Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.
Heightened tensions, marked by physical clashes, featured the relations of Cambodia with Thailand and South Vietnam. As 1962 opened Head of State Prince Norodom Sihanouk denounced "our Thai and South Vietnamese enemies," and in later months Cambodia showed no desire to take the initiative in resolving the disputes or in renewing diplomatic relations with Thailand which had been broken off by Cambodia in October 1961.
Politics and Government.
On January 16 Prince Sihanouk stated that a Communist plot to overthrow the regime had been discovered and thwarted. He said, "With the documents which have been seized I could abolish the Communist Party, but I won't do it." The investigation of the plot went forward, and in May fourteen of the convicted plotters were sentenced to death. There appeared to be the usual ambivalence in the attitude of the government towards Communism: on the one hand, a policy of severe measures against local Communists, and, on the other, a policy of warm relations with the Communist nations.
On May 29 Prince Sihanouk told those in attendance at the opening session of the National Assembly that Cambodia would be strictly neutral in all conflicts between the East-West blocs. Local elections, limited to candidates supporting the policies of the government, were held in June, and on July 29, after the results were in, Prince Sihanouk and the members of the cabinet performed the routine gesture of resigning from their posts. On August 2 a new government was formed with Prince Sihanouk again head of state.
On March 28 Chester W. Bowles, special representative of President Kennedy on Asian, African and Latin American affairs, arrived at Phnom Penh for meetings at which views on Cambodian-American relations were exchanged. After Bowles' departure the Cambodian government denied a report emanating from Washington that cement supplied to Cambodia in the U.S. aid program had been diverted to a hospital built with Soviet funds.
On April 23 South Vietnamese officials charged that a few days earlier a band of Cambodian soldiers had destroyed a village in a raid across the border, killing 54 people and wounding others. The officials repeated earlier charges that Communist guerrillas found sanctuary in Cambodia and were permitted to maintain bases for operations into South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese press urged that relations be broken off with Cambodia unless the government of that country made reparation for the raid. The Cambodian minister of information declared that his government would not take the initiative in breaking off relations with South Vietnam.
On July 4 Cambodia charged that Thai vessels had violated its territorial waters. Then, on August 14 Thailand announced that armed clashes had broken out on the border with Cambodia and charged Cambodia with aggression. However, on August 18 Prince Sihanouk stated that Thai troops had moved into Cambodian territory a week earlier. He asked the United States to support his request for a 14-nation conference to work out ways to protect the neutrality of Cambodia, and he suggested that the conference consist of the same nations which had met earlier to consider the situation in Laos. A few days later Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev gave his backing to the proposed conference, and shortly thereafter Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai endorsed the proposal. At the end of August it was reported that the United States and its allies were unresponsive to the idea, allegedly because they felt that the decisions reached by the conference concerned with Laos had not been put into effect by all the parties concerned.
In September U Thant, Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated that he had been in touch with representatives of Thailand and Cambodia and was searching for a personal representative acceptable to both governments whose mission would be to attempt to ease the friction between the two countries.
During the first week in January the international Mekong Coordination Committee met at Phnom Penh to discuss plans for developing the irrigation and power facilities of the Mekong River. The river, one of the world's longest, flows through North Vietnam, along the border of Thailand, through Cambodia, and then through South Vietnam. Friction among the nations involved continued to endanger the project.
Area and Population.
Area, 66,800 sq. mi. Pop. (est. 1961), 5,000,000; Phnom Penh (cap.), 500,000.
Limited constitutional monarchy with a Parliament composed of the Council of the Kingdom and the National Assembly. Prince Norodom Sihanouk is Head of State (since 1960) and Prime Minister (since 1961).
Monetary unit: riel = U.S. $0.02857. 1962 budget (in riels): revenue, 5.3 billion; expenditure, 4.4 billion. Chief sources of revenue: customs receipts, government lotteries and monopolies, taxes on incomes, property, and businesses. Chief items of expenditure: administration, defense, education, public health, public works.
Agriculture and Industry.
Production (1960-1961): rice, 1.544 million metric tons; maize, 107,750 metric tons; palm sugar, 56,405 tons; rubber, 36,755 metric tons; and timber, 414,705 cubic meters. Little industrial production.
(1960) (in riels) Exports, 2,441 million; imports, 2,974 million. Principal exports: rice, rubber, corn, cattle, and timber. Principal imports: machinery and metal products, textiles, foodstuffs, petroleum products, cement, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Major trading partners: U.S., Germany, China, South Vietnam, France, Japan, Malaya, and Hong Kong.
(1960) 3,616 primary schools with 533,892 pupils; 48 secondary, technical, normal, and higher schools with 24,357 students.
Army, 28,000 men; Air Force, 1,000; Navy, 1,120; Marine Corps, 120.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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