Hundreds of declassified diplomatic reports on Cambodia’s contemporary history from Norway, Sweden, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, New Zealand and Switzerland are among the documents that former Ambassador of Cambodia and a senior private secretary and official biographer to late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Mr. Julio A. Jeldres, has given to the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam).
Mr. Jeldres collected the documents over 50 years of diplomatic and private involvement in Cambodia’s recent history. In total, the archives comprise over 1,580 kilograms of priceless historical documents and materials. According to Mr. Jeldres comments to this article below, the Swedish and Norwegian diplomatic reports were properly declassified by their governments upon the request of the then Ambassadors to Cambodia, Jan Nordlander (Sweden) and Lars Wendell (Norway) who kindly helped Mr. Jeldres with my research.
“DC-Cam is exceptionally grateful for and honoured by Mr Jeldres’ generous donation, which will contribute to the education of Cambodian youths, scholars and the public. we aims to improve the effectiveness of teaching Cambodian contemporary history, and in particular, the Khmer Rouge period,””
Ambassador Jeldres completed the manuscript of a book on the history of the friendship between late King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai of the People’s Republic of China.
“We also worked to translate a diary kept by Queen Mother Norodom Monineath during her trip to liberated zones of Cambodia in 1973.”
Youk Chhang, executive director of DC-Cam said that the documents and materials donated by Mr Jeldres will contribute to the Kingdom’s democracy and civic culture.
“I think history is very important to develop the nation,” Mr Chhang said.
Mr Jeldres said that the decision to hand the documents and materials to DC-Cam was made because he believes doing so will contribute to the Kingdom.
“I want to give something back to Cambodia.I think DC-Cam can take care of these important documents as well as make them available for research,” Mr. Jeldres said.
“They are not only important for DC-Cam, but they are also important for the study of Cambodia because these are all about Cambodia’s contemporary history.”
“The books I’ve donated were from the 1950s, some are also in print, I have been collecting over 50 years,” he added.
“I think it will be useful for students, history or Cambodia international relations.”
“I donated documents that I used for my books that I wrote of my PhD, declassified documents from many archives from Sweden, Norway, Australia, Britain, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and so on.”
“Some of the documents are in English, some are in French, and some are also in German, Norwegian and some were never translated.”
Mr Jeldres noted the most interesting documents are about King Sihanouk in the 1950s and 60s as he tried to secure peace for the Kingdom.
“These are the most interesting periods about Cambodia, Cambodia was internationally respected.”
“The King Father lived in exile in China from 1970 to 1975 and then again from 1979 until 1991 before the Paris Peace Agreement,” Mr Jeldres said.
“I then documented the Paris Conferences.”
“I am sure that these documents will help us to understand Cambodia’s history and what the King Father tried to do was protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cambodia,” Mr Jeldres added.
According to Khmer Times, DC-Cam will digitize the documents and materials and place copies in six provincial research centres with the Education Ministry.