Long Boret (Khmer: ឡុង បូរ៉េត, pronounced [loŋ boureːt]; 3 January 1933 – 17 April 1975) was a Cambodian politician who served as the last prime minister of the Khmer Republic from 26 December 1973, to 17 April 1975. Highly regarded for his honesty,[1] he tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a peace settlement with the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Civil War. He was later arrested by the Khmer Rouge and executed. He is one of two prime ministers to die in office, the other being Chan Sy.

Long Boret
ឡុង បូរ៉េត
Prime Minister of the Khmer Republic
In office
26 December 1973 (1973-12-26) – 17 April 1975 (1975-04-17)
PresidentLon Nol
Saukham Khoy
Sak Sutsakhan
Preceded byIn Tam
Succeeded byPenn Nouth
Minister of Information
In office
11 March 1971 – 18 March 1972
Prime MinisterLon Nol
Sisowath Sirik Matak
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 October 1972 – 26 December 1973
Prime MinisterHang Thun Hak
In Tam
Preceded bySon Ngoc Thanh
Succeeded byKeuky Lim
Personal details
Born(1933-01-03)3 January 1933
Kandal, Cambodia, French Indochina
Died17 April 1975(1975-04-17) (aged 42)
Phnom Penh, Khmer Republic
Cause of deathExecuted
Political partySocial Republican Party

Early lifeEdit

Long was born in Chbar Ampéou near Phnom Penh in Kandal Province, Cambodia, the son of Long Meas and Neang Ieng Buth. He attended the prestigious Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh from 1946 to 1952,[2] studied in France from 1953 to 1955, then returned to Cambodia to work in the Royal Treasury.

Political careerEdit

In 1958 he was elected to parliament as MP for Stung Treng Province, and was the youngest MP in parliament.[3] He served briefly in 1958 as Deputy Secretary of State for Labor and Social Action and was re-elected to Parliament in 1962. During this period he became known as the author of romance stories, many of which were serialized in newspapers.[4] He was appointed State Secretary for Finance but he publicly opposed the decision in November 1963 by Norodom Sihanouk to nationalize banks and foreign trade, and was forced to resign. He retained his parliamentary seat in the 1966 elections. He was the Information Minister from 1971 to 1972 and the Foreign Minister from 1972 to 1973.

Prime Minister of CambodiaEdit

On December 9, 1973, he succeeded In Tam to become Prime Minister of Cambodia. On April 2, 1974, he became one of four members of an executive board composed, in addition to Long Boret, of Lon Nol, Sisowath Sirik Matak and General Sosthene Fernandez.

On April 8, 1975, he attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate a peace settlement in Bangkok with representatives of the Khmer Rouge.[5]

Arrest and executionEdit

Long Boret remained in office until the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975. US Ambassador John Gunther Dean recalls that, unlike many government officials who fled Phnom Penh, Long chose to remain behind despite being on a death list announced from Beijing by Norodom Sihanouk:

Long Boret refused to be evacuated. He was a competent, able man, much younger than Lon Nol or Sirik Matak. When I personally went to see him on April 12, the very morning of our evacuation, to ask him to take his wife and himself and his young children out of Phnom Penh because I feared for his safety, he thanked me but [said he] thought his life was not in danger.[6]

General Sak Sutsakhan recalled that on the morning of April 17 Long decided to take his family and leave the city.[7] Both General Sak and the journalist Jon Swain[8] reported that Long and his family were unable to board the last helicopter flying out of the city.[9] In his memoir, Danger Zones, Ambassador Dean stated that:

Long Boret had stayed in Cambodia, thinking that he could have some kind of dialogue with the Khmer Rouge. When he realized that that was impossible, he raced to the airport with his family in a jeep to try and get out of the country. When they arrived at the airport, they got on a helicopter with some military officers. One officer brutally shoved him off the helicopter. The copter took off. The Khmer Rouge captured Long Boret and his family and killed them all.[10]

