Special Collections Department
Papers relating to the
Citizens' Mission to Cambodia
Manuscript Collection Number: 262
Accessioned: Purchase, 1992
Extent:1 linear ft.
Content: Diaries, correspondence, books, periodicals, news clippings, reports, speeches, audio recording tapes, photographs, and poems
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1993 by Paul Dziewisz
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Kay Boyle's career as a writer began in 1923, after moving from St. Paul to New York City, with the publishing of her poem, "Morning," in Harold Loeb's art and literary magazine, Broom. Soon after, she married a French exchange student, Richard Brault, and moved to France for a 20 year period. During that time she divorced Brault and, in 1931, married a fellow expatriate, Laurence Vail (previously the husband of Peggy Guggenheim). She published four novels, Plagued by a Nightmare, Year Before Last, Gentlemen, I Address You Privately, and My Next Bride, during the 1920s reflecting her experiences in France. Boyle divorced Vail and, in 1943, married Baron Joseph von Franckenstein. The two were together until his death in 1963.
A prolific short story writer, Boyle won the first of her two O. Henry short story awards in 1935 for the title story of The White Horses of Vienna and Other Stories. Her second O. Henry was awarded in 1941 for "Defeat." She continued to write short stories throughout her life. The last collection, Life Being the Best and Other Stories, was published in 1988. In addition to the O. Henry award she was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1934) and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1960 Boyle moved to San Francisco and took a position as an English professor at San Francisco State University. Kay Boyle's later works include the 1967 Autobiography of Emanuel Carnevali and a 1968 revision of Robert McAlmon's memoirs, Being Geniuses Together, 1920-1930, to which Boyle added several supplementary chapters.
Throughout her life, Kay Boyle was politically active. This activism reflects a general belief, fostered by her mother, that privilege demands social responsibility. In the 1950s her activism became reinvigorated as she worked toward furthering integration policies, civil rights, a ban on nuclear weapons, and America's withdrawal from Southeast Asia.
Kay Boyle's concern over the potential expansion of the
Vietnam War prompted her to accept the invitation of the
organization "Americans Want to Know" and embark on a two-week
fact finding mission to the area bordering Cambodia, Laos, and
Vietnam. Boyle and six others -- Floyd B. McKissick, National
Director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Rabbi Israel
Dresner; Donald Duncan, military editor of Ramparts magazine and
ex-Green Beret; Russell Johnson of American Friends Service
Committee; publicity director Marc Stone; and New York
businessman Norman Eisner -- comprised the Citizens' Mission to
Cambodia. The Mission departed for Phnom Penh on July 25, 1966
to investigate U.S. allegations that Cambodia was being used as a
training area and staging ground for Viet Cong incursions into
Citizens' Mission to Cambodia
Americans Want to Know, the Mission's sponsoring organization, formed in 1965 "to gather facts and report them to the American people in any situation where our country seems likely to become embroiled in foreign adventures." They observed such a situation in Cambodia where accusations of misconduct were being made on both sides.
The United States government charged the Cambodian government with creating a "Viet Cong sanctuary," establishing the Sihanouk Trail to augment the Ho Chi Minh Trail by providing arms and food, and accepting arms and food shipments into the port at Sihanoukville. Meanwhile, in addition to denying these charges, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia claimed the U.S. was violating his nation's vowed territorial neutrality by conducting bombing raids on Cambodian villages. Prince Sihanouk asked for stricter border observations from the International Control Commission and broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S. over the incidents just prior to the delegation's arrival.
During the mission, the delegation visited several spots along the Cambodia/Vietnam border as well as the Cambodia/Laos border where they inspected the site of a recent U.S. attack on the village of Thloc Trach. The delegates personally examined the alleged Sihanouk Trail and the Ho Chi Minh Trail for signs of a Viet Cong presence. In addition, the Mission members boarded and examined ships docking at Sihanoukville looking for arms or food shipments. Finally, the delegation met with Sihanouk and discussed his views on the border violations. The Mission members could find no indications of wrongdoing on the part of the Cambodian government.
Upon their return to the United States, the delegates reported on the Mission's findings through a series of articles, interviews, and lectures around the country.
The collection indicates that Kay Boyle continued her political activism and her interest in the plight of Cambodia well into the decade of the 1970s and probably through to her death on December 27, 1992.
Sources:"Kay Boyle, 90, Writer of Novels and Stories, Dies." The New York Times. December 29, 1992.
Note: Much of the biographical data is derived from material contained in the collection.
Scope and Content Note
The bulk of the material surveys the controversial aspects of the ground war in Vietnam and its possible expansion into Cambodia through the recorded thoughts and actions of Kay Boyle and the Citizens' Mission to Cambodia. Additional items capture the evolution of political Cambodia well into the 1970s through various publications and articles. Included in the collection are two unrelated items: a letter and poems sent to a San Francisco public school class, and a speech and poem dedicated to San Francisco Mayor George Moscone following his assassination in 1978.
