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27/ Thion writes to Congressman Hoke


October 9, 1995
Congressman Martin R. HOKE (Ohio)
Washington, D. C., USA

Dear Mr. Congressman,

I am a French scholar whose professional specialization is Indochinese history. I happen to be in possession of a copy of a fac-simile of a letter you are supposed to have sent to your colleagues in Congress, including the draft of a letter addressed to the Secretary of State, in which you took the liberty to indulge in calumny about myself and my work.

I here provide a copy of this document, in which you apparently write that I have been "a leading supporter of the Khmer Rouge from 1972-78". I consider this as being a complete lie and a counter-truth. I surmise that you took your despicable information from an individual named S. Morris, whom you describe as a "Harvard professor", another lie. This one at least was easy to check from your office.

Here is the copy of the document in my possession:

Congressman Martin R. Hoke
Tenth District, Ohio

May 3, 1995


Dear Colleague:

The oped piece by Stephen Morris, which appears on the back of this letter, says it all. The State Department has wasted $500,000 on a research grant to Yale University's Ben Kiernan to study Cambodian history. Kiernan is the notorious pro-Khmer Rouge "journalist" who defended Pol Pot's genocidal revolution at every opportunity. Yet this extremist is the person the State Dept. believes can produce an authoritative study on Cambodian history.

I have drafted the following letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher protesting this outrageous misappropriation of taxpayer money, asking that the grant be withdrawn and the process re-opened. If you would like to sign on or if you have questions, please contact Joe Eule (?) of my staff at 5-5871.

Very truly yours

(signed) Martin R. Hoke
Member of Congress

Honorable Warren Christopher
Secretary of State
U. S. State Department
Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. Secretary,

We are writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to withdraw the $500,000 grant awarded to Yale University for a project on Cambodia headed by Ben Kiernan. Given Kiernan's extremely controversial and unorthodox views on Cambodian history, we have serious doubts as to whether he could possibly produce any research on the subject that would be anything but highly suspect. Indeed, we fail to see the wisdom in spending half a million dollars of the taxpayers money on a project that, once complete, will likely become a source of controversy instead of an authoritative resource and would lack credibility within the academic and foreign affairs communities and in Congress.

According to Harvard professor Stephen Morris, Kiernan was "one of the Khmer Rouge's most ardent defenders during Pol Pot's reign of terror." While he may now disavow those [illeg.] he still apparently supports a Vietnamese-backed Khmer Rouge faction that is now part of the government in Phnom Penh. He has also maintained a close professional relationship with French radical Serge Thion, a leading supporter of the Khmer Rouge from 1972-78 as well as the holder of revisionist views on the Holocaust. And just as recently as 1986 he edited a book celebrating the life of Wilfred Burchett, the infamous left-wing Australian "journalist" who was a propagandist for both the North Koreans and the North Vietnamese (according to Stanley Karnow, Burchett also advised the North Vietnamese).

In short, we simply cannot believe that there aren't other teams capable of producing a more scholarly products tha[n] Kiernan's. We should therefore urge you to withdraw the Yale award and re-open the grant process.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

My first question is: Did you write this letter?

My second question is: Did you send the intended letter to the Secretary of State?

If the answer to both these question is "yes", my third question is:

Are you prepared to produce documentary evidence of what you have said about me (without knowing me at all) in a US or French court ?

The fourth question is:

If you are not in a position to prove the factuality of your calumnies concerning me, are you prepared to a conciliatory litigation whereby I could accept your offer of a US $100,000 (only) as a settlement of my claim ?

You understand that a quick answer is needed.

Truly yours


(So far, by mid-November 95, there was no reply)


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