. national intelligence estimate
THE EFFECTS OF CERTAIN iOSSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS ON THE MILITARY SECURITY AND POLITICAL STABILITY OF LAOS AND CAMBODIA4
Tha Intelligence Adttiom Committee concurred In, thli uttmoteune jim AIC anS /Ml abtUitntd, tha ruoiect being ntrtdehe* jwwwto-v
tne rcOenetni number <rf*tieHoni c/ tht tnteViaenet Atmarpe4 ittth the Centrainey In Ike prtpfatlon at thla titimata: Tha tnftUloenca orgtnUatione of ia* Oepa-tmenU al State, tha Armp, lha Havt, Via AU- farce, and Tha Joint stag.
toeutnfma - ..
central intelligence agency
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THE EFFECTS OF CERTAIN POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENTS ON THE MILITARY SECURITY AND POLITICAL STABILITY OF LAOS AND CAMBODIA4
To examine the present military lecurity and pobtical stability ol Laos andand to estimate the effect vhich certain possible developments might nave upon their security and stability'
*ti* supplied IciDUUlftOM
Viet Minn forces are operating In Laos and Cambodia, but do not currentlyan Imminent threat to the existence of the native governments. However, this is so only because the security ot Laos andupported by French regular forces and extensive French asslsUnce to the native forces.
Communism has thus far made little progress In either Laos or Cambodia. Nevertheless, both countries are miner-able to Communist pressures because of their military weakness and uncertain political stability.
Substantial Communist militaryIn Vietnam would probably lead to an early collapse or disintegration of authority In Laos and Cambodia unless outside assistance or security guarantees assured their protection.
egotiated settlement placed the Communistsosition which would enable them eventually, out notto dominate Vietnam, thedanger to Laos and Cambodia would be less and the Laotian and Cambodian Governments could probably maintain control for some time.
f,esultegotiatedthe Communists covering all of Indochina, French and Viet Minhunits were actually withdrawn from Laos and Cambodia (leaving Viet Minh irregular forces still operating in thoseative forces could probably preserve for some time approximately the present degree of security and stability in Cambodiaertain minimumand stab'lity In Laos, provided French cadres and the piesent scale and nature of French material aid remained available to the native armies. However, Such an agreement with the Communists wojM be extremely difficult, if notto implement and police, and In these circumstances the native armies could probably not for long successfully resist the Viet Minh without increased outside support
utside support took the formecurity system involving multinational guarantees for the security of Laos and Cambodia and could be implemented in time, that would probably permit Laos and Cambodia to maintain their security. We believe that the requirement* of such asecurltyajstemwouldbe: (a) adequate MDAT-type aid; (b) effective protective forces appropriately located in the area; and (c) assurance of assistance in the event of internal subversion as well as external attack. The success of the above measures, In the 'ong run, wouk! alsothe maintenance and developmentolitical and psychologicalwhic'a would motivate thepeoples against Communism.
/ Laos and Cambodia were poiti-tioned, the will of the non-Communist remnants to maintain their Independence would greatly decrease, and their ability to do so would be weakened because of the new establishment In those countries of strong and legalized CommunistUnder such circumstancesnothing but military occupation of those countries would assure theirfreedom from Communist control.
THE PRESENT SITUATION IN LAOS
AND CAMSOOIA Mililory Security
s Viet Minh forces are operating In Laos and Cambodia, but do not currently present an Imminent Uveal to the existence at the native governments. However, this Is so onlythe security of Laos and Cambodia is supported by French regular forces and tt-UruUve French assistance to the native forces.
inh regular troops In Laosegular Vict Minh divisions and arcict Minh regional feces, scattered throughout Laos, arc predominantly Vietnamese, but include la> Hans at /ell.regional troops haveonducted guerilla type operations at company levelare consldercJ equal tn effectiveness to companies of the LaotianArmy. They could be easily organised Into larger units,onsequent increase
MSN way* is
L PreachCorps flaelud-Ii iUotiin troops) .SON let tra twtn to be
V. Laouu KsUmsJ0
m ihrii capabilities. There arc no known wmrf Don-Communlit dlasldcrt forces In
detent- of Laos has dependedartty on Vrenrh Expeditionary forces.ii.iMary reasons, the French may il anyor Increase Ihe pteitnt alrength ofuniU In that country. If liKhreduced substantiallybe Krlouily expoaed to Vict Minhor eubvrrslon.
ationaliganUcd tnto ill infantry bat-
even light lnfanlry battalions, and one parachute battalion. The combatof the Armya only fair.
