COMMUNIST CAPABILITIES AND INTENTIONS IN ASIA THROUGH MID-1953 (NIE 47)

Created: 10/31/1952

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

C

COMMUNIST CAPABILITIES AND INTENTIONS IN ASIA THROUGH

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TOf ! T

COMMUNIST CAPABILITIES AND INTENTIONS IN ASIA THROUGH

THE PROBLEM

To examine the capabilities of the USSR and Communist China for political and military warfare in Asia1 and to estimate their probable courses of action ln Asia through

CONCLUSIONS

We believe that the USSR andChina arc united in their deter-mination to eliminate Western power and influence from Asia.

uring thc period of this estimate, Soviet and/or Chinese Communist forces in Asia will almost certainly continue to have the capability of conducting the following operations concurrently: (a) overrunriing Hong Kong, Macau,Burma, and Thailand if opposed only by the forces currently in theseb) rapidly reinforcing withCommunist and Soviet forces the Communist forces now In Korea, and at the same time of undertaking anof Japan by Soviet forces; and (c) attacking Western shipping ba theby submarines and mines andair attacks and surface raids

' Ada, aa here used. Includes Japan, Taiwan, thc Philippines. Indonesia. Ceylon, and all ofAsia east ot (bat not Including) Iran and Afghanistan.

Pro Tided that US naral and air forces areto defendhinese Communist Invasion of Taiwan would alnvttl certainly fall

against Western bases and shipping in the western and northern Pacific.

he Communists probably estimate that an attempt to seize additionalIn Asia by the identifiable use of Chinese Communist or Soviet forces would stiffen non-Communistparticularly in Asia, and might create grave danger of war againstChina, of general war in thc Far East, or even of global war. Theprobably also estimate that the economic and military vulnerabilities of Communist China and the Soviet Far East would make the outcome of awar in the Far East at bestFinally, the Communists areconfident that further progress can be made towards the achievement of their objectives in Asia by political[Ve believe, therefore, that during Uie period of this estimate thewill refrain from initiating new courses of action involving theuse of Chinese Communist or Soviet forcesTl

no

believe tliat during thc periodestimate the Communists willtheir efforts to overthrowAsian governments byrebellion of indigenous "armedmovements. Suchbeen reduced in effectivenessand the overthrow ofgovernments throughwould now requireor Soviet interventionmagnitude as to entail theLUty of war against mainlandwar in Asia, or .even global war.

Korea, the Communists willnot take the initiative to breakstalemate during the periodesUmateTJ ye, believe that thewill.protract the armisticeso long as they considercan continue to gain politicaladvantages from theKorea,*and so long as theya continuation of the Koreannot involve grave risk of globalregard to Indochina, thoCommunists will probablypresent type of support to thcbut probably will not invadeor introduce large numberstroops in the guise ofJ

"The Special Aiiistant. Intelligence. Department of State, concurs In Uie conclusion that the CoaununUU will probably not take Uieto break the present militaty stalemate In Korea. However, he finds that the secondof Uie paragraph, which earrlei anthat the Communists might accept UN cease-fire terms If tlic UN were to threaten an expansion of thc Korean war. Is not lupported by available Intelligence. He believes that available Intelligence does not enable ua to estimate whether the on willingness of Uieto conclude an armistice on termsonered by the UN will continuethe period of this esUmate.

In Malaya, the Communists willguerrilla warfare against thebut will probably not receiveaid from the Chinese

Communist political warfareIn Asia continue to be great although they have declined somewhat in aof countrieshesewill probably remainunchanged during the period of this estimate.

Throughout the period of thisthe Communists willigh priority to strengthening theirin non-Communist countries, weakening Asian ties with the West and exploiting Asian neutralism. At the same time, they will make organizational and psychological preparations for the intensification of "armed liberation" movementsater date. The Blocincrease its use of economicto influence the governments and peoples of Asia These Communistwill be used with particular vigor in efforts to prevent the resurgence of an armed and non-Communist Japan. _

c believe that the Communists will not significantly increase their power and influence In Asia during the period of this estimate J. However, thewill probably make some progress in their efforts to strengthen both their economic and industrial base and their armed forces in order to increaseinfluence in Asia and becomeprepared to resist possible Western pressures, and, if necessary for theof Communist objectives, to apply military force againstcountries.

