II. THE PROOFS DEMONSTRATING THAT COCHINCHINA (KAMPUCHEA KROM) USED TO BELONG TO CAMBODIA
The former French colony of Cochinchina was established in territory belonging to Cambodia. There is plentiful evidence to show that these lands were Cambodian.Archeologically, the towers, the bronze and the stone statues, the inscriptions, the religion buildings, the brick sanctuaries, and the steles are evidence of the presence of Cambodian ancestors in this region. Besides archeological proof, the ancient maps of Indo-China ( a map of the seventh and eight centuries, a map drawn in 1593, a map drawn in 1638, a map by Rhodes in 1650, a map of Indo-China by ROBERT drawn 1717, a map Indo-China published by Durville in 1775, etc. ) and various written texts in Cambodia, Annamite, and French confirm the sovereignty of Cambodia over the territory of Cochinchina.Juridically, it is not possible to maintain that Cambodia has ceased tobe the owner of these lands :
International law recognizes 6 ways of acquiring territory :
First, in the case of ORIGINAL acquisitions,
a. By the occupation of territory which is free from all other control.according to the established conditions,
b. By subjugation,
c. By adjudication,
d. By prescription ; and secondly, for secondary acquisitions,
e. By cession orf. By consolidation of a military occupation.
The Annamite occupation is illegal because these lands were not free and the occupation did not take place in accordance with the conditions laid down by the Act of Berlin of 1885 which specified that occupation should be permanent and that it should be notified to third parties.
Nor has there been any question of acquisition by subjugation because the national power whose territory has been occupied has never been completely overthrown. The Government of Cambodia has always continued to exist.
The Annamites have not acquired their territories in Cochinchina by adjudication since no collection of states (a congress, The League of Nations, The United Nations) nor any international juridical body has ever assigned these territories to Annam.
Nor can prescription be invoked. It is not possible to use this argument even basing it on the apparent passivity of the Cambodian sovereigns during the periods of internal troubles and during the French Protectorate. At all times the Cambodian Kings have indeed shown, either by stating their claims or by armed intervention, their determination not to abandon the territories occupied by the Annamites. In 1738, King ANG SO attacked the Annamites to try and drive them out of Hatien. In 1776, King ANG NUON took Vinhlong and Mytho, taking advantage of a Cambodian rising in Lower Cochinchina at the time of the TAY SON revolt. In 1859, King ANG DUONG marched on Chaudoc ; and when the French arrived the struggle was still continuing.Moreover, the Cambodian Kings have frequently renewed their claims. In 1645, King ANG TO put forward territorial claims which were taken up again by ANG CHAN in 1653. Besides King ANG DUONG who sought the intervention of the France principally to recover his Cochinchina provinces, King NORODOM, at the time of his visit to Saigon in October1864, (one year after the signature of the Treaty establishing the French Protectorate over Cambodia) made a strong démarche, demanding that the French authorities should hand back to him the provinces of Cochinchina.
On the 25th June 1945, during the Japanese occupation, in view of Viet-Nam’s intention to achieve its unity by incorporating Cochinchina within its territory, His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk expressly reserved Cambodia’s title to the territory of Cochinchina and suggested the formation of a mixed commission to define the Khmero-Vietnamese frontier.
The Government NAM BO (i.e. the Government of HO-CHI-MINH) accepted in 1945 the principle of modifying the frontier in favour of Cambodia. After the HO-CHI-MINH Government split, and France was faced with the question of giving in the demands of His Majesty BAO DAI’s Government for the union of the three Kys (i.e. the incorporation of Tonkin, Annam and Cochichina into a single state of Viet-Nam), His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, in a letter of the 20th January, 1948, asked the Hight Commissioner of France in Indo-China to keep him informed of the negotiations which France was undertaking with Viet-Nam. Ignoring Cambodian preoccupations, France signed with His Majesty BAO DAI the Agreements of the Baie d’Along on the 8th March, 1949, recognizing the principle of the union of the three Ky’s. His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk protested against these agreements and in 1949 he sent a Cambodian Delegation to follow the debates of the French Parliament on the Bill concerning the change of the Statute of Cochinchina and its integration in Viet-Nam and to protest against the inclusion of this Cambodian territory of Cochinchina within the state of Viet-Nam.
Despite strong Cambodian protests, the Cochinchina territory which had been illegally acquired by the French as a possession obtained from a party who was not their owner, was ceded to Viet-Nam by France as a result of a unilateral decision and a French legislative act.
Finally, at the moment of the conclusion of the Franco-Khmer Treaty of the 8th November, 1949, His Majesty the King of Cambodia expressly declared that the Treaty is in no way constituted on the part of Cambodia a renunciation of her rights and interests in Cochinchina.
Furthermore the Cambodian territories in Cochinchina have never been the subject of a regular act of cession. No treaty or convention has ever stipulated such a cession. Cochinchina (south viet-nam) cannot therefore be compared with Louisiana, ceded by France to the United States in 1803, nor with Alaska ceded by Russia to United States in 1867, nor with the Carolinas ceded by spain to Germany in 1899.
Nor is there any question of the consolidation of a military occupation. Annam did not wage a war of conquest against Cambodia. All the Armed attacks were carried out at the request of a Cambodian Prince, either against another Prince with pretentious to the throne, or against the Siamese, or else at the request of rebels.
Finally, contrary to certain allegations, no delimitation of frontiers has ever taken place to divide definitively the Cambodian territories occupied by Annam. The decision of the 9th July, 1870, and the Arrangement of the 17th July, 1873, delimiting the frontiers between Cochinchina and Cambodia constituted unilateral acts on the part of FRANCE who at that time directly administered Cochinchina as a colony and Cambodia as Protectorate. These were administrative acts carried out by one and the same power whose understandable desire was to increase her colonial domain. Cambodia, who had asked for the protection of France and had confided to her the control of her external sovereignty, was not able to raise any protestation against this delimitation of the frontier.