COMMUNIST REACTIONS TO CERTAIN POSSIBLE U.S. COURSES OF ACTION WITH RESPECT TO

Created: 1/25/1955

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51

SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

NUMBER 5

COMMUNIST REACTIONS TO CERTAIN POSSIBLE US COURSES OF ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THE ISLANDS OFF THE COAST OF CHINA

by tha

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAMRELEASE IN FULL

Deputy

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE The following organizations participated in the preparation of this ctttmatt: The Central Intelligence Agency and the Intelligence organisations ot the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.y the INTELLIGENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE on Jioncurring tt.ee the Special Assistant, Intelligence, Department of State; thc AtiUlant Chief of StaO. OJ, Department of the Army; thc Director of Naval intelligence; the Director cf Intelligtmrc. vsaf; and the

for Intelligence. The Joint Slu0. See. hoio-

ever, the footnotes taken by various mcmOers to specifiche Atomic Energy Commission Rcprcii'ttattve to the IAC and the Assistant to the D'.-ecior, federal Bureau of tnocstigatton, abstained, the subtcct being oo*Mdc of thetr

tb'iidictian.

i

CKNTliAL LNTELIJGENCE AGENCY

DISSEMINATION

estimate was disseminated by the Central Intelligence Agency. Thisfor the information and use of the recipient indicated on the front cover and ofunder his jurisdictioneed to know basis. Additional essentialbe authorized by the following officials within their respective departments:

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WARNING

InforomUon

This dociosnt has been approved for release through

the historical, Barns rao&Jffl Of

the Central IRtaUigenco Assaey.

noib

OnS the Director ot Central Intelligence submitted to the National Securityentral Intelligence Agencyentitled "Reactions to Certain Possible VS Courses of Action with Respect to the Islands Of) the Coast of China."

Subsequently, and after the President's message to the Congress ofanuary, thc Intelligence Advisory Committee considered the Central Intelligence Agency memorandumoordinated estimate wascovering those paragraphs which had not been rendered moot by the adoption of the policy set forth in the President's message.of this estimate is being made to alt recipients of the original memorandum so lhat they may have the benefit of the viezos of the entire intelligence community.

The offshore island situation will again be reviewed by the Intelligence Advisory Committee subsequent to action by the Congress and when it will be possible to reappraise this situation in the light of reactions to the policy set forth in the President's message and the actions taken thereunder.

COMMUNIST REACTIONS TO CERTAIN POSSIBLE US COURSES OF ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THE ISLANDS OFF THE COAST OF CHINA

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

To estimate Communist reactions lo certain US courses of actions taken inwith the President's message lo the Congress on5 and Joint' introduced in the House onpecifically,reactions to the following US courses of action: (a) the US to persuade the Chinese Nationalists to withdraw their forces from the offshore islands with theof the Quemoys and possibly Matsus and to assist this withdrawal with US armed forces; <b) the US to assist the Chinese Nationalists with US armed forces to defend the Quemoys and possibly the Matsus from Chinese Communist attacks,appropriate military action against mainland forces and installationssupporting Communist attacks, pending action by the UN to restore peace andin thc general area.

ASSUMPTION

Congressional approval of tlie President's request

Resolved by the Senate and House ofof the United State* of America In Congress assembled. Uiat the President or the United States be and he hereby ls authorised toUM Armra Forces of the United State* as he deems necessary for the specific purpose ofand protectinc Formosa and the Pescadores against armed atuck. thiso include the securing snd protection of *aeh related pan-bon* and terntories of thai area no* in

hands and Uie taldhg of such other measures a* he judges to be required or appropriate Inihe defense of Formosa and the Pescadores

This nrsoluuon shall expire when tht PreUdenl shall determine that the peace and security ol HWis reasonably assured by international condiucns created br aeUon of the United Na-Uoni or otherwise, and shall so report to Iht Omni

ESTIMATE

Reactions

Chinese Communists willto reiterate their contention thatof the oflshore islands, as well asand the Pescadores,omesticwill seek to propagandizeagainst the US. stressing USaggressive intent, and desire totension in the Far East9the Communists will probablyportray any Nationalist evacuationemonstration ofweakness, and as evidence ofof US support. Thesewill probably be reflected Inpropaganda worldwide.

believe It Is unlikely that thewould deliberately attack US forcesIn the evacuation of Nationalistbul the possibilityeriousbe excluded.