DISCUSSION

SOLIDARITY AND OBJECTIVES Tho Sino-Sovietommunist China and the USSRnited front to the world. We believe that for the period of this estimate the factors tending to divide the USSR and Communist China will be far outweighed by close Ideological ties and continuing mutual involvement In the pursuit of common objectives.

Current Objectives

by their actions and theirlt appears that the two powersat the present time upon the

eliminate Western power andfrom .'

prevent the resurgence of an*non-Communist Japan; *

increase, their military potentialboth offensive and defensive;

advance the world Communistand in particular to divide andnon-Communist countries andability and determination to

pursuing these commonof the two powers will probably alsoto advance Its own ends, but not atof impairing the solidarity of theirWe believe that Moscow will tryand Intensify Its control overChina, and lo dominateelsewhere in Asia. The Chineseleaders will resist Soviet efforts tocontrol over Uie internal affairs ofChina, and will attempt tocontrol over Manchuria.Inner Mongolia, and to expandpower and influence elsewhere

COMMUNIST POTENTIAL IN ASIA Internal Political and Economiche stability of the Soviet regime Is such that fear of internal political repercussions will not deter Uie Kremlin from initiating any policy in Asia which it feels will further Uie

global Interests of the USSR. Likewise, the Chinese Communist regime has firm control over mainland China, and although suchhas not been consolidated to the degree lt has been within the USSR, there Is littlethat fear of domestic poliUcalalone will deter the Peiping regime from Initialing policies which lt estimates willChinese Communist objectives inhe economic base for Soviet militaryln Uie Far East is limited Inwith that of Uie USSR in Europe. The extent to which this base can beby shipments from the Bloc ln Europe is restricted by the capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the long sea routes. Distribution and utilization of goods In the Communist Far East are further restricted by thc limited transportation facilities ofChina and by Uie underdeveloped nature of the Soviet Far Eastern and Chinese Communist economies.

Uie strain of the KoreanCommunist producUon hasand even somewhatSoviet aid at current levels. UieCommunist China could support thcwar effort at current levels throughof this estimate. We also believeChinese Communist economy, withassistance, would be able toleast In Its initialar ln thewhich Involved, in addition to thcwar, Chinese Communist militaryelsewhere in Asia.

Communist Military Capabilities*

The Soviet Far Eastern ground forces represent about one-sixth of Uie total Soviet ground forces. These forces in thc Far East are believed to be adequately equipped and combat effecUve.

The Soviet Far Eastern Air Forcesapproximately one-fourth of thc total combat air strength of the Soviet Union. Thc capabilities of this air force are currenUy

streneUn estimates of Communist forces ln thc Tar Cast are contained In

being increasedajorprogram. Orer one-half of the Soriet Far Eastern fighter cstabllslimcnl Is equipped with jet fighters; it is estimated that aboutercent of Soviet Far Eastern fighter strength will be jets byight Jet bombers are currently being introduced andtrength ls being steadily increased. Wethat approximatelyercent of the Soviet medium bomber strength is currently located in the Soviet Far East.

Soviet Pacific Fleet has thesupporting short-haul amphibiousand conducting mine andagainst shipping and harbors in

Soviet military capabilities in the Far East will almost certainly be improved during the period of this estimate by:f ground force equipment;onversion to jet fighters and light jet bombers; (c) the continued, gradualof Soviet long-range aviation in the Far East; <d) improvements in air defense; and (e) the addition of naval craft to the Far East fleet

Intensive operations by Soviet Far East forces could be sustainedime by local production, existing stockpiles, and supplies sent from the western USSR via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. However, the restricted productive capacity of thc Soviet Far East and thc limited capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railroad would cause increasinguch operations extended longer than six monthsear. These difficulties would arise earlier if productive facilities andwere subjected to sustained air attack.

lthough Communist China has large manpower reserves. Peiping's capability for expanding the field forces is limitedevere shortage of equipment and by the high manpower requirements of the agrarianNevertheless, there will almostbe some improvement in the ground forces during thc period of this estimateesult o( modernization of equipment,and training, and combatln Korea.

