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.
Politics and Government.
The political life of Cambodia continued to be dominated by the former king and present chief of state, Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The prince considers himself more a senior statesman or spokesman for all his people than a mere leader of a political party. He is the head of the single party, the People's Socialist Community, which holds every seat in the National Assembly. The opposition is slight. The only organized opposition party, the Pracheachon, is ineffective because some of its influential leaders are in jail under sentences of execution for actions against the state.
During the year Prince Sihanouk encountered minor squalls from left and right within the ranks of his own party. He faced periodic plots, allegedly Communist-inspired, against his own life, and he weathered one crisis that threatened a government turnover. He was seriously disturbed by intensified activities—radio broadcasts and secret propaganda—of the Khmer Serai, or Free Khmers, operating under the leadership of his former pro-Western political enemy Son Ngoc Than and presumably from the territory of neighboring South Vietnam. The Vietnamese accused Prince Sihanouk of facilitating guerrilla operations in South Vietnam, and in return Prince Sihanouk accused the Vietnamese of sponsoring an insurgent movement against him. After the coup d'état in Saigon on November 2 Prince Sihanouk became increasingly alarmed about what he called the combined threats of his own political enemies and outside powers, principally the United States. His increased security measures tinged his "neutralism" with a more pronounced pro-Chinese shading. He credited Communist China with being the cause of Cambodia's survival, sandwiched as it is between Thailand and South Vietnam.
Early in 1963 Prince Sihanouk paid state visits to India and Communist China. He urged both powers to accept the proposals of the Colombo powers as a basis for settling their border disputes. He also suggested that the heads of Asian states hold regular meetings to strengthen peace, to promote the cause of unity and cooperation among Asian peoples, and to give the Asian leaders opportunities to align their points of view. He urged the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, as the sponsoring powers of the Geneva conference on the affairs of Indochina in 1954, to take the lead in convening a new conference of 14 nations, which, according to the precedent set for Laos, would establish and guarantee the neutrality of Cambodia.
The president of Communist China, Liu Shao-ch'i, visited Cambodia in May and issued with Prince Sihanouk a joint statement hailing Chinese-Cambodian friendship as a perfect example of coexistence of two different social systems. China promised to support Cambodia in its fight against foreign imperialism and to respect Cambodia's territorial integrity. In August Cambodia refused to adhere to the nuclear test-ban treaty and supported China's proposal to call a conference of all heads of state to discuss the complete prohibition and destruction of all nuclear weapons.
In November the political caldron boiled furiously. Prince Sihanouk broke off diplomatic relations with South Vietnam, hurled bitter charges against the United States, renounced U.S. economic and military aid programs (amounting to more than $30 million per year), and said French and American troops must leave Cambodia. He did not indicate that he would renounce the aid from the Soviet Union, Communist China, and other Communist countries. China announced an airline agreement with Cambodia and sent advisers to take the place of the departing Americans. Peking pledged all-out aid to Cambodia should the Cambodians encounter an armed invasion instigated by the United States, Thailand, or South Vietnam.
On December 12 Cambodia ordered home from the United States its entire embassy staff, and on December 15 announced that it was taking the same action with respect to its London embassy. U.S. officials saw a possible break in diplomatic relations with Cambodia, but late in December, when the Philippine government offered its good offices in bringing about an agreement between the United States and Cambodia, both countries accepted the offer.
Economically, 1963 was not a good year in Cambodia. The rice crop was smaller than usual because of drought in some of the provinces. Prince Sihanouk asked for a three-year plan of austerity to relieve the economic pinch resulting from the cessation of U.S. aid. He announced that Cambodia would have nothing to do with communism but would move toward progressive socialism. The first steps were the nationalization of banks and import-export businesses.
Area and Population.
Area, 66,800 sq. mi. Pop. (est. 1962), 5,749,000; Phnom Penh (cap.), 500,000.
Limited constitutional monarchy with a Parliament consisting of the Council of the Kingdom and the National Assembly. Chief of State, Prince Norodom Sihanouk.
Monetary unit, riel (riel = U.S.$0.02857). Budget (1962): revenue, 5.3 billion riels; expenditure, 4.4 billion riels. Chief sources of revenue: customs receipts, government lotteries and monopolies, taxes on income, property, and businesses. Chief items of expenditure: administration, defense, education, public health, public works.
Agriculture and Industry.
Production (1961-1962): rice, 1,100,000 tons (1,544,000 tons in 1960-1961); small amounts of maize, palm sugar, rubber, timber. Little industrial production.
Value of exports, $54,000,000 ($63,000,000 in 1961); value of imports, $102,000,000 ($97,000,000 in 1961). Principal exports: rice, rubber, corn, cattle, timber. Principal imports: textiles, machinery and transport equipment, base metals, food. Major trading partners: United States, Germany, Communist China, South Vietnam, France.
Education (1960 revised figures).
Primary schools, 2,000; enrollment, 600,000. Secondary schools, 102; enrollment, 20,000. Advanced schools, 10; enrollment, about 2,000.
Army, 28,000; Air Force, 1,000; Navy, 1,000.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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