It la Inadequately trained and lacksnative officeri and NCO's TbeKatlonal Ousrd la poorly trained and equipped.
II The Laotian military establishmenta'.mott entirely on outside support. Francendirectly, the IS) furnishes all equipment and almost all the necessary funds. The French train, advise, and tactically direct the Laotian forces. All French Expeditionary and Laotian National Army troops In the country are under French operational com-jiandrench ofl.ceu and HOO's serve In the Laotian Katlonal Army, and French oAccra occupy moat field grade positions.
RoyalUftonat and MlUUa Katlonal Guard StmlmlUtary
wo Viet Minh regular battalions, organiciet Minh division, are now In northeast Cambodia. These troops are Vietnamesewho entered Cambodia inn addition, small units of Viet Minh regulars, regional troopa. and miiiiic. are scattered throughout Cambodia The cot bitof these regional and Pi ttrctx is generally only fair, but Uioe* east of the ateaong River will probably bv raised lo
A. rrrnch taped. Uonary Corpa (Irxlwd-injambodian troopt)
ll.COO IB WO
higher standard of organlialion and training before the end
here are also In Cambodia severalarmed non Communist dissidents, who are followers of the nationalist leader. Son Kgoc Thanh.
1ft. The Cambodian Royal Army,a organised into Un regular Infantry, one parachute, and three light Infantry Cambodian armed fores* are heavily
dependent on the French Tor finance,training, andhough leu aohe case In Laos. However, theOovernment exercises much greater command responsibilities than does thelen Oovernment. Flench officers and NCO's, who formerly served In the Royal Army, are at present in the process of being withdrawn. The Cambodian King has full administrative control over all Royal forces, and operational command weal of the Mekong River. Ifl The Cambodian Royal Army la reasonably well equipped and trained, butumber of deficiencies, chief among whichack of adequate numbers of trained officers andow standard of discipline andIn the officer corps, and tt almost paralytic defenslvemlndedness. In lime, the effectiveness of the Royal Army mayesult of the efforts of Oeneral-Khlek Tioulong, recently appointed by the King as Defense Minister, Chief of Staff, andhlcf of the armed forces.
IT. The political situation in both Laos and Cambodia Is uncertain, but at present Isquiet In Cambodia, the royalk held In high regard by Iheo. have traditionally accepted monarchlaland Ue King li personally popular. Moreover, Cambodiaigh degree of cultural, ethnic, and religious homogeneity. In Laos, the population Isilieal. In neither country Is there any appreciable economic or social unrest. In bothraditionoverning elite subordinate to the throne attracts moat educated Laotians and Cambodians lo government service.ommunism has thus far made little progress in either Laos or Cambodia The VietIs ur popular in both countriesIts members arc Vietnamese, who are heartily dlaliked by both the Laotians and the Cambodians. Communist sponsored "free governments" and "independence forces" ln Laos and Cambodia are viewed as parts of the Viet Minh and thus havd evoked tittle supportvase countries. Communist politicalis believed lo be minimal outside those areas firmly occupied by Viet Minh forces, The "nationalist" appeal of the ComrnvnlsU, which has been relatively successful Inhas been blunted in Laos by tha general political inertness of the eot-qtry, and inby the vigorous nationalist efforts of the KJOf,
The Cambodian Government derivesdomestic support from the fact that ll Is anti-French. The Laotian Oovernment. on ine other hand. Is outwardly pro-Fiench. but this policy does nol adversely affect the government* domestic strength.