Chinese Communist Army ls theand, aside from that ol the USSR,effective Indigenous groundin Asia. The combat effectivenessCommunist ground forces lnarea is substantiallythat of the forces located InThe Chinese Communist Armycapability of undertaking militaryelsewhere in Asia concurrentlyIn Korea.

the beginning of the KoreanCommunist Air Force In China, whichto be made up of ChineseKorean, and Soviet elements, hasto an impressive size. The jetin the Korca-Manchuria-Northare believed to be progressively However, the capabilities of the CAFare. and will remain during thethis estimate, largely limited to the airof North China. Manchuria, andunder conditions of good visibility,limited attacks against UN forces inadjacent waters. We believe thc CAFwill continue to expand graduallytbe period ol this esUmate but willdependent upon Uie USSR forand equipment, spare parts, andsupervision, and almosi entirelyupon the USSR for aviation fuels Unless some type of lightaircraft is introduced, thecapabiliUes of this air force willextremely limited. RedeploymentManchuria area would be necessaryair operations against TaiwanAsia.

The capabilities of the ChineseNavy during Uie period of this estimate will remain slight. It has limited capabilities for coastal minelaylng. motor torpedo attacks, and short-haul amphibious lifts.

The Chinese Communist forces arc largely dependent upon thc USSR for heavyand POL. The capabilities of these forces will therefore be reduced in those areas far removed from the relatively extensive communications network of Manchuria,if mainland transportation systems were subjected to effective attacks.

oviet and Chineae Communist armed forces are supplemented in Asia by organized and effective Communist native armies in North Korea and Indochina. The Northarmy will probably continue at least to equal the South Korean army ln combaland numbers during the period of this estimate. The combat efficiency of thc Vict Minh military forces will probably remain fan-to good. These forces will probably beof maintaining the general militaryin Indochina despite an expected slight improvement In Franco-Vietnamese

uring the period of this estimate. Soviet and/or Chinese Communist forces in Asia will almost certainly continue to have thcof conducting lhe following operations concurrently: (a) overrunlng Hong Kong. Macau. Indochina, Burma, and Thailand if opposed only by the forces currently in theseb) rapidly reinforcing with Chinese Communist and Soviet forces the Communist forces now in Korea, and at the same time of undertaking an invasion of Japan by Soviet forces; and (c) attacking Western shipping ln the Pacific by submarines and mines andair attacks and surface raids agulnst Weslern bases and shipping In the western and northern Pacific.

Political Warfare" Capabilities QaVfltt

ommunist political warfare tactics range from participation in parliaments andsupport of governments, as in Indonesia, to open rebellion as in Indochina, but In all

1 Provided that US naval ind air forces areto defendhinese Communist invasion of Taiwan would almost certainly (ait. 'PoliUcal warfare, as here used. Includeswarfare, armed Insurrection, support of revolutionary and subversive acUvitles.and front activities, all manner ofand economic pressure, psychologicaletc. It does not Include such acUons as the Comoiuniii aggression ln Korea or theintervention of Chinese Communistin IndoehJna.

cases the ultimate objective of Communist political warfare is the overthrow of non-Communist governments. Presentpolitical warfare capabilities in Asia stem from the current prestige and the military power of Communist China and the USSR, the disciplined energy and ln some cases the armed strength of thc Communist parties, the popularity of Marxist theory among educated Asians, Asian desire for "nationaland improved economic status, and the extensive reaction against "Western

Communist capabilities for gaining power In Asia through poliucal warfare, particularly through open rebellion, were probablyeak Inrior to the Invasion of South Korea. Since that time, theiralthough still great, have declined somewhatumber of countries in Asia

We believe that on the whole Communist political warfare capabilities will remainunchanged during the period of this estimate.

ii nm Specific Arxas

Soulh Korea and Taitoan, where theboth physical security andof the established regimes,capabilities for politicalsmall.

outheast Asia

a. Indochina. Communist politicalcapabilities In Southeast Asia arein Indochina. The Vict Minh is ainstrument of terror and control, and it retains considerable nationalist appeal. The Viet Minh forces, with Chinese Communist advice and military assistance, maintain heavy military pressure upon the French and the Associated States. We believe that the Viol Minh will retain these eapabililies throughout the period of this estimate.

o. Burma. The Burmese Communists and their sympathizers are capable of conducting guerrilla operations In small areas scattered throughout Burma. However, thc elections of2 have strengthened theof Burma which has now begun to re-

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the power of the Communist insurgents. Wc estimate that the Burmese Communists will decline in strength during the period of this estimate unless they are given Increased technical and logistical aid by the Chinese Communists.