The collection provides insight into the specifics of the Citizens' Mission examination of the Cambodian border conflict. In addition to the Mission reports, the collection provides opposing opinions, details on living in Cambodia, and reflections on Prince Sihanouk's actions and beliefs. The collection is further highlighted by Kay Boyle's diaries of the journey and by articles of the late 1970s discussing the political situation in Cambodia. Unfortunately there is a gap in the collection between 1966 and 1979 which prevents the researcher from following the actions of Kay Boyle and Americans Want to Know through to their culmination.
The collection is organized topically into four series. The first series of the collection relates specifically to the events and immediate results of the Citizens' Mission. Spanning 1965-1966, this series is the collection's most extensive. Included within the series are Kay Boyle's diaries from Cambodia, various Mission publications, review articles written by delegation members, and correspondence regarding Mission activities.
Series II, Official Statements and Press Releases, provides a context for the outward aims of the key actors in the controversy over Cambodia. It consists of press releases, pronouncements, official statements, and speech transcripts. Series III is a reference collection of published articles, books, and tapes giving background to the conflict in South East Asia as well as the Mission. Finally, series IV consists of two items unrelated to Boyle's mission in Cambodia.
Related collections:Mss 131 Kay Boyle Papers
I. The Citizens' Mission to Cambodia, 1966 1. Diaries of the Mission, July 26-August 11, 1966 2. Information relating to Mission publications 3. Materials related to events of the Mission 4. Correspondence II. Official Statements and Press Releases, 1964-1966 1. Americans Want to Know 2. United States government 3. Cambodian government 4. Miscellaneous organizations III. Collected Newspaper Articles, Publications, and Productions, 1965-1979 1. Articles and publications 2. Audio recording tape of the Winter Soldier Investigations, Detroit, 1971 IV. Unrelated, 1960 and 1978
Series I. The Citizens' Mission to Cambodia, 1966 This series contains material directly related to the Citizens' Mission. Included are Kay Boyle's diaries, in original and corrected draft form; correspondence about and drafts of subsequent publications of the Mission; articles published by delegation members; and correspondence among Mission members. Series I.1. Diaries of the Mission, July 26-August 11, 1966 This subseries contains journal notebooks, typed drafts, and critiques of drafts for Kay Boyle's Mission diaries. A photograph is also included. The diary of Kay Boyle's mission experiences was to be published soon after 1966 but was never printed in full. The subseries is arranged in stages beginning with on-site journals. These are followed by drafts for publication and commentary on those drafts. A further note is required to explain the comprehensive diary (found in F6 below) which is a compilation of the smaller diaries. Upon acquisition it was filled with a large quantity of related letters and notes placed loosely between its pages. To clarify the order of the diary, all pages, including the loose inserts, were numbered consecutively from beginning to end. The loose pages were then removed and placed in the adjoining folders (F6a, F6b, F6c). F1 Photograph (black and white) of Mission members and Sihanouk taken at the Prince's palace, 1966 Diary of the Citizens' Mission, 1966 F2 July 29-August 2 F3 August 3-6 F4 August 6-7 F5 July 26-30 and August 9-11 F6 July 26-August 11 A compilation of the above notebooks. All loose inserts have been numbered and removed. They can be found in the following three folders. F6a July 26-August 11 pp. 1-65. Series I. The Citizens' Mission To Cambodia, 1966 (cont'd) Series I.1. Diaries of the Mission, July 26-August 11,1966 (cont'd) F6b July 26-August 11 pp. 66-111. F6c July 26-August 11 pp. 112-end. Drafts of Diary Entries F7 July 26, 1966 F8 July 27, 1966 F9 July 28, 1966 F10 July 29, 1966 F11 July 30, 1966 F12 July 31, 1966 F13 Letters from Russ Johnson relating to Kay Boyle's diary drafts F14 Undated notes relating to diary drafts F15 Miscellaneous addresses located with the diary drafts Series I.2. Information relating to Mission publications This subseries contains material related to two Mission publications, "Findings of Fact on Cambodia's Border" and "The Final Report." Included are various drafts of the publications and correspondence among the Mission members regarding the publications. F16 Copies of the "Findings of Fact" bulletin F17 Correspondence between Kay Boyle and Bill Worthy regarding the "Findings of Fact" bulletin F18 Letter from Russ Johnson to Kay Boyle and Don Duncan regarding the "Finding of Facts" bulletin F19 Letter to Bill Worthy regarding the "Findings of Fact" bulletin Series I. The Citizens' Mission To Cambodia, 1966 (cont'd) Series I.2. Information relating to Mission publications (cont'd) F20 Drafts of the Missions' "Final Report" including Kay Boyle's contribution F21 Correspondence relating to the "Final Report" Series I.3. Materials related to the events of the Mission This subseries is concerned with events of the Mission as conveyed through the plans, statements, and writings collected by Kay Boyle. F22 Statement by Senator Wayne Morse (Dem., Ore.) on the Missions' departure F23 Mission itineraries F24 Statement