NIE 10-2-54 COMMUNIST COURSES OF ACTION IN ASIA THROUGH MID-1955

Created: 3/15/1954

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DATE: JAN

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

COMMUNIST COURSES OF ACTION IN ASIA THROUGH

Supersedes4 Published4

The Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred in this estimate The FBI abstained, thebeing outside of its jurisdiction.

The following member organisations of the Intelligence Advisory Committee participated with the CentralAgency in the preparation of this estimate: The intelligence organizations of the Departments of Slate, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.

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COMMUNIST COURSES OF ACTION IN ASIA THROUGH

THE PROBLEM

To estimate probable Communist courses of action in Asia" through

CONCLUSIONS

believe that the USSR andChina will remain closely allied at least during the period of thisand that their cooperation inCommunist objectives in Asia will not be materially reduced by frictions or conflicting interests.

The USSR and Chinese Communists almost certainly estimate that during the period of this estimate they areto obtain an Asian settlement on their terms, but that the presentin Asia fosters tensions, both within the Western alliance and between non-Communist Asian countries and the West, which can be exploited toadvantage. The Communistswill not make any major concessions in the interest of relieving international tension in Asia, but will attempt tofree world countries, particularly Asian neutrals, with their willingness to negotiate,

The Communists will probably not initiate new local aggressions in Asia with identifiable Soviet, Chinese Com-

' Asia, as here used. Includes Japan. Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ceylon, and all ofAsia east of ibut not Including) Iran and Afghanistan.

munist, or North Korean armed forces. However, they will continue where they feel it expedient to support indigenous Communist insurrections, and to exploit any opportunities which arise to weaken Western strength and to extendpower and influence in Asia, taking advantage of the extreme vulnerabilities of this area to Communist pressuresumber of respects.

In Korea, we believe that thewill: (a) refrain from renewing hostilities, but will be militarily preparedesumption of hostilities; (b) refuse to accept any settlement which eithercontinued Communist control of North Korea or precludes hope ofCommunist control of all Korea; (c) take steps to rehabilitate Northand to strengthen its military and economic power; and (d) attempt to weaken the ROK by infiltration and

We believe that during the period of this estimate Communist strategy inwill be designed to extend Viet Minh military and political jxwer, to destroy France's will to continueand ultimately to gain control of all

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The Viet Minh will probably press its war ellort and will continue its tactics of infiltration and subversion. Communist China will almost certainly maintain and may increase its material, training, and advisory support of the Viet Minh. The Communists will almostcontinue during this period to raise the prospectegotiatedof the Indochina war, and to hint at the possibility of an early cease fire. Such tactics will be pursued primarily for their psychological effect upon the French and the non-Communist Indo-chinese. The Communists almostwill not negotiate any settlement or agree to any cease flre which does not offer them excellent prospects forof Indochina. Finally, wethat, so long as the Indochina war retains essentially its present character,

Chinese Communist combat forces will not overtly intervene in Indochina, and that identifiable Chinese Communist "volunteers" will not be engaged on ascale during the period of this estimate.

lsewhere in Asia, in those countries of Asia where major Communist armed forces are not openly committed,policy will continue to combine soft and hard tactics. The Communists will profess and in some instancesa policy of expanding existing trade relations with the countries of this area in an effort to make them moredisposed toward the Communist world. The Communists will continue their efforts to enhance Communist China's prestige in Asia, and will alsoto build up the strength ofCommunist parties in the area.

DISCUSSION

FACTORS INFLUENCING COMMUNIST COURSES OF ACTION IN ASIA

The chief factors which shape Communist policy in Asia appear to be: (a) the nature of the relationship between the USSR and the other Communist regimes and parties In Asia, particularly Communist China;bjectives in Asia; (c) Chinesestrength; (d) vulnerabilities of the non-Communist countries of Asia; and fe) the Communist estimate of US intentions in Asia.

Communist relationships. The USSR does not appear to exercise over the variousparties and regimes in Asia thecontrol that It docs over the European Communist parties and Satellites.