The growth ofThailand has thus far been confinedthe overseas Chinese community, areduces Its popular appeal, andpolitical warfare capabilities inare very limited. Communistfor guerrilla warfare would bethc Communists are successful in theirto organize the Chinese populationsouthern Thai provinces In support ofbandits. In addition, throughof some key labor unions, thein Thailand are capable ofand this capability mayduring the period of thisthe whole, however, the developmentstrengUi in Thailand willdepend largely upon events baand Malaya. An increase instrength to those countries wouldcertainly be reflected in Thailand,government has traditionally followeddominant elsewhere Ln

Thc political warfareof the Illegal Malayan Communistmembership of which isChinese, rest largely upon theof Communist guerrillas. Theseguerrillas, supporteduchof followers among Uie Chineseare likely to retain their currentof harassing Uie British andeconomy. However, they are unlikelywidespread support or to threatenposition unless Communist controlin nearby areas, or unlessoutside support can otherwise be

Philippines. Communistcapabilities have decreasedIn the Philippines1 and areto increase during the period of this Allhough Uie Philippine armed

forces and police arc not yet strong enough to cope with all Huk raids in all parts of Uie Philippines. Huk military strength willcontinue to decrease during the period of this esUmate. Thc Philippines' geographical position, and pledged support from the-US, make It relatively immune to externalpressure.

ndonesia. Leadership of Uie smallCommunist Party is wcu-disciplincd and Uie party appears weU-organixed; Itthe largest and most important labor federationumber of Important front organizations for peasants, women, and youth groups; and It controls almostercent of Uie seats in Parliament. Some aid andis probably received through Communist China's Embassy, which ls also activelyin proselytizing among Indonesia's large Chinese population. The Indonesian Communist Party has the capability to harass thc Indonesian Government with sabotage and guerrilla activities, especially to Java. The disturbed situation resulting from theactivities of Darul Islam and other rebel groups increases the opportunities for Communist sabotage and guerrilla action. However, we believe that the Communist Party will not. within the period of thisdevelop the capability to seize power.

apan. Although the JapaneseParty now has onlybout half of whom aret ls well-organized and well-disciplined, and has significant capabiliUes for espionage and sabotage. Communist Influence In Japanese labor organizations, vnrious frontand among students and theprovide the Japanese Communist Party with important instruments for dissemlnaUng propaganda and for exploiting economicand resentment against the US. but its violent acUon program has tended to alienate popular support. Thc efforts of thc party to encourage and capitalize upon popularwith Uie government areby Uie continuing Bloc strategy of combining military threats to Japan withand political Inducements. However, It Is not likely that such efforts will be able to

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seriously Japanese cooperation with the West, and thc party will lack the(or seizing conlrol of the governmentthe period of this estimate.

ndian Subcontinent

docs not now pose athreat to India, although theCommunist Party and allied parties6 million votesillion) inelections. The Indian Communisthas only0 members, butsmall vocal groups In several stateand the national legislature.Party members in thewill be able to do littleto embarrass the government andtheir positions to spreadIn those states wherestrength Is greatest, the party mayto obtain representation In localgovernments and even seriously toparliamentary processes. If thcParty continues Its presentit probably will make additionalpopular strength. However, wethere is very little likelihood thatCommunists can makeseriously to contest thcof the Congress Party. If theParty should again emphasizeot violence. Its popular supportdiminish and thc governmentcertainly revive its earlier

Pakistan Government hasvigor and determination againstand Immature PakistanBloc political warfare capabilitiesthrough thc period of thisalmost certainly remain limited,Soviet trade with Pakistan andpolitical maneuvers on Kashmirthese capabilities.

Communists in Ceylon maypopular support by exploitingbut will be unable lo exert anyinfluence upon thcor to seize control of the country.

