U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Cambodia

U.S. Troops leaving Cambodia - A murky mission aborted.

U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Cambodia
U.S. Troops leaving Cambodia – A murky mission aborted.

– NBC News – June 29, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

News for this day in 1970 had a lot to do with the promised withdrawal from Cambodia, two months after invading and setting off a domestic firestorm which left students dead and a country bitterly divided.

In what was termed a “successful” campaign – one which the Pentagon released figures to the tune of some 15,000 Communist casualties and some 350 Americans killed, a universal sigh of relief came as U.S. troops crossed back into Vietnam, leaving only a hundred or so advisers to work with the 30,000+ South Vietnamese troops staying on. However, even the advisers were expected to leave on June 30th, according to the provisions of the agreement. The withdrawal from Cambodia came one day ahead of schedule.

The only one not happy with the withdrawal was Cambodia President Lon Nol, who held out hope U.S. troops would be back if the situation got worse. He added the U.S. promised air support for his troops, regardless of withdrawals.

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill – Sen. Gordon Allen (R-Colorado), an administration supporter of the War, tried to maneuver the Senate into voting on the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment, which called for getting the U.S. out of Indochina by June 30, 1971. He did it by bringing up the amendment as his own, and he hoped it would be soundly defeated. But the tactic failed to work – the Senate voted 62-29 to table the measure. Many felt the tactic, calling up the amendment of another and claiming it as their own, with the avowed intention of defeating it, would set a very bad precedent.

Over in The Middle East: Israeli Premier Golda Meir told Parliament that she welcomed the new American peace proposal, but she added she won’t have any part of the 3-month ceasefire, which was known to be part of the American plan. Israel wanted a permanent peace, but she said there was no sign the Arabs intended to stop shooting.

Egyptian President Nassar arrived in Moscow for the express purpose of asking the Russians for more weapons than they’ve already given him. In effect, all Arab governments have rejected the American peace plan and were digging in for what was expected to be more conflict in the region. Even though some were giving hints of warming – the PLO was adamant about not giving in an inch to the Israelis until they gave back all captured territories. And any Arab leader giving in to signing a peace treaty was, in effect, signing their own death warrant. No idle threats apparently.

And in Ireland – 3,700 more British troops were moving into Northern Ireland to keep peace between Protestants and Catholics. Street battles flared up the week before over the jailing of Bernadette Devlin, a member of the British Parliament who took part in the riots of the previous August. Six people were reported killed in the latest series of clashes; all but one were Protestant, and more than 200 wounded. The continuing violence had many economists concerned that poverty-stricken parts of Northern Ireland had little chance of a better future by way of Industrial plans which were being washed away by the continuing violence. No end in sight. And July was feared to be worse.

A small slice of what went on this day, as presented by NBC Nightly News for June 29, 1970.

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