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Salient. Newspaper of the Victoria University Students' Association. Vol 42 No. 8. April 23 1979

Pol Pot: an Interview

Pol Pot: an Interview

March last year, a Yugosiav [unclear: list] conducted an interview [unclear: ol] Pot, Prime Minister of De-[unclear: tic] Kampuchea. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Pol Pot

Pol Pot

[unclear: ted] comrade Pol Pot, you are going [unclear: o] celebrate the third anniversary of [unclear: ration] of your country. Please tell [unclear: t] the outstanding achievements [unclear: during] last three years have been.

It is a pleasure for me to answer question. During these past [unclear: cars], we have got a number of [unclear: sairy] results in the restoration and [unclear: ion] of our country. But, first of [unclear: juld] like to say that we still have work to do.

first outstanding result is that we [unclear: lved] the agricultural problem, [unclear: estimate] in rice-growing To have the [unclear: probice] production solved means to have rice to feed our people. In 1976, [unclear: ined] to get a yield of 3 tons of [unclear: padhectare]. We achieved 80 to 90 per this objective, which allowed us to [unclear: e] the living conditions of our [unclear: people] also export more rice.

[unclear: 1977], we planned a yield of 3 tons of [unclear: jer] hectare for one crop and of 6 tons [unclear: tare] for two crops a year. We fulfilled [unclear: n] at nearly 100 per cent. Therefore, we had a paddy production higher at in 1976.

slogan says: "If we have rice, we can [unclear: erything,]" because our people can eat [unclear: ll], we have rice to export and we can the products we need. The results [unclear: d] in the agricultural production i.e. basis of the fundamental hydraulic [unclear: s] that we have already achieved. The [unclear: ic] projects are important [unclear: re] in the future, the agricultural and [unclear: duction] will be satisfactory.

[unclear: ther] outstanding result is that we have [unclear: ted] malaria which was a scourge for [unclear: lan] 80 per cent of our compatriots. In the past, every year, the number of people suffering from malaria was very high and they faced many difficulties in their work. Now, we have eliminated 90% of the malaria So; the living conditions of our people have been considerably improving in the area of health.

Photo of members of the Kampuchean People's Army

Another outstanding result is the basic elimination of the illiteracy which was a blemish in the former society. In that society there were indeed, faculties, high schools, secondary schools and primary schools in the cities. But the majority of the people in the country side were illiterate.

Now, we have fundamentally solved this problem. Our people can read and write. That is the basis which allows our people to progressively increase their cultural level. Now, rather than for just a small group, there is education for everyone.

As for the other results, they are less important, but I would like to tell you that we have established and developed a sanitary network throughout the country. Each co-operative has its own medical centre and its own centre for making traditional, national and popular medicines. This has allowed us to greatly improve the health of the people.

During our short stay in your country, we have had some evidence that your revolution is radically cut off from the past.

What model of society are you building up now?

Pol Pot: We have no model in building up our new society. The Special National Congress held at the end of April 1975 clearly specified the determinant role in the revolution, in the national liberation war, played by the worker and peasant people, who formed the overwhelming majority of Kampuchea.

It is the workers and peasants who have endured the heaviest burden in the revolution. It is then the same workers and peasants who must enjoy most the gains of the revolution, at present and in the future. Our aspiration is to edify a society where happiness, prosperity and equality prevail for everybody, a society where there are neither exploiting classes nor exploited classes, neither exploiting people nor exploited people, and where everybody participates in production works and national defence. It is on these bases and goals that we are edifying our new society.

If the people consider that the edification of this society is the correct way, then they will carry on in this way. On the contrary, if they are not satisfied they would then decide differently. It is their decision.

According to our experiences, we totally rely on our people, in the revolution as well as in the national liberation war.

If the people undertake to do something by themselves, everything can be achieved, but if not, we could achieve nothing without them. That is to say that we have no preconceived model of a new society.

If we have understood you. Democratic Kampuchea faces many problems and difficulties of all kinds with her neighbours. What is your opinion and how could you solve these problems and overcome the present difficulties?

The main difficulty is that we have abided by the position of independence, sovereignity and self-reliance, and of deciding by ourselves our own destiny. This position runs counter to some countries, that is the expansionists and the imperialists. But we assess that in abiding by this position of independence, so—vereignty and self reliance our difficulties are less serious than those we would face if the nation and the people of Kampuchea were subjugated or disappeared. Therefore, we prefer to stand by our position of independence, soveriegnty, territorial integrity, of non alignment, of deciding by ourselves our own destiny in overcoming all obstacles.

How to solve these difficulties? This problem would depend on the factors on our side and those against us. We have successively sought to solve this problem through meetings and negotiations. Immediately after liberation in June 1975, other comrade leaders and I went to Hanoi. We decided to go and show our good will in seeking to solve the problems which have existed for a long time. There were many problems, but the main one, the problem of borders had been discussed

We said that Kampuchea wants only to live in peace and, in order to preserve, develop and strengthen the friendship between our two countries and peoples, she considers as state borders between the two countries the present borders that Vietnam solemnly recognised in 1966-7 as the state borders between the two countries, and committed itself to respect them. We have not claimed our former islands. We have not claimed even [unclear: arch] of territory.

The Vietnamese did not deign to reply for they have fostered greater ambitions, that is to take possession of all of Kampuchea under the form of an "Indochina Federation" by sending, each year, many hundreds of thousands into Kampuchea. In thirty years or more, the people of Kampuchea would become a national minority. That is very clear.

In May 1976, we invited the Vietnamese to come and negotiate in Phnom Penh. At first, they did not want to come. When they arrived, they said that they were coming because we had insisted on inviting them to come. During the negotiations. Vietnam rejected the borders that it recognised in 1966 and 1967 and that it had committed itself to respect. Vietnam told us that in 1966 it agreed with Kampuchea for at that time it needed us to fight against the US imperialists. Therefore it was a dupery. Furthermore, Vietnam has proposed a new borderline cutting off a great part of our territorial waters. To us, that is expansionism and annexationism. That is no friendship. Because we are small, Vietnam has exerted pressure on us. But we have not accepted it and the negotiations did not lead to any result.

At the same time, the Vietnamese continued to attack us along the border aiming at forcing us to comply with them. But we have always refused. After having waged a hard struggle against the imperialists and their lackeys, we cannot accept to be slaves of Vietnam. Our people will not accept it.

Now, how to solve this problem? We will solve it in accordance to the concrete situation. If Vietnam really respects our independence and soveriegnty, if Vietnam fosters a genuine friendship with us, there would be no difficulties in solving the problem. This problem could be solved at once. But if Vietnam stubbornly wants to take possession of Kampuchea, we must defend our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. But we consider that our difficulties will evolve and could be solved progressively.

First of all, we have mobilised our forces to resolutely defend our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. To this end, the entire people are united and have redoubled their endeavours to increase production, improve their standards of living, increase exports in order to accumulate more and more capital for national defence and edification.

At the same time, we think that the Democratic Kampuchea's friends in the world stand by our side and their number has been further increased. We are of the opinion that there are a lot countries which cherish independence and some of them have a firm position of independence. [unclear: Yangoslavia] is an example. These independence - and - justice-loving countries progressively and clearly discern those who are right from those who are wrong, those who want peace and friendship from those who are expansionists and aggressors.