The role of Communist China in theCommunist movement is markedly different from thai of any other Communist country. Communist China acknowledges the

USSR as the leader of the world Communist movement and appears generally responsive to the Soviet Union's strategic and doctrinal guidance, but it is more an ally than aof the USSR. II possesses some capability for independent action and probably exerts an important Influence upon the shaping ofpolicy in the Far Kast. In addition, the prestige accorded Mao Tse-tung by the USSRommunist theoretician in his own right goes far beyond that accorded any other contemporary non-Soviet Communist.

lthough there Is little specific evidence, we believe that Communist China is presently beingigher, though still not equal, status within the Sino-SovietThe USSR has recently gone further than ever in pushing Communist China's claim to an acknowledged position inaffairs. Also, the Soviet Union has given evidenceillingness to have Com-

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China assume greater responsibilities in furthering Communist interests In Asia.

There ls little taformation about theand direction of Communist activities In Asia. The main outlines of Communist policy in Asia arc probably jointly determined by Moscow and Peiping. with the Soviet voice presumably being the dominant one.the USSR appears to treat Peiping with deference and is probably reluctant lostrongly held Chinese convictions.China appears to have an lncrcaslngly tmportant role in the execution of Communist policy In North Korea and Indochina.in Asia, the administration ofactivities docs not appear to follow apattern. The activities of Individual parlies appear to be directed through various channels, but for the most part either through Moscow or Peiping. Moreover, the activities of the separate parties do not always appear to be coordinated with each other, and there have been factionalism and dissidence at times within the parties.

Communist objectives in Asia. The USSR and Communist China appear to have the following common objectives in Asia:

part of the general objective ofthe world Communist movement,and eventually eliminateand Influence from Asia, and topower and influence;

Increase the CommunistIn Asia;

increase the Communist Blocpotential by developing theCommunist China and North Korea; and

prevent the resurgence of anhostile Japan.

addition, the USSR andprobably have individual ambitions

a. The USSR probablyoWestern power and influence in Asia with Soviet power andoand extend control over Communistithin these limits, to increase Chinese Communist military and economic strength;o extend and intensify Soviet control over Communist movements elsewhere in Asia; and

b. Communist China probablyo consolidate its revolution andtrong industrial baseodern militaryand for this purpose to obtain greater Sovieto thwart any attempts of the USSR to interfere inChina's internalo minimize Soviet influence in the Chinese bordero increase Chinese Communist Influence over Communist movements in the Par East;o gam an acknowledged andpositionorld power and as the leader of Asia.

The respective ambitions of the USSR and Cornmunist China are In some casesand constitute potential sources ofbetween the two powers. However, we believe that throughout the period of this estimate the cohesive forces in the Sine-Soviet relationship will be far greater than the divisive forces. The USSR and Communist Chinaommon ideology. Both of them regard the US as the chief obstacle to their objectives in Asia, and believe that their interests are threatened by US policy and power in the Pacific. Moreover, each partner profits at the present time from its alliance with the other. Communist China receives considerable Soviet political, military, and economic support and assistance. The USSR recognizes inaluable ally which provides not only military strength andin depth in the Far East, butase for further advancing Communist aims in Asia. Moreover, the alliance with Communist China enables the USSR to use the "China problem"olitical and psychological asset of great value in dividing and confusing the non-Communist world.

We believe that tlie USSR and Communist China will remain closely allied at leastthe period of this estimate, and that their cooperation in furthering Communistin Asia will not be materially reduced by frictions or conflicting interests.

Chinese Communist Strength. Although the Peiping regime has apparently lost much

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its initial popular support, it exercises Arm control over the territory which it administers. Barring Communist China's involvementull-scale war, there is little likelihood of this control being threatened or shaken byforces within the period of this estimate. Tlie regime has made considerable progress in economic rehabilitation and development. It nowarge military establishment which, by Asian standards at least, is modern and formidable.

However, Communist China stillrolonged period of building up its military and economic strength before it achieves the position its leaders desire. Communist China's military capabilities continue to be limited by: (a) almost total dependence upon the USSR for aircraft and heavy military equipment; <b) deficiencies in training,and logistics, particularly with respect to its naval and air forces; and (c) little or no experience in certain important aspects of military operations. Including tactical airhigh altitude bombing, amphibiousand submarine and antisubmarine warfare. Moreover, the period of relatively rapid economic recovery and development in Communist China appears to be cominglose, and future gains will probably beslower. The Peiplng regime hasthe original scope of its ambitious Five-Year economic plan, apparently becauseChinas leaders havelearer and more sober appreciation of the many obstacles to be overcome in attempting the rapid industrialization of Communist China. In addition, the level of Soviet economic assistance is apparently not so high as Pelping originally anticipated.

