US bombing of sites in Cambodia began this year and continued until 1973

Relevant external events in Vietnam War (beyond Cambodia):

March - Operation Menu (covert US bombing campaign in eastern Cambodia). US soldiers peak at 549,000 men, Australia 7,600.

September – Ho Chi Minh dies

Relevant events in Cambodia (beyond Kampot):

There is a rice shortage across the country.

October - Sihanouk asked the ICC (International Control Commission) to stop its work in Sihanoukville now. (7)

December – bombing starts inside Cambodia

Kampot

Border country

Operation Dorsal Fin (US reconnaissance and interdiction) covers 20 kilometres inside Cambodian border, so includes Kampong Trach and Tuok Meas.

Sihanoukville

  • A Russian freighter (Berezovka) is spotted here being unloaded; diesel locos, tractors and helicopters. (1)
  • CIA reports could not clearly identify if weapons were finding their way to the VC. They note freighters from China and USSR dropping off supplies but, they surmise, they could be for the FARK. They know all military supplies are taken by truck from Sihanoukville to Kompong Speu (FARK depot) and from there to the border areas (for the VC), though they don’t know where. This road (Highway 4) is the best in the country – good all-weather road to handle the trucks. (3)
  • Kissinger related plans to station US ships off Sihanoukville port for possible interdiction of any ships entering. This planned simultaneously with the mining of Haiphong harbor (Hanoi). (2)
  • October - 4,000 tons of North Vietnamese rice is unloaded for the VC and next month 10,000 tons from China, under an agreement with North Vietnam. (5) (6)
  • The Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville railway reaches the port town.
  • Suspicion that munitions from Communist China seem to be in excess of the needs of FARK are raised (4) (7)

Kampot and coastal islands

A newspaper report states that 20 plus teachers from Kampot were arrested and taken to Bokor Mountain and pushed off. They were then beheaded and their heads displayed near the market as a warning to those who would oppose the government. (Kiernan, p 283)

Inland trouble belt  #

Guerilla incidents have stepped up on many provinces. Assassinations and village propagandizing are on the rise and attacks on outposts and lines of communication. The CIA note that the government has not reduced the economic discontent which it states is the fundamental, internal, cause of the insurgency. (3)

 

Sources used for this article

Ben Kiernan, How Pol Pot Came to Power. (Verso, London, 1986)

CIA memorandums

  • July 3 (from George Carver, Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, to Kissninger) – “Intensified Collection Program Targeted Against the Logistics Network Used by North Vietnam to Support Communist Activity in South Vietnam” this document lists the various actions for the US recommended to disrupt the logistics flow to the VC.
  • August 15 - (from Kissinger to the Attorney General) – it contains a “complete plan for the initiation of the mining of the Haiphong Port complex and the quarantine or ‘blockade of Sihanoukville Port in Cambodia” (2)
  • October 10 - Central Intelligence Bulletin (7)
  • November 12 - Central Intelligence Bulletin (6)

Presidential correspondence and briefs

November 11 – President’s Daily Brief (5)

December 2 – from Assistant Secretary of Defence (DSA) to the President         

Confidential Telegram

Jan 9 – debrief from a CIA photo of USSR freighter Berezovka (1)

Miscellenaeous CIA documents

May 21 – “Evaluation of CIA reporting on arms shipments to the VC via Cambodia” (the organisation reflects on the quality of its reporting) (4)

June 6 – Back up material for DCI’s June briefing (3)

# - This refers to the districts Chhouk and Chum Kiri (Kampot province) and Tram Kak (Takeo province), and will be included as a separate region from this year