Ambassador William A. Heidt
Embassy of the United States of America
#1 Street 96
Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh
September 11, 2017
US Must Stop Turning Cambodia from Peace to War Yet Again
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
The relationship between the United States of America and Cambodia is over 60 years now. In the meantime this relation is on a bumpy path, and it offers more pain and bitterness than sweetness. We should recall that diplomatic relations between our two countries began officially and historically in the 1950s during the time of late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk. We should take this opportunity to thank the ambassadors, Donald R. Heath and Robert McClintock, who were the first to lead diplomatic mission between our two countries to form the official visit of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1967. We were honored.
However, in the 1970s diplomatic relations between our two countries came to a very dangerous and horrible turn. The US not only killed our twenty-year old friendship, but also killed the Cambodian people through dropping of more than 2.7 million tons of bombs on Cambodian soil destroying lives as well as damaging the environment through using chemicals such as Agent Orange. Please stop talking about conserving the forest and continue helping Cambodian people with honesty.
The immoral carpet bombing over Cambodia killed over 800,000 innocent Cambodians at the time. American interference and aggression in Cambodia in that period led to the demise of Cambodia from peace and development under our late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk to coup, regime change and genocide. We are now hearing that the United State is supporting regime change in Cambodia yet again.
During war time, Cambodia became indebted to the United States through aid packages for which the US is now demanding repayment. For the Cambodian people, such heritage is bitter, painful and plainly unjust. This can only cause more disrespect for American government.
In 1991, in the era of Samdech Hun Sen, relations between our two countries reestablished. Our people applauded the efforts to restart diplomatic relations. We should take this opportunity to thank the respected ambassadors, Charles H. Twining, Kenneth M. Quinn, Charles A. Ray, Joseph Mussomeli and Carol Rodley, who expressed their determination and acted to help Cambodia. We should also take this opportunity to thank the American diplomats for the renewed official visit of First Lady Michelle Obama, including incumbent president and former presidents to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Since 2013, however, in the age of William E. Todd and William A. Heidt, both ambassadors seem to show little interest, almost ignorance, for the happiness of Cambodians and the history the two countries has built. Both US ambassadors have shown us that the United States is not faithful to Cambodian people. We also understand that US diplomats are now trying to interfere and divide our people which could lead us down the deep, dark abyss of war and tragedy as we witnessed in the 1970s. History could just repeat itself if current state of affairs in between the two countries persist.
William E. Todd’s haughty attitudes in front of our respected His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni in 2014 are the most serious insults on Cambodian values and sovereignty. William H. Heidt’s “Red Herring” is creating doubt and confusion among the Khmer people who are starting to question American behaviors and role in Cambodia. We regard this as a poisonous activity attempting to break national cohesion.
The US is a highly educated nation, yet never fully understands what sovereignty means. Cambodian people need respect. We need to determine our destiny by ourselves with your help but not interference. We are a nation with territorial integrity and sovereignty to be respected as equal entity in the world system and most of all respected by the United States.
We need peace, stability and development. We do not need fake democracy nor dictatorial democracy. American people know very well their democracy is not functioning. Their racial issues are continuing. Their police are violent. Their belief in democracy is at an all-time low. Please do not profess “your version” of democracy to Cambodia and let us choose how we govern our nation.
Cambodians are also aware that the United States have introduced democracy to the Middle Eastern countries. None of incumbent US diplomats have come out to apologize for the tragedy they caused to these countries. Cambodian people also remember that when things got worse, the US disappeared.
US diplomats are bragging about a little help on forest protection, education, and conservation of the temples, which in fact is very little compared to the aid of Japanese, French, Chinese and Indian friends. Such a small contribution can only be done when the country is at peace and stability.
American friends should try to understand and support the real needs of our Cambodian people, the needs of economic development that must be aligned with lasting political stability and peace. Cambodia has not reached a situation where we need to suspend democracy in order to protect the country’s stability and progress as yet. Cambodia needs loyal friends from all over the world to stay with us in every circumstance.
Therefore, the ambassador William Heidt should review his actions and behaviors towards the Cambodian people by stop tainting the 60-year old friendship, creating anger among Cambodian people and turning peace to war just as the US did in 1970. History keeps reminding us to be vigilant and always remains alert against the “color revolution” in all forms in Cambodia.
William Heidt should read history and educate opposition party to understand democratic process, election process, parliamentary means of resolving issues and electoral mandate. He should also tell them to stop practicing democracy in the street and in the parks, cursing others and inciting violence among the people.
We would also like to send this open letter to our foreign friends to express our emotion and strong commitment to defending national sovereignty and not accepting any interference that will hurt our country again.
We, the Cambodian People!