Phnom Penh – November 1967 – With a radiance now as famous in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as it is in Paris, Jacqueline Kennedy, America’s unofficial roving ambassador, visited that ancient Asian land to fulfill “a lifelong dream of seeing Angkor Wat,” stone ruins from the romantic Khmer civilization in the 12th Century.
She found time to admire Chief of State Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s own jazz compositions, November Blues, as November was the season, and The Evening I Met You, in honor of the occasion.
The Prince was obviously enchanted with his beautiful visitor but he insisted he had not changed his opposition to America’s role in Vietnam. Asked why he had named a street for John F. Kennedy in Sihanoukville and not his capital city, he said, “Sihanoukville is very important. It is named after me. Anyway, I have run out of streets in Phnom Penh.”
Out of deference to his guest, who, he said, is “the best ambassadress America could send to Cambodia,” he omitted a paragraph from his Sihanoukville speech that declared that the U.S. would not be fighting in Vietnam if Kennedy were still in the White House.
In a later press conference he declared that “If America decides to stop the war, America would become popular in Asia and President Johnson would regain prestige. Even his hawks could not stop him from becoming an illustrious President.”
Mrs. Kennedy’s companions included Lord Harlech, the former Sir David Ormsby-Core, a friend of her late husband, and, in a reference to rumors that link them romantically, the Prince said he would not be shocked if Mrs. Kennedy married again. When she departed for Bangkok, weary but enchanted with the splendors of Cambodia, she thanked the Prince “with all my heart.”