Excerpts: Address by Norodom Sihanouk, Before the United Nations General Assembly, September 30, 1982
Note: The article that follows is a partial transcript of a speech by Norodom Sihanouk, delivered before the UN General Assembly. A paper copy of the speech was provided by Mr. Savet Khem; the original, however, was missing several pages. On the assumption that a partial record is better than no record at all, the remaining sections of the document are reproduced below. Missing pages are denoted by the [...] symbol.
Address by H.R.H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk
President of Democratic Kampuchea
Before The 37th Session
Of The United Nations General Assembly
September 30, 1982
Contrary to certain false allegations, our Government is not a Government in exile. All its members live and fight in the interior of our national territory, side by side with our heroic fighters.
For, despite the efforts of a powerful Vietnamese army in control of Kampuchean territory, we have liberated and solidly held large zones not only near the Thai frontier, but also in several regions of the Southwest and the Northeast of our country.
I have, myself last July, visited my compatriots in three liberated zones, traveling by car, on foot and on elephant, deep into the interior of our country. Everywhere I was welcomed by well-armed and disciplined military units and by tens of thousands of civilians amongst whom I had the satisfaction to note an impressive number of little children.
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My country and its Coalition Government wish to express their profound gratitude to the United Nations Organization for having, since 1979, rejected the pretensions of the regime installed by a foreign power in our capital which seeks to obtain the seat of Kampuchea in your midst.
Here everyone knows -- including those who support its candidature to this seat -- that this regime has no real existence, that it is under the control of Vietnamese occupying authorities and it depends in everything and for everything...
On the contrary, a Kampuchea becoming a colony and a military base for two expansionist and hegemonist powers constitutes a menace as the years of the future will prove to the stability, peace, security and progress of nations and peoples of the entire region, and can well provoke an armed conflict with incalculable consequences between the Great Powers whose interests are in conflict in Asia.
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As you know, I have often been the object of verbal attacks, of a mixture of contempt, sarcasm and abuse on the part of the leaders of Hanoi and their allies.
I shall not reply to these attacks, and will limit myself to remind that, in Asia, there did not certainly exist, before 1970, a non-Communist leader who was more sincerely a friend of Vietnam than I was, and who rendered spontaneously and voluntarily so much important help to the Vietnamese patriots of North and South in their struggle for independence in their country.
After the invasion of my country by the army of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam I reminded the leaders of Hanoi of the assurances of "eternal gratitude" and promises of "unswerving respect for the independence, neutrality and territorial integrity" of my county, given many times orally and in writing by the leaders of Hanoi, to remind them of their commitments.
And yet, today as yesterday, I feel no hate towards Vietnam. I have never ceased to recognize that the geographical position of our two countries make them neighbors to the end of time and that they are, because of this, compelled to understand each other and to listen to each other. This understanding, however, can only be established between equals and not between servant and master.
The present government of Hanoi does not accept this analysis. It has chosen to forget, and how quickly, the repeated help which our people and I myself have rendered during a crucial period to the people of Vietnam in their struggle for independence and reunification.
It has also very quickly forgotten -- this is even more serious -- that the support which it received in this struggle from a large part of the international community resulted from the fact that it appeared to be the innocent victim of colonialism and imperialism.
Today, this very Vietnam, restored in it territorial unity and independence, indulges in its turn, in imperialist and colonial rule. It goes so far in its arrogance as to make serious threats against some of the neighboring countries which quite rightly are concerned about its expansionism.
We have all noticed that in his last tour of Southeast Asia, the Minister of Foreign affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has permitted himself to issue, in respect to certain countries which he has visited, threats that are hardly veiled, simply because these countries ask Vietnam to withdraw its troops from Kampuchea and to let the people of Kampuchea regain their right to self-determination.
The United Nations has been good enough to formulate in 1979, 1980 and 1981, precise and unambiguous Resolutions showing the way to be followed to resolve with justice the problem of Kampuchea, a problem which would not exist but for the greed of Vietnam on the political and territorial plane.
In 1981, there was held in New York under the auspices of the United Nations an International Conference of which the Declaration and Resolutions conform to equity, justice and the Charter of the United Nations as well as to the best interests of Kampuchea and Vietnam and to the interests of the peoples of the entire region.
The Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea cannot accept, any more than our compatriots, that another Conference should be arranged by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam profiting from the support of the Soviet Union and the allies of this great Power.
The primary effect of such a further Conference, where naturally will be seated the puppet regimes of Phnom Penh and Vientiane, would be to side-track the "situation in Kampuchea" in declaring that it finalised and thereby causing to be recognized de facto the regime of Heng Samrin, docile creature of Hanoi. Obviously, there can be no question that Democratic Kampuchea and peace loving nations committed to liberty and justice would fall into such a trap.