from Mission members regarding the bombing of Thlok Trach F25 Article reviewing the Mission by Kay Boyle F26 Article reviewing the Mission by Russ Johnson F27 Article reviewing the Mission by Marc Stone F28 Miscellaneous Mission material F29 Flight momentoes from Japan Airlines Series I.4. Correspondence This subseries contains letters to the editor from Kay Boyle, correspondence with the Cambodian government, and letters among Mission members and between Misson members and sponsoring organizations. Note that letters between Mission members may also be found under other, more specific series. F30 Letters to the Editor from Kay Boyle F31 Correspondence with the Cambodian government F32 Envelope addressed to Kay Boyle from the Permanent Mission of Cambodia to the United Nations F33 Invitations to Cambodian government functions Series I. The Citizens' Mission to Cambodia, 1966 (cont'd) Series I.4. Correspondence (cont'd) F34 Correspondence with Americans Want to Know F35 Correspondence with William Worthy F36 Correspondence with Ramparts Editor Stan Sheinbaum F37 Miscellaneous correspondence Series II. Official Statements and Press Releases, 1964-1966 This series consists of official organizational statements, press releases, and publications of the various policies, observations, and opinions about Cambodia-U.S. relations. It is broken down into four subseries focusing on each government or major organization. Series II.1. Americans Want to Know Consists of statements from Americans Want to Know, the Missions organizer and sponsor, announcing the Mission and defining their policy on the Cambodian issue. F38 Press releases of Americans Want to Know relating to the Mission Series II.2. United States government Consists of U.S. documents and memorandums defining the U.S. position on Cambodian assistance to the Viet Cong. F39 Major U.S. pronouncements on policy toward Cambodia F40 State Department letters defining the U.S. position on Cambodia Series II.3. Cambodian government Contains press bulletins, letters to the U.N. Secretary General, and Publications of the Cambodian Government in relation to the border controversy. F41 Press bulletins and correspondence from the Cambodian government (French) F42 Publications of the Cambodian government, 1966 Series II. Official Statements and Press Releases, 1964-1966 (cont'd) Series II.3. Cambodian government (cont'd) F43 List of members in the L'Association des Ecrivains Khmers F44 Transcript of a Sihanouk press conference, 1979 F45 Political Statement of the Patriotic and Democratic Front of Great National Union of Kampuchea, August 21, 1979 Series II.4. Miscellaneous organizations The Beheiren (Japan "Peace for Vietnam!") Committee conducted discussions on solutions to the Vietnam War in August of 1966. This subseries contains statements from that organization as well as a copy of the Geneva Agreement of 1954 which divided Vietnam into North and South. F46 Statements relating to the "Meet in Conference" meeting of August 11-15 F47 Copy of Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Viet-Nam Geneva Agreement of 1954). Series III. Collected Newspaper Articles, Publications, and Productions, 1965-1979 This series consists of numerous newspaper clippings, books, magazine articles, and an audio tape dealing with the political situation between the U.S. and Cambodian Governments. Several of the articles are from publications of the late 1970s and contain information related to that time frame. Series III.1. Articles and publications This subseries contains articles and publications dealing with the Citizens' Mission and Cambodia. F48 Newspaper articles giving background prior to the Mission F49 Newspaper articles dealing with the events of the Mission F50 Post-Mission newspaper articles, 1966 F51 Full newspapers containing articles about the Mission F52 Newspaper articles, 1979 Series III. Collected Newspaper Articles, Publications, and Productions, 1965-1979 (cont'd) Series III.1. Articles and publications (cont'd) F53 Three copies of The Call/el Clarin F54 Copy of Class Struggle, Summer 1979 F55 Two copies of New War in Southeast Asia, 1979 F56 Three copies of the Magazine, Le Sangkum F57 Vietnam! Vietnam! by Felix Greene F58 I.F. Stone's Weekly, May 30 and July 25, 1966 F59 Sane World, 1966 F60 Travel brochure: Guide to Tours and Hotels in Cambodia F61 Periodicals for teachers, 1979 Series III.2. Audio recording tape of the Winter Soldier Investigations, Detroit, 1971 The Winter Soldier Investigations were three days of panel discussions sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War in response to the war crimes conviction of Lt. Col. William Calley following the My Lai Massacre. The discussions were designed to examine the widespread acts of violence by American soldiers against the Vietnamese and display to the United States public that Calley's actions were not an aberation but an everyday reality. F62 The Winter Soldier Investigation, Feb. 1971, Audio Tape One reel-to-reel tape of the 25th Infantry Panel discussing incursions into Laos and Cambodia, 120 minutes. F63 Copy of Evergreen, Sept. 1971 Series IV. Unrelated, 1960 and 1978 The items in this series were accessioned along with the Cambodia papers. They are, however, unrelated to Cambodia as well as unrelated to one another. F64 Letter to P.S. #8 and four poems, 1960 F65 Poem and speech in honor of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, 1978
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