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U.S. Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri. In it they stated that "the immediate concern of U.S. officials [in Cambodia] was simply to find a way to insure the government's survival and ... to achieve that immediate objective the United States had greatly increased U.S. air operations in support of Cambodian government forces . . . ." Moose and Lowenstein contended that the lighting would not stop because there was ". . . no indication that the Khmer insurgents . . . and their North Vietnamese supporters were interested in a cease-fire" and even if they did ". . . eventually agree to a cease-fire they [would] insist on a role in the government, a cessation of U.S. air operations and cither tacit or formal acquiescence ro continued North Vietnamese transit of Cambodia in support of their forces in South Vietnam." These words sent arrows through the hopes of those who had been seeking to arrange a truce in Cambodia similar to the one concluded at Paris for the war in South Vietnam. Cambodia represented a key piece in the Nixon-Kissinger attempt to bring peace to Southeast Asia. The Moose and Lowenstein conclusion would have far-reaching consequences: "Thus, in the last analysis the key to a cease-fire may be Phnom Penh's willingness to accord the insurgents a role in the government. If the military situation should continue to deteriorate, however, Lon Noi and his colleagues may have no choice but to accept a cease-fire on whatever terms their opponents set."4
On 29 June 1973, two months after the senators received the report, Congress placed a rider on the 1974 budget bill requiring a halt to combat air operations in Southeast Asia. The Case-Church Amendment would prove the staff report's assessments correct:
without U.S. air support the Cambodian government could not survive and if Cambodia ceased its struggle with the Communists, South Vietnam would face its worst fear. North Vietnamese troops on its flank with no U.S. air support. In the words of the South Vietnamese military and civilian officials with whom Lowenstein and Moose talked, ". . . if this possibility [Cambodia out of the war] were to materialize, South Vietnam would be faced with a serious if not untenable situation on its western flank." Few suspected at the time of the conversation that nothing but a total cease-fire in Cambodia would remove U.S. combat aircraft from Indochina. They were wrong. The Case-Church Amendment and subsequent Congressional appropriations bills removed U.S. combat aircraft from Southeast Asia, permanently.5
On 15 August 1973, the day the congressionally mandated halt to air support went into effect, the Cambodian government forces began a slide into oblivion. With each new day of righting, the struggle became increasingly more violent. The already heavily congested population centers overflowed with new refugees fleeing the advancing Communisrs. The insurgents held over 80 percent of the countryside, but controlled only 35 percent of the population.
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