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as have our friends in Cambodia, in the face of extreme difficulty. I do not believe we can walk away.
Now Cambodia is not included in your statement there and I want simply to remind you that when President Nixon on April 30, 1970, addressed the Nation concerning the Cambodian strike he said that our purpose there was limited and he also said, and I quote him:
We take this action not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam and winning the just peace we all desire.
That is the end of the quote.
Now Secretary of Defense Schlesinger before one of the committees last week said that the loss of Cambodia would be a foreign policy disaster for the United States. So in the course of a few years we have gone from a limited incursion for the purpose of protecting American troops and for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam to a situation where if, as you put it, we do not provide this aid and we will have a foreign policy disaster in the United States or rather the Secretary of Defense so put it-and it has been done really without any action by the Congress other than appropriations for aid. And it is this escalation of commitment from the point of a limited incursion, to the point of disaster for American foreign policy that disturbs so many of us in the Congress. I would therefore like to conclude the hearings by giving you an opportunity to comment, if you would, on the nature of the commitment to Cambodia as you see it at the present time.
NO LEGAL OBLIGATION
Mr. HABIB. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will not comment on what other people say. I am going to take your opportunity. I have certain things which I will say as I believe them.
There is no legal obligation on the part of the United States to provide assistance to Cambodia. There is no treaty obligation, there is nothing in writing unless one wants to take the fact that Cambodia was part of the Paris agreement. There was a certain sort of implicit recognition of the relationship to what we had done and what we were doing. There was that, it is implicit.
Certainly as you point out yourself, and I consider this an important factor, the Government and the Congress by virtue of its having appropriated assistance from 1 year to the next year with this review of the requirements each year, again built up an implicit relationship-not so implicit in terms of relationship but certainly implicit in terms of responsibility and continuing responsibility. I would say to you that from my point of view it seems, having brought them along to that stage and having each year reviewed our relationship and agreed to provide the resources for whatever reasons they were provided year by year, we built up a historical relationship and a historical dependency.
When I say, and this is what I believe, that we cannot walk away, I cannot see the United States, after having done that, then simply saying that is all, turn off the water and it is all over when there is some hope, and only a hope that there is something other than complete disaster for those people who are intimately concerned and directly concerned. Now if we are not prepared to provide the resources to people who wish to defend themselves, we should have made that decision 3 or 4 years ago, but once we embark on the decision to provide the resources to a people who are prepared to defend themselves they feel that we have an obligation, they feel that we have agreed to do this and in fact they feel that we have sustained them in their policy.
CONGRESS CAN END IT
Now if you want to end it, that is in the wisdom of Congress to write the end. The administration has come to the Congress and people like myself have come up here to answer any questions, to present the facts as best we can. I didn't come to make any sweeping generalities whether it is a disaster or it isn't a disaster.
I think I have answered your question the way I would answer it; somebody else would answer it differently. Each person looks upon this obligation differently. I don't consider it a legal obligation; I do consider it a general responsibility, however, given the history of the development of the situation. Now the Congress has the right to end that responsibility if it wishes-I hope it does not, not in the way that it would end if you were to reject the request of the administration for supplementary assistance.
MANY QUESTIONS RAISED
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, Mr. Secretary, I want to say to you and your colleagues who have testified this morning that you have had a difficult task and you have discharged it well. You have been very forthcoming with the answers to the questions that have been asked by the members. I know you know that this is a highly controversial matter within the Congress.
We have appreciated your posture this morning and your statement with regard to commitment here at the close which raises a number of questions in my mind that I don't think I will try to pursue with you at this particular point. I would urge you to supply the various items that we have requested just as promptly as possible.
Mr. HABIB. You will have them this afternoon, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HAMILTON. So we may have them for as extended a period as we can before we make any decisions on this next week.
Are there any further questions?
If not, the subcommittee stands adjourned.
Mr. HABIB. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.]
THE CAMBODIA-VIETNAM DEBATE
TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 1975
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS,
The subcommittee met at 9:40 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lee H. Hamilton (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.
Mr. HAMILTON. The meeting of the subcommittee will come to order. Today the Special Subcommittee on Investigations continues its inquiry into the situation in Cambodia and the supplemental aid requests for that country.
These supplemental aid requests seek to raise the level of economic and military assistance for Cambodia to some $749 million for fiscal year 1975 and there are indications that a request of well over $400 million in military aid alone for fiscal year 1976 is pending in the executive branch. These are no small amounts of money for a country of under 8 million people. Since 1970 we have put close to $2 billion into this small country when a civil war is about to be lost by the side we have supported.
These aid requests should not be judged solely on the money amounts involved. We should also examine them in light of what our interest is, how we can best bring peace to the Cambodian people, what our Asian friends would like to see happen and how the situation on the ground is developing. On this last point, the subcommittee has heard many pessimistic predictions over the last several days.
We are happy to hear this morning from our colleagues who have recently visited Indochina. While we are interested in their overall impression of the situation in Indochina, we would like to focus more specifically on Cambodia this morning.