PROBABLE COMMUNIST COURSES OE ACTION

General Considerations Affecting Communist Policy

The Communists probably estimate that an attempt to seize additional territory in Asia by the Identifiable use of Chineseor Soviet forces would stiffen non-Communist opposition, particularly in Asia, and might create grave danger of war against mainland China, of general war In the Par East, or even of global war. Theprobably also estimate that theand military vulnerabilities ofChina and the Soviet Far East would make the outcomeeneral war in the Far East at best uncertain. Finally, the Communists are probably confident thatprogress can be made towards the achievement of their objectives ln Asia by political warfare. We believe, therefore, that during the period of this estimate the Communists will refrain from initiating new courses of action Involving the identifiable use of Chinese Communist or Soviet forces.

From thes. the Communists ln Asia directed their efforts chiefly toward the Instigation and support of open rebellion by "armed liberation" movements within non-CommnnUt countries. These efforts seemed to offer prospects of continuing successof the prevailing "nationalist" and "anti-imperialist" sentiment ln Asia, the prestige and the strategic opportunitiesby Communismonsequence of Communist military victories Ln China, and the lack of firm and cohesive leadership in thc non-Communist countries ofhe risk of Westernagainst this type of action has greatly Increased, and at thc same time some non-Communist governments In the area have become stronger.

e believe that during the period of this estimate thc Communists will not intensify their efforts lo overthrow non-Communist Asian governments by the open rebelllonof indigenous "armed liberation" movements.

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movements have been reduced In effec-liTeness or stalemated and the overthrow of non-Communist Asian governments through these movements would now require Chinese Communist or Soviet Intervention of such magnitude as to entail the possibility of war against mainland China, general war In Asia or even of global war.

e believe that Communist China and the USSR will attempt to maintain theforces already in the field, such as the Viet Minh, thc North Korean army, the Chinese Communist "Volunteer Forces innd the Malayan guerrillas.they will undoubtedly continue some guerrilla activity in other areas of Southeast Asia. At the same time, they will make organizational and psychologicalfor the Intensincation of thc "armed liberation" movementsater date, and will work loward strengthening localmilitary and paramilitary forces.

hroughout thc period of this estimate the Communists willigh priority to streru**dwning their organization in non-Communist countries, weakening Asian lies with the West, and exploiting AsianTheir tactics will vary fromto country but will be designed to attract particular groupsintellectuals, women, workers, varied ethnic and religiousetc.into front organizations.and local Communist organizations will also increase their efforts to form "unitedloc diplomacy and Blocwill support these political warfare tactics within each country. In particular, we believe that the Bloc will Increase Its use of economic inducements to influence tlie governments and peoples of Asia.

c believe that the Communists will not significantly Increase their power andin Asia during the period of thisHowever, thc Communists willmake some progress in their efforts to strengthen both their economic andbase and their armed forces, in order to ncrease Communist influence in Asia and to

become better prepared to resist possible Western pressures, and, if necessary for the attainment of Communist objectives, tomilitary force against neighboring countries.

Courses of Action in Particular Areas through

orea. The Communists in Koreato be prepared for any of the following contingencies: the resumption of full-scale hostilities, an indefinite military stalemate, or the conclusion of an armistice agreement. The Communists have the capability forajor ground and/or air attack with little or no warning, but we believe that they probably will not take the initiative to launch such an attack during the period of this estimate. We believe that thewill protract the armistice negotiations so long as they consider that they canto gain political and miliiaryfrom the situation In Korea and so long as they estimateontinuation of the Korean war does not involve grave risk of globalf an armistice is concluded during the period of this estimate, we believe that the negotiationolitical settlement will be complicated by Communist injection of Far Eastern issues unrelated to Korea. Whether orolitical settlement is achieved, we believe that thc Communistto gain control of all Korea willunchanged.

aiwan. The Communists almostwill not attempt military invasion of

'The Special Assistant. Intelligence. Department of State, concurs In the conclusion that the CommunlsU will probably not lafcc the iniua-Uve to break the present military stalemate ln Korea. However, he finds that the secondof the paragraph, which carries an Im-pUcaUon that thc Communists might accept UN cease-fire terms It the UN were to Uireaten an expansion of the Korean war. is not supported by available IntelUgenee. He believes that available Intelligence docs not enable usUmate whether Uie unwillingness of Iheto conclude an armistice on termsoBerrd by the UN will conUnuethe period of this esUmate.