However, both Laos and Cambodia arclo Communist pressures, chieflyof thrlr military weakness Moreover, In times of crisis their political leadership is often unpredictable, especially In Cambodia. There hasidespread tendency in both countries to regard the war against the Vict Mmh as being "someone else'sn addition, Ihe Communists may be able at any time to lake advantage of the fact thai in Laos, and especially in Cambodia, there are rival cliques presently contending for political power.
ource of weakness In Cambodia is the existence of non-Communist dissldence. The principal disident ts Son Hgoc Thanh, who is believed to be essentially an independentremier of Cambodia under the Japanese during World War II, Thanh tstoatent political following throughout the country, particularly among Students, intellectual groups, and younger army officers who see In him the embodiment of Cambodian independence eapiratlons-Thanh's political Influence has been sapped in recent months by the nationalist efforts of the Xing, but is still far greater than thesise of his present armed following would sugtesL Cambodia's political stability would be greatly enhanced if he should rally to the government, but his future behavior cannot be predicted and It Is conceivable that he might Join forces with 'he Viet Minh In addition to Thanh, thereumber ofer dissident leaders who have rallied lo the Xing, but who continue to enjoy warlord Uke "autonomous" powers In certain regions of
Cambodia These people are essentiallywhose future loyally cannot be
hree are no significant nonCommunlit dissident group* in Laos. However,ctsarath. now resident In Thailand, Isto the Laotian throne and has at times been reported to beoup d'etat
n. tmi inter Of certaink
DfVfclOPMENTS ON the SfCURITV AND STABIUTY Of LAOS AND caaasowa'
future security and stability ofCambodia will almost certainly beby outside developments. The fatekingdoms will be largely Axed, notown efforts, butumber offarters, chief among which ara(a) the trend of developments In<b) the scale and nature ofgiven the governments of Laosand (cj the nature andViet Minh military and polillralthose countries.
In Vietnam will have aneffect on Lao* and Cambodia. nor.-Communist position Intend U> assure military securitystability However. If key areasfell to theressureand Cambodia would be greatly In* The military capabilities ofare ao alight lhat they wouldrequest outside aid to defend if such aid were not ImmediatelyLaos wuuld be quickly overrun, orwould seekambodia might holdbut In the end It too would besurrender or accommodate. If asettlement placed the Communists Inwhich would enable themnot Immediately, to dominateImmediate danger to Lao* and Cambodia
would be less and ihe Laotian and Cambodian Oovernn-enla could probably maintain control for acme lira*.
ii. If,esultegotiated agreement with the Communist* covering all of Vide-china. French and Viet Minh regular units were actually withdrawn from Laos and Cam' bodia (leavingh irregular fon.es still operating In thoseative forces could probably preserve for some timethe present degree of security andIn Cambodiaertain minimum security and stability In Laos, provided French cadre* inc. the present scale and nature of French material aid remained available to the native armies. However, such an agreement with the Cornmuntsta would be extremelyif not Impossible, to implement and police, and In these circumstances the native armies co'ild probably not for longresist the Viet Minh without increased outside support.
nder the adverse alternative* discussed In the two preceding paragraphs,cale larger than the French could provide would be required to assure alevel of security and stability In those countries. If such additional support were not quickly forthcoming, the resistance of Laos and Cambodia to Communism would collapse.
wnUngeWlet wnsldervdIhereta were nppue* lo th. fcWUlitncs communityasis loi this eaUn-aW.
f outside support took the formecurity system Involving multinationalfor the security of Laos and Cambodia and could be implemented In time, that would probably permit Laos and Cambodia totheir security, despite rising piessures from the Communists in Vietnam and agrowing degree of Internal Commundt unrest lr. both countries. We believe that the requirement* ofecurity system would be: (a) adequate MDAP-typc aid, (b) effective protective force* appropriately located in the area; and (c) assurance of assistance In the event of internal subversion as well as external attack The success of the above measures. In the long run, would also require theand developmentolitical and psychological atmosphere which wouldthe Indigenous people* against
si. if Un and Cambodia merethose countries of strong and legalised
the will of the non-ComraunUt remnantspositions Under such clrcunv
maintain their independence wouldprobably nothing- but military oecu-
decrease, and their ability to do so wouldof those countrie* would assure their
weakened because of the newfreedom from Communist controlOriginal document.