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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 04, 1979

CONVERSATION BETWEEN JAMBYN BATMUNKH AND HENG SAMRIN

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    In December 1979 Mongolian party and government delegation headed by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Mongolia Jambyn Batmunkh visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and had held talks with the leaders of these countries on issues pertinent to the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979, Pol Pot’s regime, situation in Indochina and Chinese foreign policy in Asia.
    "Conversation between Jambyn Batmunkh and Heng Samrin," December 04, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mongol Ulsyn Zasgiin Gazryn Arkhiv: fond 1, tov’yog 28, kh/n 21 (1980 on), khuu 10-22. Obtained and translated by Sergey Radchenko with the assistance of Onon Perenlei. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208467
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RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN DELEGATIONS

OF THE MPR AND THE PRK [People’s Republic of Kampuchea]

4 December 1979 Phnom Penh

MPR party and government delegation headed by the member of the MPRP Central Committee Politburo, Chairman of the MPR Council of Minister c. J. Batmunkh on that day met in Phnom Penh with the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Kampuchean National United Front for National Salvation (KNUFNS), Chairman of the PRK’s People’s Revolutionary Council c. Heng Samrin. […] The conversation began in the PRK Government Building at 9:45 local time and lasted for 3 and-a-half hours. […]

Heng Samrin: Head of the MPR party and government delegation, esteemed Chairman Batmunkh, members of the delegation! First of all, allow me to congratulate warmly the MPR party and government delegation on accepting the invitation of the KNUFNS and the PRK People’s Revolutionary Council and arriving in our country on a friendly visit. […]

On behalf of the KNUFNS Central Committee and the People’s Revolutionary Council let me inform you all about our country’s present conditions.

First of all, I would like to let you know about the harmful consequences of the aggressive policy of the Chinese rulers, about the criminal and evil activities of the Pol Pot – Ieng Sary group.

Dear esteemed comrade, you and the delegation members probably know this well. The evil Pol Pot-Ieng Sary group tried to establish a hitherto unheard of in the human history evil regime in the Kampuchean territory using the ideology of Maoism.

The source of all difficulties that we are now doing our best to overcome is the policy and the harmful consequences of the criminal activities of the Pol Pot – Ieng Sary group. […]

In January 1979 the Kampuchean military forces acting together with the Vietnamese military forces dealt a crushing blow to the Pol Pot – Ieng Sary remnants and scattered them. Now some forces remain on the north-western border. Now Pol Pot remnants are likewise in Enlam, Posan, Pailin, Kora, Kungevai (he named 6 places), along the border with Thailand. As our forces advanced, in the recent period, they destroyed 50 thousand of Pol Pot’s remnants and tens of thousands defected to the side of the Revolutionary Council. Under the current conditions, Pol Pot’s force cannot be restored again and cannot conduct wide-scale operations against us. In other words, the remnants of their army cannot put up even battalions, much less regiments to fight against us. Now every day hundreds, on some days thousands of their remnants come over to the people’s side.

After taking a powerful blow from our side, after May 1979, the organization of the remnants of Pol Pot’s army changed, soldiers separated into small groups, switched to plunder […] They stubbornly send their people into our economic and other important organizations to destroy them from the inside.

In the pursuit of these activities, the remnants of Pol Pot’s army enter into ever active alliance with the Beijing aggressors, imperialists and other reactionary forces. But whatever their intentions, whatever their activities, they will undoubtedly be defeated.

During the recent rainy reason our forces again attacked the main bases of Pol Pot’s remaining forces and dealt them a powerful blow. While undertaking attacks with small or mid-size forces to destroy the remnants of Pol Pot’s army across the country, from September 1979 until now we are also taking measures to win to the people’s side those people who remain in his ranks.

The small number of forces left in Pol Pot’s army suffers from hunger and disease, and their morale has hit the bottom. A part of them crosses the Kampuchean-Thai border and escapes into Thailand’s territory.

Beijing rulers and Thailand’s government provide help to the groups that escaped across our border with Thailand. So these elements again intend to rise up against us. In the next dry period we will fully bring this question into order.

S. Luvsangombo: When is the next dry period? It seems like it is raining now.

J. Batmunkh: How can one understand “fully bring into order”?

Heng Samrin: The dry season is beginning now. Fully bring into order means, in other words, that we will deal a powerful blow to the remnants along the border with Thailand and destroy them.

Besides the remnants of Pol Pot’s reactionary forces, we have other reactionary groups. Especially the reactionary group [called] the “National party,” famous reactionary group [called] “Liberation front of the free Khmers,” to name a few. These reactionary groups, using Sihanouk’s name as a cover, carry out activities against us to further complicate our state’s existing difficulties. Among these is Lon Nol and the traditional reactionary forces that ruled before him. Likewise, evil organizations that secretly work in Beijing, America and France and Thailand’s reactionary forces support and encourage the above-mentioned forces.

Speaking about the internal situation, we have destroyed the communes regime of Pol Pot’s period and liberated 4 million people from it.

Our military force is organized into three kinds. But in terms of quality, we could not strengthen them all yet.

J. Batmunkh Could you make a clarification about the three kinds, can you talk about the difference between them? I know about regular soldiers.

Heng Samrin: The three kinds are the regular soldiers, the territorial soldiers and the guerrillas. The territorial soldiers are the ones armed and organized from that particular territory.

The territorial administration in the countryside has been mainly established. Although we are putting considerable effort into strengthening the administration in the countryside, we could not entirely implement this work. The enemy is taking advantage of this. […]

Let me talk briefly about foreign policy.

Now the Beijing aggressors and other evil forces try to destroy the Kampuchean revolution by any means. […]

Currently, 33 states and organizations in the world recognize the PRK. This raises the authority of the PRK at the international level. We are intensifying foreign relations. But the imperialist aggressors are intensifying their efforts to use international organizations against Kampuchea.

The activities of these forces are clear. One manifestation of this is the resolution on the so-called “Kampuchean situation” question, passed at the recent UN General Assembly session. Of course, the reactionary forces of imperialism and the Beijing aggressors will continue these activities in the future. To stop them, one needs support of the fraternal socialist countries and of all progressive forces.

Let me talk briefly about the Vietnamese-Kampuchean relations. Relations between Vietnam and Kampuchea are traditional relations of solidarity and militant unity. […] The presence of the Vietnamese soldiers in Kampuchea is a right thing.

Likewise the Beijing aggressors intend to help the elements who escaped into Thailand from Kampuchea and organize them against the Kampuchean revolution. The Beijing aggressors are colluding with the international imperialist evil forces, further intensifying the noise against Kampuchea. At this time our government is arranging explanatory work for our people as to the reason why the Vietnamese forces remain on the Kampuchean territory and about the Kampuchean-Vietnamese friendship and militant unity. It is important to understand that the result of this friendship and militant unity is that Kampuchea could decide her own fate. […]

Using this opportunity I would like to express gratitude to your party, government and the people who provide help to the struggle of the Kampuchean people like other socialist countries. […]

Likewise I hope that you will provide aid to our people in 1980 as well. This wish for gratis aid was clearly expressed in the message sent from the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Council to your government. […]

J. Batmunkh: […] Comrade Heng Samrin, I agree with what you said about the Mongolian-Kampuchean friendship.

We decisively oppose the criminal activities of Beijing and of the reactionary adventurist regime of Pol Pot – Ieng Sary. […]

At this the conversation ended. The conversation lasted about four hours. Ts. Chuluun, the second secretary of the MPR Embassy in Hanoi and a Vietnamese interpreter translated the conversation from Mongolian to Vietnamese to Khmer. […]