CAMBODIA: The King Steps Down

It was siesta time in Pnompenh, the capital of faraway Cambodia (pop. 4,500,000). No tamarind leaves stirred in the bright blue sky. In the monasteries saffron-robed Buddhist monks recited their scriptures; in the shuttered bazaars few bothered to tune their radios to a surprise communication from King Norodom Sihanouk, 32, their saxophone-playing monarch who had won Cambodia's independence from the French. "As your King," King" Norodom was saying, "I can no longer be useful to you. I beg you, permit me to leave my gilded cage."

In low-voiced Khmer, the recorded voice of King Norodom continued: "I announce publicly my...

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