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Wednesday, 13 May 1970

Mr MCMAHON (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for External Affairs) - Prince Sihanouk, as Head of State, had on many, many occasions protested against the violation of Cambodian territory by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong.

Dr Klugman - And by the Americans.

Mr MCMAHON - Never by the Americans. They were never there. Despite these protests, upwards of 60,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong in up to 12 separate enclaves were gathered on the South Vietnamese borders and could, use the Cambodian sanctuaries in order to make attacks and then, under the doctrine of privileged sanctuary, could return to Cambodian territory. Prince Sihanouk was removed as a result of the decision of the National Assembly of Cambodia and of the King's Council because they felt that not enough was being done to restrain the North Vietnamese and Vietcong from continued violations of their territory.

Since his deposition Prince Sihanouk has been, for most of his time, in Peking ot in other parts of continental China. Recently he did have a meeting of various elements - so far as North Vietnam was concerned, of the North Vietnamese; of South Vietnam, the Vietcong; the Pathet Lao from Laos; and dissident elements from Cambodia. He, as chairman, represented what is called the National United Front of Kampuchea. I understand that at this meeting Mr Chou En-lai, the Premier of Communist China, was also present. What is obvious is that Prince Sihanouk has joined forces with Communist regimes and hopes to form a dissident government in exile in Chinese territory. Where he will go from there is unknown for the moment. From all the information given to us - and this relates to the last part of the honourable gentleman's question - the people in Cambodia, so far as their views can be ascertained, are loyal to the Lon Nol Government. It was the Government at the time of Prince Sihanouk's head of stateship and all the classes that are representative of popular opinion are expressing complete confidence in that Government.

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