Against the Resistance fighters and the inhabitants of villages which have escaped Vietnamese control, the use of chemical weapons, especially toxic gas, is frequent.
The forces of occupation appropriate to themselves more and more the natural riches and goods of Kampuchea, send a growing number of Vietnamese immigrants to colonize our fertile lands and rivers, rich in fish from which the legitimate owners have been driven away.
Vietnamese propaganda has strenuously sought, and not without success, to make Western observers permitted to enter Kampuchea to believe that this country, occupied but not submissive, enjoys liberty and well-being which it has not known for a long time. This is but a facade denounced by other journalists who have been in the region and who, in spite of multiple obstacles placed in their way, have been able to make in-depth studies of the real position.
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I have been telling you that the only option which we have is to take up arms to protect our national sovereignty. I know that here and there people mock our struggle, saying that we are too weak to challenge the powerful Vietnamese expeditionary forces.
as soon as Vietnam has totally withdrawn its troops from Kampuchea all will be possible in friendship between our two countries.
We are ready to sign with Vietnam a treaty of peace and non-aggression implying the recognition and respect for territorial integrity of the two neighboring nations within their present frontiers.
This is a just proposal I make today to the leaders and to the people of Vietnam in the name of our Coalition Government. I am satisfied that if they would but listen to this appeal of reason, the people of Southeast Asia, as well as the people of the world, will feel the most vivid satisfaction; for not only peace and harmony will return to the Indochinese Peninsula, but also potential major conflicts will thereby disappear.
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Unfortunately, the reality is that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is far from seeking to explore the way of reconciliation and of peace. It seeks to propagate a very curious concept of an "International Conference" charged not to solve the "Situation in Kampuchea" but "to consider the security, the peace and neutrality in Southeast Asia."
May I draw to the attention of the distinguished delegates now present the "International Conference" proposed by the Vietnamese would logically mean side-tracking and avoiding
Such a pact would be but the prelude to further aggression between countries and peoples who subscribe to it.
Honourable delegates understand why no international conference is imaginable if the first item on the agenda does not deal with the situation in Kampuchea and does not seek to put an end to the occupation and colonisation of my country by Vietnam with the multi-faceted support of the Soviet Union. If this problem is not dealt with and resolved, there is really nothing to discuss, there is nothing but to bend the knee before the "diktat" of Hanoi and Moscow.
It would be lamentable to participate in a Vietnamese Conference which will have present as representatives of Kampuchea the regime of Quislings of Phnom Penh put in place by the Vietnamese leaders and protected by the powerful Vietnamese army of occupation.
To accept the Vietnamese "fait accompli" in Kampuchea would be to accept the law of the jungle. This "law" is already in force in many countries which tragically today are reduced to slavery by a great power.
Member states of United Nations - at least those for whom the principles of liberty, independence, justice and peace still matter - must have at heart, I am sure, the need to cry "Halt" to Vietnamese occupation and colonisation of Kampuchea by adopting the Resolutions and in taking measures which would require Vietnam, which we once respected, to return to a sense of honour which, we hope but momentarily, it has so singularly failed in.
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other humanitarian organizations for all they have done, are doing and will be doing for our refugees and other compatriots in their need.
I respect the Vietnamese people, dragged against their will in a colonialist adventure, although for many years now they find themselves plunged in difficulties without number and from all sides and off all kinds, which their Government is in any event obliged to recognize, and which have provoked the tragic exodus of hundreds of thousands of "boat people."
I do not consider that I have a right to ask the Western Powers to cease providing humanitarian aid to our neighbors, innocent victims of the dreadful conduct of their Government.
But I have the right, in the name of the people of Kampuchea, to ask all countries who are not accomplices of Vietnamese colonialism forthwith to cease granting to the regime of Hanoi financial, economic and material aids which could risk not being used to help the unhappy people of Vietnam, but to encourage inevitably their leaders to persevere in their enterprise against my people and my country.
We reaffirm our total solidarity with our brothers and sisters, the Afghan people, who like us are struggling so that their country can exercise again its inalienable right to self-determination.
We support equally the Laotian people, our brothers and sisters, who aspire to recover Laotian independence and liberty.
We renew our fraternal solidarity to the valiant people of Namibia who, under the leadership of SWAPO, are waging a just struggle for national liberation against the colonialist and racist regime of Pretoria.
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I thank you for the attention which you have been good enough to give this long address.
Thank you very much.