Cambodian Envoy Assures West, Says Country Retains Neutrality

The Cambodian government's request for termination of U.S. foreign aid in no way "represents a rush to Nong Kimny, Cambodian ambassador to the United States, said in an interview last night. Instead, Kimny said, the sudden move by Prince Norodom Sihanouk reflected doubts about the role of "certain U.S. agencies" in Cambodia and its neighbor South Vietnam.

The doors to future acceptance of U.S. aid are "definitely not closed," Kimny said. "Cambodia will accept aid as long as no strings are attached." He claimed that U.S. aid "was a limitation on our neutrality because of the conditions under which it was administered."

The Cambodian government particularly objected to the specification that if it accepted American military aid it could not receive aid from any socialist country. In addition, Kimny say, the procedure of administering economic aid was "not the best in the good it did for our country."

Concerned About Vietnam

It also appears that Cambodia is very concerned about its relations with the now South Vietnamese government. According to Jerrold Schector, Nieman Fellow and a Time correspondent in South for three years, the undefined border between Cambodia and Vietnam has caused several incidents in the past.

In a message to the Vietnamese generals two days after their coup, the Cambodian government listed five conditions for the continuation of normal diplomatic relations. Among them were the demands that the new government make no claims on Cambodian territory and that it give no more aid to Cambodian robels "who broadcast from South Vietnam."

If the vietnamese pledged to respect Cambodian borders, Schecter said, the Cambodians would interpret this as a sign of American good faith. Reports have linked Americans to many of the incidents around the Cambodian border.


"You must also interpret Prince Sihanouk's speech in terms of Cambodian history," Schecter added. In the past, he said, the Vietnamese have been traditional enemies of the Cambodians: Sihanouk "doesn't want North Vietnam to dominate the Indo-Chinese peninsula." In fact, Schecter said, Cambodia's relations with China were always more comfortable than its contacts with its eastern neighbors.

Schecter did not feel that the Cambodian stance was permanent. "Prince Sihanouk is the kind of man who can be appealed to," he said. "This appears to be a tactical bargaining situation, and is not irrevocable."

He wondered, however, how Cambodia would replace the economic aid it has recoived from the United States. The American commodity imports program has supplied the bulk of Cambodian petroleum needs, for instances