Despite these limiting factors, Communist China's military strength and effectiveness are far greater than those of anystate in Asia, and Communist China's capabilities to wage political warfare in Asia and to support "national liberation"in that area are substantial.we believe that these limiting factors are sufficient to impose caution upon the Communists, particularly in considering courses of action which might involve them in military conflict with the US and its allies.

Vulnerabilities of the non-Communist countries of Asia. Except in Indochina, the non-Communist governments In Asia are not seriously threatened at the present time by Communist insurrection, even thoughguerrilla forces remain in Burma, Malaya, and the Philippines. Localparties do noterious threat to the position of the respective governments, although in Indonesia Communist strength and influence are likely to increase as long as the present Communist supportedcontinues in office. In most of Asia the politically influential groups are slowlyan increased awareness of Communist designs and policies.

However, the effective resistance of the majority of the countries of this area topressures is to an almost criticaldependent on continued Westernand assistance. Non-Communist Asia is extremely vulnerable to Communist pressuresumber of respects. The relativeweakness of these countries makes most of them apprehensive of antagonizingChina. Throughout the area,nationalist and anti-Western sentimentseceptiveness to CommunistPolitical Immaturity and seriouscleavages have resulted in domestic instability in such countries as Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, andesser extent Burma. There are economic difficulties throughout the area which are susceptible of Communist exploitation and within each of these countries are Communist organizations bent on the country's subversion. Inwithin the states of Southeast Asia the significant number of Chinese residents, many of whom arc loyal to the "homeland,"to offer an important target forexploitation.

The Communist estimate of US intentions in Asia. From the Communist viewpoint, the chief factor in estimating non-Communist policy in Asia is the probable role of the US. The Communists almost certainly believe that the US wishes to see Communism eliminated from Asia and Is determined to opposeCommunist expansion in Asia. They

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also estimate that the US Intends toore active part ln an attempt to overthrow Asian Communist regimes. The Communists might base these estimates on: the presence ol US forces and bases in Korea, Japan, the Ryukyus, und the Philippines; US public declarations with respect to Chineseaggression against Indochina or renewed Communist uggrcfision in Korea; US defense treaties with the ROK, Japan, and theUS military and diplomatic support of the Chinese Nationalist Government onUS military assistance to Indochina; and US efforts generally to Increase the strength of the non-Communist Asian states. However, the Communists probably further estimate that the US is reluctant to become more deeply engaged militarily In Asia. The Communists might base this estimate on: the fact that the US did not expand the Korean war and accepted an armistice ln Korea; the announced intention of the US toortion of its strength from Asia as partew global strategy; and the apparent desire of the US to avoid further aggravatingdifferences with its allies over Asian policy.

e believe that the USSR andChina have probably concluded on the basis of the above that: (a) militaryagainst Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, or the ROK by Chinese Communist forces would almost certainly bring US actions against the Chinese mainland, possiblyattacks with nuclear weapons; (b) Chinese Communist military aggression against Indochina would probably result in such US action; (c) Chinese Communistaggression elsewhere in Asia would at least risk such US action; and (d> the US is not likely, unprovoked, to attack the Chinese mainland. The USSR and Communist China cannot disregard the possibility that the US might commit US forces in Indochina toa decisive French defeat. Lastly, the USSR and Communist China have probably concluded that the US will find It difficult in many instances to bring effectiveto bear against Communist subversion ln Asia, and tliat they thereforearge area of maneuver open to them In Asia in which to pursue courses of action which will provoke neither unacceptable nor effective counteraction.

effect of factors influencingCourses of Action tnethe net effect of all the factorsthe preceding paragraphs will impelrulers to seek to attain theirin Asia through courses of actionnot: (a) place heavy strain at thisthe relationships among theregimes; (b) subject Communistsevere economic strains; (c) Inhibitopportunities to exploitAsian vulnerabilities; or (d) Involverisk of attacks on the Cldnese mainland.

II. PROBABLE COMMUNIST COURSES OF ACTION IN ASIA

General Courses

1 This paragraph does not consider the effect on Communist courses of action of possible new Western moves in Asia.

USSR and Chinese Communistscertainly estimate that duringof this estimate they are unlikelyan Asian settlement on theirthat the present situation in Asiaboth within the Westernbetween non-Communist Asianthe West, which can be exploited toadvantage. They probablya continuance of their presentin particular give them opportunitiesthe period of this estimate to enhanceor Communist Chinaorldto weaken further France's will tothe Indochina war. Thewill not make any majorthe interest of relieving Internationalin Asia, but will attempt to Impresscountries, particularly Asianthe Communist willingness towill probably not Initiate new localin Asia with identifiable Soviet.Communist, or North KoreanHowever, they will continuefeel It expedient to encourage andsupport to Indigenous Communist

and to exploit through internal subversion and political, economic, andpressures any opportunities which arise to weaken Western strength andand to extend Communist power andin Asia.

Specific Courses of Action

Korea. Wc believe that the generalpolicy during the period of thiswith respect to Korea will be: (a) to refrain from renewing hostilities in Korea, but to be militarily preparedesumption of hostilities; (b) to refuse to accept anyin Korea which either endangers continued Communist control of North Korea or precludes hope of eventual Communistof all Korea; (c) to rehabilitate North Korea and lo strengthen its military andpower; and (d> to attempt to weaken the ROK by infiltration and subversion.

In any international discussions of Korea, the Communists will almost certainly not agree to any proposals that would leadnified, truly Independent Korea, even IfThe Communists may advancefor unification, but these proposals will almost certainly be designed to insureCommunist domination of Korea. The Communists will almost certainly continue to call for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea. In fact, since the North Korean armed forces are at present in many respects superior to ROK armed forces, the Chinese Communists might at any time unilaterally withdraw their forces from Korea, as the USSR didfl, in an effort to place the US/UN under pressure to do likewise.

Indochina. Tlie Communists probably feel that the existence of the war inalthough involving some risk of US intervention, produces certain immediateand promises successrolonged struggle. Prom the point of view of the USSR, the war ties up Western militaryand weakens French ability andto participate in Western security measures in Europe. From the point of view of Communist China, the war gives prospect of removing Western power and influence from its southern border, and offers hope of extending Chinese Communist influence over Indochina and Southeast Asia and ofCommunist China with increased access to the resources of the area. For both the USSR and Communist China, the warontinuing source of exploitable differences within the Western camp.

We believe that during the period of this estimate Communist strategy In Indochina will be designed to extend Viet Minh military and political power, to destroy France's will to continue fighting, and ultimately to gain control of all Indochina. Tho Viet Minh will probably press Its war effort and will continue its tactics of infiltration and subversion,China will almost certainly maintain and may increase its material, training, and advisory support of the Viet Minh. The Communists will almost certainly continue during this period to raise the prospectegotiated settlement of the Indochina war and to hint at the possibility of an early cease fire. Such tactics will be pursued primarily for their psychological effect upon the French and the non-Communist Indochlncse. The Communists almost certainly will notany settlement or agree to any cease fire which docs not offer them excellent prospects for domination of Indochina. Finally, we believe that, so long as the Indochina waressentially its present character, Chinese Communist combat forces will not overtlyin Indochina, and that identifiable Chinese Communist "volunteers" will not be engagedignificant scale during the period of this estimate.

Elsewhere in Asia. In those countries of Asia where major Communist armed forces are not openly committed, Communist policy will continue to combine soft and hard tactics. Communist policy will exploit nationalist and anti-Western sentiments and divisiveexisting within and among the countries of non-Communist Asia. The Communists will profess and in some instancesolicy of expanding existing trade relations with the countries of this area in an effort to make them more favorably disposed toward the Communist world. The Communists will

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their efforts to enhance Communist China's prestige in Asia, and will placeemphasis on attempting to convince non-Communist Asians that, because of thepower of Communist China, time is on the Communist side in Asia. The Communists will also attempt to build up the strength of indigenous Communist parties in the area. Where these parties are legal, the Communists will attempt, largely through legal andprocedures, to build up popularfor the parties. However, in certain of these countries, as well as in those in which the parlies are illegal, the Communists will attempt to strengthen the capabilities of "armed liberation" forces already in being, and to build up underground Communist political and military' organizations.

In India, the Communists probably will continue their efforts, largely through legal and constitutional procedures, to build aopposition against the ruling Congress Party. However, the Communists in India and throughout South Asia may join In riots and employ other violent tacticsmall scale, particularly where outbursts of violence have been instigated by non-Communist groups. The USSR and Communist China will attempt to exploit India's neutralism to advance their foreign policy objectives, and to induce all South Asian states to enter Into closer economic relations with the Communist world. Finally, the Chinese Communists, from their base in Tibet, will probably seek to Increase their now limited influence In the border states of Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim and elsewhere along India's borders, and local Communists will try to enlarge their influence within the Kashmir Government.

Communist strategy toward Japan will probably continue to be based on an effort to delay Japan's rearmament and undermine its present pro-Western orientation. Thewill attempt to exploit Japan'snationalism and desire toore independent role in Asia; its shaky economic situation and urgent need for additional markets; its fear of involvementeneral war; its present reluctance to create andtrong military establishment; and its irritation arising from the continuedof US forces in Japan. The USSR,China, and the Japanese Communist Party will accordingly hold out the possibility of negotiations leading to closer relations with the USSR and Communist Chinaeans of resolving economic and security problems facing Japan. The Communists may offer toormal peace settlement, possibly involving the return of some Japanese island territories and the conclusion of apact, if they can thereby induce Japan to abandon its mutual security arrangement with the US. The Communist Bloc willcertainly attempt to increase tradewith Japan, using the establishedof informal negotiations betweengroups, and will strive into play upon already exaggeratedof many Japanese regarding the benefits to be gained from expanded trade with Communist China. The Japaneseprobably will place primary emphasis on efforts to broaden their popular support by exploiting grievances against the US and attacking the domestic and foreign policies of the Japanese Government. At the same time, the Japanese Communists will continue totheir covert organizations and may, on occasion, resort to sabotage and limited acts of violence.

The Communists probably believe that their long-range prospects In Indonesia are bright. The Indonesian Communists will probably continue to support the presentor, if it falls, to work for theof another government in which their influence would be strong. Meanwhile, they will try, largely through constitutional means, to expand their influence in theand the armed forces, and tothe formationnified and effective opposition. They will probably also attempt to strengthen the capabilities of Communist guerrilla forces. In general, however, the Communists will probably seek to avoid aggressive tactics which mightoup by domestic opposition groups.

The Communists probably consider their prospects in Thailand to be dependent upon their success ln Indochina. They probably

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continue subversive activities primarily among the Chinese and Vietnamesein Thailand. Communist pressures against Thailand will almost certainlyif the Communists shouldosition of strength in Indochina alongeastern or northeastern borders.

In Burma, the Communists probably will continue guerrilla warfare against thewhile at the same time mamtaining agitationoalition government.China will probably try to develop and exploit discontent among tribal groupsalong the border, and may Increase its thus far limited support of Communistgroups within Burma. Inthe Communists will seek to aggravate the KMT issue In an effort to impair both Burma's internal stability and its relations with Thailand and the US. The Communists will probably make attractive trade offers in an attempt to increase their influence in Burma.

Communist policies involving Malaya, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau will probably continue for the most part along present lines. The Malayan Communist Party will probably continue guerrilla warfarebut at the same time will continue efforts to increase its popular appeal and to Infiltrate political and labor organizations. It willto exploit anti-Western sentiments,with economic conditions, and antigovernment sentiments. In thethe Communists will probably attempt to conserve their depleted military arm, the HMBhile Intensifying propaganda, infiltration, and organizational efforts. They will seek to exploit such antl-US sentiment as exists In the Philippines, and anywhich may arise if President Magsaysay Is not able to show progress in his announced social reforms. The Communists willcontinue small-scale raids againstNationalist-held offshore islands, and will probably attempt to increase their espionage capabilities on Taiwan. However, theCommunist effort against Nationalist China will probably be, by diplomatic and propaganda means, to reduce remainingfor the Nationalist Government on the part of non-Communist powers and thusan ultimate disposition of Taiwan acceptable to the Communists.

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