The chairman of that group is Mr. John Flynt of Georgia. I believe you have a few introductory comments, Mr. Flynt, and you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN J. FLYNT, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Mr. FLYNT. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, as you know, seven of us from the House accompanied by Senator Bartlett of Oklahoma went to Southeast Asia during the last week in February and the first week in March. I will supply for the record the names of each of us who made this trip.
While we were there, one of the things that we had determined in advance that we wanted to do was personally to visit Cambodia. The fact is that all eight of us wanted to go to Cambodia. Mr. Fraser and myself had also made some earlier plans and I had some appointments with people who have been active in both the civil and military side of the government in Vietnam over a period of 15 or more years. I felt that the value of my entire trip would have been lessened if I had not seen at least two of these people with whom I had firm and definite appointments on the day that the group went to Cambodia. Therefore, along with Mr. Fraser, I asked to be excused from the Cambodian trip. Accordingly, anything that I might say would be what in the practice of law we used to call secondary evidence. Most of what I found out about Cambodia I found out from my colleagues who went there.
FAIR AGREEMENT ON CONCLUSION
I concur in a great deal of the conclusions which they have reached. about Cambodia. I will not, however, attempt to speak for them be-cause they can do it in a more articulate manner and can do it from firsthand observation where if I did it would simply recount to you. statements and experiences which were related to me by my colleagues. However, I have listened with intense interest to what they have had to say immediately upon their return from Phnom Penh during the days which remained while we were in Southeast Asia and on the way back to the United States. I will not try to preempt anything that they will say because I think they can say it far better than I can. However, as I have done on nearly every single occasion since we have been back, I will remain here during their testimony. If any member of the committee feels after hearing them that they have any questions that I might answer, I will be available and I will be glad to respond.
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Flynt. I know the members of this subcommittee are grateful to you and your colleagues for the difficult journey you undertook and we look forward to receiving your impressions. We appreciate very much your being here this morning and your willingness to remain while your colleagues testify. My understanding is that at least two of our colleagues have other engagements this morning and they have asked to speak first. Therefore, we will move to Congressman Fraser and then to Congresswoman Abzug for their observations because I think they have other meetings to attend.
STATEMENT OF HON. DONALD M. FRASER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
Mr. FRASER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
As our colleague Jack Flynt has already indicated, I did not go to Phnom Penh but I had the opportunity to participate in the briefing that we received at CINCPAC Hawaii and have also had the pleasure of listening to the report of our colleagues who did go to Phnom Penh. Let me say that I don't have any disagreement with any of the factual descriptions that they brought back with them from Phnom Penh on
the difficulties facing the Lon Nol government or their analysis of the military forces on both sides. The only reason that I am presumptuous enough to speak is because I am concerned about the political side of this matter. I will be very brief.
U.S. STILL SEEKS NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT
Throughout the trip, both on the way over and while we were there, and on the way back, as well as in the testimony of Assistant Secretary Habib the other day before this subcommittee, the Department of State made very clear its position that it has sought and still seeks to obtain a negotiated settlement of the war in Cambodia. The problem with that position is that it seeks to achieve what has been beyond the reach of either the United States or the Lon Nol government for the past several years. By negotiated settlement I understand the Department of State to be looking for some kind of a shared power, some kind of coalition, some way of preserving participation in a government of those who are presently in control of Phnom Penh.
I think that the Assistant Secretary of State was correct when he said that you can't negotiate for those purposes without some kind of a military stalemate. There has not been a military stalemate and there is not one today. There will not be one if you vote the additional money. In my judgment, based on everything I have heard, the war in Cambodia is lost. What remains is the humanitarian concern which I think the United States should evidence to bring this war to an orderly end with as little bloodshed as possible.
BANKRUPT POLICY SHOULD NOT BE SUPPORTED
That has not been the position of the Department of State. If you appropriate the money they are requesting, you will be endorsing a bankrupt policy. You will be endorsing the policy of the Department of State which will lead nowhere, which will cause not only an expenditure of money for no good end but will lead to the increased loss of life. It is possible, I suspect, that, with additional money and ammunition, Phnom Penh may not fall before the rainy season becomes sufficiently significant so that military operations will be substantially diminished, but that is not going to reverse the trend of the war and you will be left then with the same dilemma that we are faced with today. Until the Department of State changes its objectives we have no way to bring this matter to an end.
I might add-and I don't mean to be unduly critical of the Department of State-it is reasonably common knowledge that when the Ambassador from Cambodia was in Washington a while back he had great difficulties getting the attention of the Secretary. The impression one gets is that we are prepared to continue financing this war to the last Cambodian. I think it is tragic that, for whatever reason, there has not been a more concrete focus on the realities in Cambodiaand the need to end the war.
NEED FRENCH INVOLVEMENT
I recommended before and would renew it today that the United States seek the good offices of the French Government or perhaps :