Long Boret was last seen by Jon Swain, Sydney Schanberg and Dith Pran outside the French Embassy. Swain reported:

...a black Citroën[11] pulled up and Long Boret got out, his eyes puffy and red, his face empty of expression. When we asked him how he was, he muttered a short, incoherent sentence. His thoughts were elsewhere. Dazed, legs wobbling, he surrendered to the Khmer Rouge and joined the line of prisoners. I could not fail to admire his courage.[8]

Schanberg gave a more detailed description of the scene:

Long Boret arrives in a car driven by his wife...he looks wretched. His eyes are puffed. He stares at the ground. He...knows what faces him. I want to get away but I feel I must say something to him, and Pran understands. I take Long Boret's hands and tell him what a brave thing he has done for his country and that I admire him for it. Pran takes his hands too...Long Boret tries to respond but cannot. Finally he mumbles 'Thank you.' And we must leave him.[12]

Soon after, Koy Thuon, a Khmer Rouge deputy front commander, organized the "Committee for Wiping Out Enemies" at the Hotel Monorom (11°34′12″N 104°55′05″E / 11.57°N 104.918°E / 11.57; 104.918). Its first action was ordering the immediate execution of Lon Nol and other leading government figures. Long Boret was executed on the grounds of the Cercle Sportif in Phnom Penh. Khmer Rouge Radio subsequently reported that he had been beheaded[13] but other reports indicate that he and Sisowath Sirik Matak were executed by firing squad.[14]

Key datesEdit

Dec. 9, 1973 – Long Boret becomes Prime Minister of the Khmer Republic: Dec. 9, 1973—April 17, 1975

April 1, 1974 – The High Political Council that dissolved a day earlier was replaced by a four-man executive council: Lon Nol, Sirik Matak, Long Boret and General Sosthene Fernandez.

June 17, 1974 – Long Boret forms a new 16-member Cabinet.

March 11, 1975 – President Lon Nol orders Prime Minister Long Boret to form a new cabinet and eliminates the post of commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

April 8, 1975 – PM Long Boret holds unsuccessful peace talks with Khmer Rouge representatives in Bangkok.

April 17, 1975 – Long Boret surrenders to the Khmer Rouge in front of the French Embassy and is executed the same day.


  1. ^ George McTurnan Kahin, Southeast Asia: a Testament, Routledge, 2003, p. 336.
  2. ^ Thompson LC. Refugee Workers in the Indochina Exodus, 1975-1982. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co, 2010, p. 37.
  4. ^ Corfield JJ. The history of Cambodia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood Press, 2009, p. 64.
  5. ^ Long Boret
  6. ^ Interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy on September 6, 2000: John Gunther Dean on his experience as US Ambassador to Cambodia, 1974-75, p. 27.
  7. ^ Sutsakhan, Lt. Gen. S. The Khmer Republic at War and the Final Collapse Washington DC: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1987, p. 169. Part 3 Archived 2018-01-24 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Swain J. River of Time. London: Heinemann, 1995, p. 135.
  9. ^ Isaacs AR. Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, p. 286.
  10. ^ Dean, John Gunther. Danger Zones: A Diplomat's Fight for America's Interests. Washington DC: New Academia Publishing, 2009, pp. 109-110.
  11. ^ Justin Corfield says it was a white Mercedes. Justin Corfield, Khmers stand up!: a history of the Cambodian government 1970-1975, Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1994, p. 230.
  12. ^ Sydney Schanberg, The Death and Life of Dith Pran. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Penguin, 1985, p. 26.
  13. ^ Becker E. When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution. New York: PublicAffairs, 1998, p. 160 & 193: "...Reportedly one of the very first acts of the communists was to behead [Boret] on the lawns of the private Cercle Sportif Country Club."
  14. ^ Jackson KD. Cambodia, 1975-1978: Rendezvous with Death. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 184.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Cambodia
Succeeded by