The Cambodian Prime Minister, Cheng Heng, addressed the Washington National Press Club yesterday (Wednesday October 21) and defended his country's ability to oppose pro-Sihanouk forces in the coming dry season.
SCU ZOOM INTO..Prime Minister Cheng Heng addressing
SV Delegates listening
SV Interpreter speaks
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: "I am aware of the fact that a number of reporters believe that in the coming dry season the communists will start another offensive to try to overthrow our government. But I would like to tell you that this objective of the communists has been known all along since the beginning of the hostilities. They want to overthrow our Government long before this -- if they could they would have done this long ago and not wait until the next dry season. But the fact is that they have not succeeded in this plan. We have built our Army, acquired some experience and we have inflicted upon them a number of reverses. As for their casualties, we can quote you these figures: at the beginning they were about seventy thousand and now they are only -- according to our intelligence -- forty-thousand; while our troops have grown to a figure of one hundred and forty thousand. All we need is arms and weapons. As for the communists, I must record that a total destruction of the sanctuaries: they lack medicine, they lack facilities, they lack transportation from the sea-port of Komphong Som to the sanctuaries. As I said before, the only line of supply now, is through the Ho Chi Minh trail. Again I repeat, if the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong could overthrow our Government, they would have done that long ago. But now we are reorganising our forces and we can fight them effectively. As for the question of recruiting in the country-side, I suggest to you that it is all propaganda. As I said in my speech, they may have forced some portion of the people in the countryside to join their ranks, but they join their ranks only unwillingly."
Initials PAF/AW/ES.??? PAF/AW/ES.1732
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Background: The Cambodian Prime Minister, Cheng Heng, addressed the Washington National Press Club yesterday (Wednesday October 21) and defended his country's ability to oppose pro-Sihanouk forces in the coming dry season. The Army, he said, was ill-equipped and inexperienced six months ago, but has made considerable progress since then, although they still needed better equipment.
The Pro-Sihanouk forces, aided by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, would have overthrown his government by now, said the Prime Minister, if they had the ability to do so.
After his address, Prime Minister Cheng was asked what military developments did he expect in the coming dry season and how seriously did he regard the success of Viet Cong recruiting.... through an interpreter Prime Minister Cheng answered: