CURRENT OUTLOOK IN INDOCHINA

Created: 2/9/1954

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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HWCfLUDCH TOR TBE OTEECTOB QT GEHTfiil TfTfPJ.IQFJDS SUBJECT: Onrrrat Oatloofc in Ihdcchlaa

Thlji estimate hu been prepared at your direction by tha Boar* of Rational Estimates. Ib la based oa latalllnaaoe srallabla froa tba HO spaoles ee wall aa 0X1 sources, It has not, however, been coordinated vlth any of tha IaO ageneiea.

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trictly allitary viewpoint, Viet Wnb op-BTatloBS ia Todoohina over the past aaveral veebs have notaltered tba sltaatloa and tba war reaalastalaaate. Tba principal effeeta of these OBeratlaaa have been pajuholegioel and political, rather than military.

Tlat Msb. sooeesses over the past weeks have slaoet solely of thrneta Into lightly-held areas of all tary lapco-tanoa and forays by Irregular troops Into art Vietnaeeee control. Tlat Minh force, have not defeated say Trench Union cults of aejor slot, avoided engaging aubatsntial ooaoentretlons of abanever possible. Early Trench reports that Wat Una ltlaa at Diaa Slam Hm had been increased by tbem, artillery aadrm. anti-aircraft guns beeu confirmed, use of such weapons has act been rept Wab operations thus far. Fhoto-reeonnedeeanoe IB team (including infra-red) has failed to disclose sash

However, la order to check tba presently defeatist trend In Trance, the Trench mast sehleve caacesses during the present seesca. We consider it unlikely that during the Taanladei of tale flatting seaaoa the Trench can achieve sufficient military saocesses to check this tread. Ve believe therefore that by the end of this seaaoa la late spring UtiaaiUltrance for added relief from tha burdens of the war will greatly Increase. In this situation. It la paesfble that

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Mmpaet sarazal waste. Tie* Ittnh fonaiafinoplna tanerlae of affanarra oparutloaa.neledat hroat aorosa tba waist of Ittdocatea andb*ra**dng eaaratioaa In tha TraVhaV-fiavaaawflaat raglon of Lac, (p) th*rt of Din Bienrench atroaspolat near th* northern bordar of Laos,nbsaqoant throat Mrttttard toward tba Laotian capital, Lmsng rrabaarj aad Co) wlfl**pr*ad heraaelng operations throughout Vietnam.

with tho uoarptlon of tho oTwlrrioaairt at Man Blan Jha, thaa* operation* took plaa* la area* which wered hy rranah Union fare**. wh has* rwrt defeated Irenob Oaloa units of aajorad they bn* avoided atantlal ooMentnitlca* of French uhlan fcroa Jfc lo pertlaalarly noteworthy that after massing troops at Mac Blanat greateraaarlarlty and apparently Bakingreuaist 1un* for an assault, th*ian, finally

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tetoeodeda Lao*. r, da celt* early Trench rcporte that Tlat Mat oapabllltlao at Man fain Hm had bean laaraaaad by tha poaoaiaUma. artillery andr fOaa. antiaircrafteport* bar* carer coon com-flrafld and use of sash woapoaa bao not boon reported la say Viet Wahthe* far. rboio-reccrmalaaano*B team (including lafraHrod) has failed touah weapon*. Bwwr-r, ChineoBBBnlst aid over th* pestmonth* has Im lintel greater aaaaate of aodora aaterlal aad teoreesed ranker* of Chinas* paracanal la training and advisory eapoeltl**.

rraaoh union force* hare dsanartratedability ta countering th* recent Viet Mantheir alrborna sad air-lift capability, th*able toh* Tlat Wan throat at Saranaaktetand paraehnte units, and they were able to mass adefsnalret Dion BLsn Phu. They alaootth*totellar cat ana* at Zaaagthey bar* alsoack of initiativesad hare thrown awayo dealto Vtet Hteh fores*. ilitia force* lahm,reeralbandoned Isolated position*.

but there hm Um no known Instances im vhlch rtrjlar Vietforces haa* asserted or defected to tha Tlat man,

mne statu Indochina,

end led then toperations havellitary power la Tat

7. Tba recent Tlat MSac offensive thrusts and French tUan ecuDternoves hef* dispersed franoh Union foroee througn-

out much of Ihdoehinam roles. These Tlat Hinh altered tba balance of i

reaelnaa atalasata. Tha Vlat Hinh and French Odm farces opposed la the Tonkin Delta, the Btrategio eaater of the ^ooeaina war, remain auhetantially la balanoa. Moreover, the Trench hove launched offensive mini il lew la the aouthaaatern eeastal regleea aa called for by the Rararre Plaa and bare achieved aa Initial aucoaaa. Tbe alrboma moolllty of the French eaablea them to reinforce thalr Delta defences if nsosssmj sad tbaraby nullify Vlat Hinh drives la that vital region.

The principal effects of these Tlat Hinh operHtioaa, aovsver, have bean psychological and political, rather then military. In ooaduotlag this series of thrusts over sa extensive area, the Tlat Man have obtained at snailsychological and propaganda advantage over the French and Ihdceaaneso.

9. Ia breeder terns, the combination of Vlat Hinhvictorias and continued French dsfensiTe-olnoadn.se throughout the currant fighting season has brought tha TruWiIrmone atep nearer crisis. The burden of victory Is oa tha French. Tbey anst ashlars sane military Bnoeeeses la Indo-ohlaa during tba present fightias seasoa In order to gain tine end to check the defeatist trend la Irene* sad Indochina. Furthermore, tbey mast ocatlnuc to have military successes la order to create the psychological climate essential to the eueaeee of the Rararre loag-rsngs prognm ofa active lade-ohinase force eapahle ofajor role In winning the ear. Although this plan calls for establishingorce bys consider that under present French direction lt will take scaslcercbly longer, probsMy an additional year.caslfTerable extent, the future of tbe war depends oa whether the French and Indoehlaese have enough staxdaa to resist defeatist pressures and carry out their long-range program. From the Com-Bflmlat viewpoint, prospects for eventual victory are good If they do no aare than maintain tho military stalemate.

10. France has been plnoed under additional pressure* by tbe Increased significance of Indochina in International affairs. Vlth the Korean sxalatlce la effect, TndcwMna. has become tha major point of armed oonflict between tha East and tbe West.

11. Utt ualUflily that darlac ta* aaaaladar of thl. nghtiBR laaaoB tha Franoh oan ashlar* *uffial*nt ailltary enoeceaoa to obaak tba trend la Trano*tl*a, a* therefore bailor* that by th* aad of tha currant fighting season la 1st* spring th* pre*but* la Irons* for added relief frea th* bnrdan* of tba war vlll greatly laoraaaa. Ih thl* altnatlon, It la pooolbl* that the Prenoh will declare that the onlyto BBfotlatlaa with th* Coaaamlat* la directpartisiaatioa by alllad faraaa.

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