'Special Assistant. Intelligence, Department of Slate, behoves that this paragraph, in aCdiUor. la indicating how Uie Chines* Comrnomsts would attempt to exploit tins aeUon propaganda wise, should also estimate how Ihey would In factthis count of action. Tlie Specialwould therefore beginith lhc following sentence: The Chinese Communists. Imbued with llie suspicions Uut historically have characterized aggressors, will almost certainly view this action as further evidence ol USand aggressive Intent against Communist China "

"The Deputy Director for Intelligence. The Joint StaR. and the Direcior of Naval Inielligence.lhal this paragraph should read as follows 'The manne: In which the posited US policy Is being adopted, wllh full discussion In lhcand prior Congressional acquiescence In Uie use ol force In defending Taiwan, the Pescadores, and inch onshore islands as were deemedin thc defense of Formosa, would seemingly remove Irorr. the minds ot Communist leaders any doubts as to the consequences of aggression against these positions Under these conditions, thc Communists, although quickly seizingol evacuated Islands, would be unlikely io assault thc emaining In NaUonabst

e believe that even after Congressional approval the Communists will continueactions against major offshore islands to test US Intentions. If the Communists were convinced that the US was determined tothe seizurearticular island position even to the extent of attacking mainland targets or retaking any lost islandthey would probably bcdcterrexl from attempting such seizure in the near future. However, they would probably continuennd attempts to subvert tlie garrison. They would also continue efforts to discredit and Isolate the US on the issue of the islands and on thc over-all issue of Taiwan and the

A The Communists will remain firm in their intention to lake the offshore islands. Over lhe longer run, as their capabilities Increase, and especially If world and US opinionunfavorable to strong US counteraction.

hey would almost certainly continue cSorts to discredit and isolate the US cm the over-all issue as wen as concerning thoseIslands remaining In NaUonaUst hands.ong period of time, and depending upon the resoluUon wllh which Uie posited US policy was maintained, they might be tempted to put US Intentions to test For lhc shorl term,the risk of war in Uie Far Easi would hove been decreased, not Increased."

'The Special Assistant. Intelligence. Department ot Slate, and the Assislant Chief of. Department of the Army, believe lhathould read as foUows' 'The Chinesewould probably not Uke action that they believed would lead to full-scale war with lhc US, but they would be unlikely lo believe Uiat tho seizure of any offshore Island, oven If tho US has Indicated It would defend Uie Island, would lead to full-Kale war They would probably not be deterred by [earurely local ln*oitorr.cnl If. therefore, the Chinese Communists estimated that they had the capabilityo overrun any ol the oflshore islands, they would probably attempt lo use that capability ln any event, they would probably ronUnue probing action and attempts to subvert Uio garrison "

acit&s

Communists will probably become Inceas-Ingly Impatient and less cautious in theirowever. Ihey would almostrefrain from actions that they believed would lead to full-scale war with the US. but thc danger would remain that Pci'plng might miscalculate the extent of US reaction.1'

f US forces should launch major attacks against mainland targets, the Chinesewould probably counter with their full remaining capabilities against the attack-

ing forces and bases from which attacks were launched. If the US became Involved in large-scale fighting with Communist China. Pel'ptng would probably do all in Its power to make the Sino-Soviet treaty operative. The USSR would almost certainly try lo keep theunder control but ln the last analysis would give the Chinese Communistslocal military support appearedlo preserve the Suio-Soviet alliance and prevent the destruction of the regime.'

Deputy Director for Intelligence, Tlie Joint Staff, believes Uiat the last sentence should read as follows. "White they would probably refrain from action that they beUeved would lead to full-Kale war. Ihey might miscalculate Uielhal would brine about US reacUon Should this occur, tbe nature and extent ol this reaction would presumably be sufficientlyto discourage early repetlUon ofenture."

'The Special Assistant. Intelligence. Department of Suu. and tbc Assistant Chief of. Department of Uie Army, believe that, ln spite ol US guarantees and Uie threat of Involvement in conflict with the US. the Chinese Communists sooner or later might take military acUon, notesult of miscalculations, againstoffshore islands, and would, therefore, rephrase lhebrnee asThev wouid not be likely to take actions thai ihey wcrr convinced would lead lo full-scale war with the US However, if they believed that they had the capability quickly to overrun one or more of

the defended islands. Uie Chinese Communist* might well attempt lo exercise their estimated

capability."

* The Deputy Director for InteUigence. Thc Joint Siaf. would substitute the following alter the fust sentence: "It should be expected thaiommunist eapabililies would be materially impaired in the course of the action Uiat would ensue Under these circumstances. Uie Chinese Communists would look to Moscow and the Sino-Soviet treaty as Uieir remaining hope SpeclZc USSH rraruon would be baaed upon sober Soviet judgment at to the probability of victory without crippling damage in general war with the US Thc USSR does not now desire. noT feel that ii could win, such general war. While Uie USSH tnighl attempt to give the Chinese Communists local military support In order to pieteni the destrueUon of the regime, such support would probably Uie re fore be confined to increased loeisUc aid and to the commitment of naval, air. and air defense forces not readily Identifiable as bcloneiim to the USSR "

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