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 quickened pace of events in South Vietnam strongly affected Cambodia's international policy. After a period of extremely strained relations with the United States, Cambodia broke off diplomatic ties in May and increased its already active policy of criticizing the U.S. position on Vietnam. This policy was conceived and directed by the Cambodian leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who has dominated his country's politics both as king and prime minister and now leads it as chief of state. He is president of the People's Socialist Community, the mass organization holding all seats in the parliament, and has the support of most Cambodians.
The serious international situation in Southeast Asia during 1965 played a part in keeping Cambodia's internal political developments to a minimum. A new Cambodian cabinet instituted in the last weeks of 1964, as a riposte to anonymous criticism from the left, continued to hold office through the year with only minor technical changes. The Cambodian throne remained vacant following a decision in late 1964 that the time was still not appropriate to fill it and that the nation's leadership should rest with Sihanouk alone. Cambodia's internal tranquillity presented a stark contrast to much of the Southeast Asian region. Neither the extreme left nor the extreme right has been allowed a place in internal Cambodian politics. The Cambodian Communist Party has remained of negligible size and has been closely watched by Sihanouk. On the right, a small rebel group— the Khmer Serei, or Free Khmers—continued to be an irritant along Cambodia's border with Thailand. Cambodia contended that this group was assisted by the Thai government, which, as a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), has been linked with the United States, the chief object of Cambodian criticism.
The preservation of Cambodia's political and territorial integrity continued as the basis of all Cambodian foreign policy decisions. Shocked by the effects of the ideological confrontation in South Vietnam, Sihanouk has tried to achieve an effective international guarantee of Cambodia's position. In pursuit of this policy he has maintained a close international friendship with Communist China and has developed firmer links with the North Vietnamese government and the leadership of the South Vietnamese Liberation Front. Sihanouk's desire to see a regional solution to the turmoil in Southeast Asia led him to convene the Indochinese people's conference in March. Attended by leftist and Communist groups from Laos and North Vietnam, the conference called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam and for a permanent secretariat of the Indochinese people to discuss matters of common interest to countries in the region.
Cambodia's tenuous relations with the United States were finally broken on May 3. Sihanouk had warned earlier that further border incidents involving South Vietnamese troops, for which he held the United States responsible, would be followed by such a rupture. Feeling against the United States had risen, in April, after the publication in a U.S. magazine of remarks critical of Sihanouk's mother, Queen Kossamak. The bombing by South Vietnamese aircraft of a village inside the Cambodian border, which resulted in death and injury to a number of Cambodians, was the final signal for the break. Since this time, there have been fewer incidents along the border with Vietnam, although border incidents with Thailand continue to be a source of friction.
Opposition to U.S. policies led Cambodia to advocate a peaceful boycott of the United States by all Afro-Asian nations. The government also argued that in view of American domestic and foreign policies the site of the United Nations should be moved from New York to a more neutral location, such as Geneva. While retaining its membership in the United Nations, Cambodia has stated that it is disillusioned as to the capacities of the world organization to deal effectively with world problems and has withdrawn from all UN specialized organizations.
Prince Sihanouk maintained his policy of traveling widely to reinforce his links with those countries supporting his international position. He visited Indonesia in April to participate in celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of the Bandung Conference and made a lengthy visit to Communist China in September and October. A visit to the Soviet Union set for November was unexpectedly canceled by the Soviet government in mid-October, to Sihanouk's considerable annoyance. This cancellation led to Sihanouk's publicly stated assessment that among the great powers only France and China could be regarded as Cambodia's true friends. Through the year Sihanouk acted as host to a number of international visitors to Cambodia, including President Sukarno of Indonesia, President Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines, and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.
After achieving a favorable balance of trade in 1964 by drastically restricting unessential imports, the Cambodian economy continued to show its basic strength in 1965. Although it has nationalized some industries, the government has warned that these must demonstrate their efficiency or risk a return to private ownership. The country's prosperous agricultural base benefited from a good rice crop in 1964 that provided a considerable surplus for export in 1965. Rubber production continued at a high level. The loss sustained by Sihanouk's 1963 decision to cancel U.S. economic aid continued to have some effect on Cambodia's capacity to import capital equipment, but the mass of the population was unaffected. French, Chinese, and Russian economic aid has partly filled the gap and has contributed to Cambodia's limited industrial program, whose purpose is to develop industries that will limit Cambodia's reliance on foreign countries to process its products.
Area and Population.
Area, 66,800 sq. mi. Pop. (est. 1963), 5,800,000; 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; 1 riel = U.S.$0.03. Budget (1963): revenue, 3.8 billion riels; expenditure, 5.6 billion riels. Chief sources of revenue: foreign trade, government lotteries and monopolies, taxes on income, property, and businesses. Chief items of expenditure: administration, defense, education, public health.
Agriculture and Industry.
Production: rice (1962-1963), 1.6 million tons; rubber (1963), 40,697 tons; some cotton, maize, palm sugar, and timber. Limited industrial production.
Value of exports, $86,171,414; value of imports, $107,174,285. Principal exports: rice, rubber, corn, cattle, timber. Principal imports: textiles, machinery, transport equipment, base metals, food. Major trading partners: France, Malaysia, Japan, United States, Hong Kong, and Communist China.
State primary schools, 3,718; enrollment, 688,835. State secondary schools, 87; enrollment, 56,953. Private primary and secondary school enrollment, 66,692.
Army, 27,300; air force, 1,000; navy, 12,000.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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