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Taiwan during the period ol thishey will continue their efforts to Infiltrate and subvert the Nationalist regime.

ndochina. The Communists almostestimate that the West, and lnUieight retaliate against the China mainland it Communist ChinaIndochina or committed "volunteers" In sufficient numbers toecisiveby Uie Viet Mlnh. Furthermore, thc present situaUon yields considerableto the Communlsl Bloc, by tyingajor part ol French military power and byeavy financial drain on France and thc US; und the 'Communists probably believe that thc Viet Minh will ultimately be successlul without overt Chinese Communist IntervenUon. Therefore, wc believe that during the period of this estimate theCommunists will continue their present type of support to the Viet Minh. They probably will not invade Indochina orlarge numbers of combat troops In Uie guise of "volunteers."

Malaya. The Communists in Malaya probably wfll not receive increased aid from the Chinese Communists during the period of this estimate. They will continue their guerrilla warfare In thc attempt to harass the British administration and disturb the economy. They will also attempt to strengUien their Internal organization and through propaganda and agitaUon,among thc labor unions, to increase their popular appeal.

The Philippines. The Philippinewill probably attempt to conserve their guerrilla strength during the period of this estimate and will place greater emphasis on propaganda and organizational activities. Through Uiese activities and by capitalizing on government failures to relieve basic social unrest in the Philippines, the Communists probably hope to regain the popular support and organizational strength lost

that US naval and air forces arcto defend Taiwan. Chinese Communist operaUons against Taiwan would almostfall.

urma. We believe that the Chinese Communists will not greaUy Increase their aid to the Burmese Communists or openly Intervene In Burma during Uae period of-this estimate. The Burmese Communists 'will probably continue Iheir present politicalprogram involving: agitation nited front with the left-wing politicaland the formationoalitionopposition to government policieseparture from neutralism; and attempts to rebuild their strength in base areas ln prcparaUon for an expansion in insurrectionist acUvitles.

haiic7id. The Communists wiUto increase their potential forand guerrilla action, working mostly within Uie Chinese community.activity may be concentrated ln the southern provinces where Uie Communists are In contact with Malayan guerrilla groups. Simultaneously, Uie Communists willby poUtical pressure, to weaken Uie governments alignment with the West. Agitation for developmentnited front and sponsorship of "front" organizations wilt continue.

Whether or not UieCommunist Party, which Isat present ln Uie Indonesiancontinues as at present to givesupport to thc IndonesianCommunists wUl take full advantageopportunities for sabotage andby popular unrest and lack ofcontrol. Simultaneously,make every effort to Intensify Uieand anU-Western feelings nowin. Indonesia.

The weakening of Japan'spro-Weslcm orientation and Uieof Uie resurgence of an armed andJapan will be importantobjectives in Asia during Uie periodestimate. In pursuit of theseCommunists will place economic,and psychological pressures onthe attempt to encourage and exploitsense of insecurity and desirerelations with Uie Bloc. Commu-

nisi threats to Japan will continue to be coupled with oners or trade with Communist China and thc Soviet Bloc. At the same tune, the Japanese Communist Party will continue lo agitate against the government and its pro-US policies and will attempt to increase its subversive potential and popular following.

IlTDLUf

SL India. Thc two primary Communist objectives in India during the period of this estimate will be: (a) to prevent closerwith the West, and (b) to build up the strength and popular support of theParty. To achieve these ends they will work to exploit national and Asianin an effort to direct foreign policy Into anti-Western channels. At the same time, while continuing to spearhead "united front" oppositions in both national and stateand to build up large-scale"front" organizations, the Communists will strengthen and expand their activities In preparationeturn

to the strategy of violence. In India'snorthern frontier area, particularly in Nepal, the Communists will continue their efforts to stimulate popular discontent and direct It against control from Delhi.

Ceylon. Since the Communist Party of Ceylon ls too weak to gain control of theit will continue, through itsposition, to concentrate Its efforts on the opposition groups and onthe support of the incumbent UnitedParty. The Communists will also attempt to encourage close economic and cultural tics between Ceylon and Communist China and to Intensify anti-Western

Pakistan. The Communist Party ofis small and without any considerable popular following. The Communistwill be to turn Pakistan away from'the West by accelerated propaganda efforts aimed at Muslim and anti-colonial sentiment and by economic inducements.

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