PHNOM PENH IS SERIOUSLY CHALLENGING SIHANOUK'S POWER

Created: 3/13/1970

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Phnom Penh is Seriously Challenging Sihanouk's Power

is returning toto reassert his authority in the wake of unprecedented attacks against the Vietnamese Communist embassies in Phnom Penh. Theof the North Vietnamese and Pro-visional Revolutionary Government diplomatic installations by thousands of studentseriod of growing anti-Communist sentiment and has produced the most serious crisis to date in Cambodia's relations with Hanoi and the Viet Cong.

There is no doubt that thewhich protested the presence of Vietnamese Communist troops on Cambodian territory and the forth-coming visit of North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, were government inspired. The assaults in the capital'were preceded and followed byiet Cong in several provinces, and portions of the Vietnamese community in Phnom Penh also were objects of mob actions. The attacks received the unanimous supportpecial session of both houses of thelegislature, whicheclaration asking the government to take all measures necessaryto solve the problem of Viet Cong infiltration.

The Cairbodian chief of state has curtailed his scheduled visits to Prague, Moscow, and Peking and notified the Queen that he isto Cambodia to calleferendum, asking the people and the army to choose between himself and "those personalities'1 who or-

ganized the sieges on the embassies onarch. He threatened to step down if he loses; he has used such threats in the past to quietcriticism.

Sihanouk's decision to return abruptly lear sign that he interprets these eventstrong challenge to his authority. Sihanouk and the government have been at odds for sojr* time, but the assaults on the Vietnamese represent the first overt attempt by the government to undermine his foreign policy. Sihanouk has led theof Vietnamese Cooununistin Cantoodia, he has taken some pains to avoid pressing the Communist* too far.

It is still not clear whatleaders hoped to achieve by the attacks. By playing on Cambodian animosity toward the Vietnamese, they may have wanted to confront Sihanouk on an issue on which popular opinion would be against him. They may also, have miscalculated Sihanoukeaction. Until now, the strategy has been to limit Sihanouk's power slowly and They must now decide whether to meet Sihanouk head on or give ground. Much will depend on how hard Sihanouk presses them and whether individuals like Deputy PriM Minister Ma tax, who has led the anti-Sihanouk forces, calculate that they can count on firm anduj port from thoae EOlCOji&JrWltfTTAL)

SECRET

Pagfl 7 WEEKLY SUMMARY ar

a-D

SEC&tfT

Bangkok Stiffens Efforts Against Malaysian Communists

security forces,underewly re-organized security command in the south, arere pressure along the Malaysian border against the Communist Terrorist(CTO). The Thai Government, responding to rising domestic criticism of increased banditry and Cox&unist terrorist activity in the southern provinces, late last year ordered its civilian-military Communist Suppression Operations Directorate (CSOD) to take over securityties in the south. CSOD's newly appointed regional commander, who set up his headquarters in January, has indicated that he intends to step up operations against the CTO along the border as well as against Thai radual increase in minor contacts with CTO elements attests to greater Thai efforts.

In early March, Thaiforces in the border region may have ended their pastof avoiding contact with the well-ensconced CTO units when theyajor CTO base camp. It was their largestto date with the Malaysian Conurunists. Although discovery of the camp--believed to have been the headquarters of the CTO 8th "regimentw--was mostlyThai commanders were quick to commit substantial to the fray, whichozen casualties on each side. Although poor Thai tactics allowedefending guerrillas torecedent

for future actions nay have been set.

As part of its pressure on the CTO, Bangkok has responded to Malaysia's long-standing effort to expand the limited border agree-joent that has governed jointsecurity operations between the two countries sincehe two governments announced last week the signingew agreement that for the first tine allows Malaysian military forces to cross the border in 'hotof guerrillas and tofive mxles inside Thailandhour period. Kualatook immediate advantage of this concession byizable sweep operation into Thai territory. The agreement also providesew bilateral headquarters to facilitate joint security operations.

In spite of their increased aggressiveness, it remains to be seen if Thai security forces willerious ailitary challeng to thean CTO military organization, Bangkok has yet toredible effort to counter the CTO*spolitical infrastructure among the predominantly Muslim and Chinese border population. Although Malaysian leaders have not forgotten Bangkok's lethargy in dealing with the CTO and are less than fully satisfied with the terms of the new border agreement, they are hopeful that the recentign of greaterto cooperate. JJii'iiiPi 'T

Pace 9 WEEKLY SUMMARY ar 70

6

China's Absent Leaders

arty Chairman Mao Tse-tung and his designated heir Lin Piao have once again slipped into the This tine they have been publicly inactive for five months In fact, aside fron threeappearances in they have been out of the public eye since last April and May, when they appeared inwith the Ninth Party

Mao,ay well be slowing down, but there have been no reports that his currenthas been caused by ill health. Instead, it appears that infrequent"pub lie appearances havetyle of leadership in China. Although Chou En-lai and several other leaders have appeared frequently, about one half of the politburo has failed

tohis year

public appearance yet

Adding to the impression of aloofness from Mao is the fact that he has entirely stopped turning out "latest pronouncements which played such an important part in Peking's propaganda during the Cultural Revolution. The last such instruction was originally issued in Septemberationalslogan without attribution to Mao, but later propagandait as Mao's own

Despite his publicMao may be very activethe scenes. He presumably is following the Sino-Soviettalks closely and he may also be receiving various provincial leaders in private, as he has over the past several years.

Active

Public Activity of the Politburo Members (as of

onths

Liu PoEhu >

ChUng GrVing Vjo Wen- yuan Li Tsoo'eno

Hrt Shih-vu

/.'u F* tran Ch'ig Hoi-iifl

Mao Tffriung Lin Piio

Hutng Yung theng

Li HufcMeng Wang Tung hfirq

Li Te-ihciij Oil Teno-fc uer

Crung Ch'Ljnch'iao Li Ksiervnien

SE

PaeelO WEEKLY SUMMARY ar 7fl

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