disappointment among the population and would provide a good opportunity for
Khmer Rouge genocidal group, pro-Khmer Rouge group, Khmer Rouge sympathizers and
those who use the Khmer Rouge as counter-weight to achieve their objectives, to
be satisfied as they no longer need to destroy the achievement of the Paris
Agreements to come to power illegally.
After having enough said of the
Khmer Rouge problem, may I now turn to the issue of conferring the State Power
to Your Majesty.
On this issue, I prefer not to make any judgment because
I have received two different sets of information. The first one directly from
Your Majesty on the morning of May 18, 1994 when Samdech Chea Sim and myself
accompanied Your Majesty and Samdech Preah Mohesey from the Royal Palace to
Pochentong Airport. Your Majesty mentioned that there are people who accuse me
of wanting to take power. But I am too old, what do I want the power for? And
the Constitution provides that the King reigns but does not govern. Successive
information received also proved that Your Majesty denied the allegations that
Your Majesty wanted to resume power.
Another set of information was that
Your Majesty needs to take direct state power, there was even an attempt to
foment a manifestation in support of the request to confer the power to Your
Majesty. As the first hand information and the relayed one were so different
that I did not pay much attention. But on the evening of June 17, 1994, I was
deeply shaken by the article published in the Far Eastern Economic Review of
June 23, 1994 entitled "Cambodia - Last act" written by Nate Thayer supposedly
and interview with Your Majesty. According to this article, I have become
another obstacle on the way of conferring the power to Your Majesty. I do not
know whether those were words of Your Majesty or whether the author creates the
With regard to this issue, whether Your Majesty did say so
or whether the reporter did write so, may I be allowed to submit to Your Majesty
as follow my thought and my feelings.
Whatever the turn of the political
situation and more than half of life, I have always been following Your Majesty.
My decision to go into the maquis on April 14, 1970 would not have been made
then if was not for Your Majesty because then I had many options to choose from:
to be a student, to be a farmer, to be a worker or to be a businessman etc...
Through various situations, whether I hold the position of a Minister, Deputy
Prime Minister or Prime Minister, I always believe that the best way to put an
end to the war was a political solution which would give an opportunity for Your
Majesty to return and to lead the country. I have made it to become a reality.
Your majesty and Samdech Preah Mohesey as well as the Royal Family and the
non-communist resistant forces certainly have not yet been informed of all the
hardships I have gone through in the search for a political solution in
Cambodia. I had to face untold dangers so as to achieve this enormous and
historical task. The influence of leaders of some countries exerted upon me to
seek a red resolution which would have denied the roles to be played by Your
Majesty and the non-communist resistant forces and which I did not accept was
another kind of danger which I would not reveal their names right now but would
mention in the book to be published later on. This brief mention of history does
not mean that I want to take credit for it but just to show Your Majesty of what
I have done for the nation and in following Your Majesty. On June 13, 1994,
Sdech Krom Khun Norodom Sirivudh came to report to me about his trip to Europe.
He also proposed for my consideration the issue of conferring the power to Your
Majesty. To Sdech Krom Khun, I expressed my view that no one has any doubt about
the King who is our Father. The National Assembly had conferred full power and
special power to Your Majesty on June 14, 1993 which Your Majesty was able to
form a Provisional Government which was not at all provided for in the Paris
Agreements and which led us to unite to produce a Constitution to be respected
by everyone. Any change or amendment to the Constitution is of the mandate of
the National Assembly. I further told Sdech Krom Khun that it is not sure that
the National Assembly would support any change of the Constitution. Moreover,
article 17 of the Constitution which mentioned that the King reigns but does not
govern prohibits any change of it. On that occasion, I also shared with Sdech
Krom Khun my worries about the rumor saying that Your Majesty wanted to take
power but Your Majesty always denied this rumor. Where is the truth? Is it a
Khmer Rouge's trick to dismantle the Royal Government and to create a new one by
exploiting Your Majesty's name?
I was very shaken
when I read the Review's articles which mentioned that "Sihanouk acknowledged
that his bid for power would be doomed without the acquiescence of Hun Sen and
the CPP. because I do not want to shed blood to fight a secession led by Hun
Sen... unless I have the assurance that Hun Sen and his party will join me in my
This paragraph is very serious vis-a-vis myself because it
implies that a war might break out not by the Khmer Rouge but by my humble
person. Now, a group of people in Phnom Penh who are unscrupulously greedy of
power are using this article to poison the atmosphere going so far as to tell
Thai businessmen not to work with the current Government because it is about to
collapse and to wait to work with the new Government. It is very funny because
the Khmer story is like a kid's game since a press article may be able to
dissolve or to form a Government. This is too simple and the Constitution seems
to be worthless. Everyone is boasting of pro liberal democracy but instead are
violating the nation's Constitution. What do they really want dictatorship or
May I take this opportunity to submit to Your Majesty that the
question of dismantling the incumbent Government and creating a new one, of
appointing anyone as Prime Minister, deputy Prime Minister, does not depend on
me but rather on the Constitution and the National Assembly. I can walk out and
let Khieu Samphan walk to replace me if it is allowed by the Constitution, if
there is a support in the National Assembly and if it is necessitated by
national interest. Therefore, there is no need to fear that I might wage a
secessionist war. What I need right now is a truth whether Your Majesty really
wanted to take power as the Prime Minister as it has been published in the
media, so that I might assess according to the real fact.
I am very worried by the length of my letter and by its
content. If I did not write and tell Your Majesty the truth and to seek the
truth, confusion would prevail. I know very well that a number of people will
accuse me of arrogance, daring to write a personal letter to His Majesty the
King. But Your Majesty is well aware that I am not a reserved person and not a
"yes-man". Your Majesty used to say that Hun Sen is like Your Majesty.
Specially, during the dinner on May 27, 1994, Your Majesty said that: "Samdech
Hun Sen is not my son but he is like me: unreserved". This is my natural
character of frankness.
I am writing this letter to request Your
Majesty's advice with regard to the above-mentioned issues. As far as the
solution to the Khmer Rouge is concerned, how can I and the Royal Government
address this problem? How to address the rumors surrounding the question of
conferring the power to Your Majesty? I am awaiting Your Majesty's noble advice
for further action.
May I take this opportunity to inform Your Majesty
that this letter has been written not because there is any difference with
Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh. I am indeed very privileged to have been
working for almost one year now with Samdech Krom Preah with full spirit of
solidarity, understanding and good cooperation which are the foundation of
stability and progress of the nation. We are determined to work hand in hand to
bring the country to prosperity.
Finally, May I once again extend to Your
majesty and to Samdech Preah Mohesey all my best wishes of happiness so that the
Cambodian people, Your Majesty's children, grand children and great grand
children may benefit from Your Majesty's protection.
Phnom Penh, June 18,
Signed, Hun Sen