Created: 7/8/1950

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CEHTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ihtfllignice fflMDRflTiDDHUBJECT: Consequences of the Korean Incident



I, Soriet Purposes In Laiaichlng the northern Korean tttack.

A. Apart from Immediate strategic advantages, tho basic Soviet objectives In launching the Northern Korean attack probably' wereost tha strength of OS commitments implicit in the policy of contain--stent of Communist expansion)ain political advantages for tho further expansion of Comtamlam in both Asia and Europe by undermining the confidence of non-Ccrraailrt states in the value of OS support.

, b. The Soviet estimate of the reaction to the North Korean attack was probebly that! (l) OR action uould be alow andhe OS uould not intervene with its ownouth Korea wouldcollapse promptly, presenting the ONaithe episode would therefore be completely localised;he fighting oould be portrayed asSouth Korean eggresalon and the North Korean victoryictory of Asiatic national!ao against Westernm c

11 froly-blc IWelonrara-rts from tha KorcM.

There are at preaent four major alternative courses of action open to the .Of SR. They areny exclusive courses of action* In particular, it Io estimated that the DSSR is very likely to try to prolong the.fighting in Korea( alternative *B" below) for the abort run .and thenew weeks or months. If ocodition0;appear favorable to Soviet leaders, shift to the Bore aggressive course of creating aiadlar incidents elaeuhorobelow). The alternatives aro examined not in order of probability, but in order of increasing risk of global war and Increasing expenditure of effort on the part of the USSR!

Alternative A. The USSR nay localize the Korean fighting, permitting US forcer, to drive the North Koreans back toh Parallel and refrain from cro'ting similar incidonta oleewbero. In the meantime, the USSR uould remain uned in Korea andrelop the propaganda thence of OS aggression and imperialistic Interference In domestic affaire of an Asiatic nation.

"i*th the intelligencece ^artments of State, Army, navytand the

Class/ q

70i TS A V'^ffia, j4 Apr 77

lternative is the most cautious course for the OSSRtake. Ue adoption would indicate complete surprise at the OSto the Korean incident and uould suggest strongly that the USSR was unwilling to runini mt mi risk oflobal conflict involving tho US and the OSSR,,

a. US prestige and political influence, would be substantially particularly with Western European allies and other nations aligned with the OS.

3- Soviet prestige and influence would be damaged, but there vould be ccrpcnsaUotw in the form of secondary polltTcll ^ains that would accrueesult of8

(a) prranoting the "peace canpalgn" and pcertrayine tho OS as military aggro near;

inperisllsm, Wploltlng f Aola" nationalism versus Western

tho Borth Korean and Chinese Communist threat

to South Korea as an embarrassment to development of aOS or un policy in Korean

alternative course of acUon Is unlikely; Soviet advantages

perhaps raployme Chinese Coonuirtot troopo, either ccwrtlv orw

SSBeBroooion mid Inperlellrtio Interference ln dcaeotioon Asiatic ,.

tt-jcr .^^tttlvedcrately cautious course for tho USSR to take. The OSSR would probably consider that its adoption would

DQ^involving the

damaged if the OSSREuropean allies and other

Misaligned with the OS would queetlon the imedlate military value of OS II Mtfmrti even though expecting them to be honored,

3. Soviet prectige would be augmented if then Korea vere prolonged without an open Soviet cotaaitnont.


U. The USSR would obtain appreciable secondary, comparatively long-ranee galno In political Influenceesult of promoting the "peace campaign" and portraying US as imperialistic Western aggressor in Asia, unless successfully counteredS "Truth" campaign.

involvement of US military forces In Korea wouldUS capabilities to support similar commitments elsewhere.lestsrn European allies of the OS would feel dangerously exposed

for some time (even if the USartial noblli-xation for war).

USSR probably will adopt thia alternative courseat least for tbe short run, since there would be fewor risks and the Soviet gains would be appreciable.

This alternative will appear especially attractive to tbe USSR because at any time, if conditions appeared favorable to Soviet leaders, the USSR could shift to the more ambitious program (alternativenmodl-telyn which alternative "B" would merelyirst phase.

Alternative C. The USSR, while attempting to prolong Uie fightingrea aa in, may also attempt to disperse and perhaps overstrain US military forces-ln-readinesa byeries of incidents-similar to the Korean affair. Without directly and openly involving Soviot forces, such incidents could be created in Formosa, Indochina, 3urma, Iran, lugoelavia, and Greece, The effecte of such Sr^rj*" by renewed pressure on Berlin aad, possibly,

"uuldomparatively aggressive course for tha USSR to take. Its adoption would indicate willingness to run an appreciable risk oflobal conflict because of the possible US reaction. The USSR could easily turn to this alternative at any timsp but it is not likely to turn to it until tha OSSR haa fully analysed the implications of the OS conroitaent ln Korea,,

Having employed its armed forces in eupport of its coanitaent in Korea, the US will have to honor similar commitments or loso most of tho advantages of the policy of supporting the Korean commit aent.

The US does notthe solitary forces-dn-roadlneaij to honor Its commitments with US military forces and equipment in many areas other than Korea (perhaps none)ubstantial increase in US military forces and industrial productivity in tbe military field, bringing about what would amount toartial (as distinguishedeneral) mobilisation for war.

lu Deep involvement of US military forcee in tho Far East or Hear East would loavo Western Europo oven more dangerously exposed than at orasent-

t SOBaKorean-style incidents (requiring the

eoacdtaent of US forces to etahilise the altuatlon) presumably would

farce the OS to adopt one of tbe following alternatives i

_ revise the polioy of general cootaincent by limiting

^.iC?iS oSoriet agression only at those selected points whore existing IC military strength would permit;

(t) begin partial military and industrial mobilisation in an attempt to enable tho US to combat any further Soviet-oponsored aggression anvwnore in tho world; or

(c) begin total mobilization to enable tho US to thro-tan to meet any Soviet or Soviet-sponsored aggression with war agalnat tha USSIL

^Jlrobably will adopt alternative -C- sooner or later if Soviet leadera do not eatinate the risk of global war involved to be substantial or are preparedlobal war if it develops.

7. If Soviet development of this alternative course of action leadseneral US mobilisation,it appears at thia time thatrobably would in that event continue limited aggressions, accompanied by the customary -peace-iscounting actualUtioTof Perhapsthat the political and econoado

. -am Wfrom further aggression of the Korean type,lobal war *nd taking mobilisation aa an indication of greaterhan Soviet leaders had anticipated In choosing thia coursVof aoUon, or

Xobal war, attempt to

Alternative D. The USSR may conaider OS intervention in Korea either" Ossification for^nn^g

8 Prei"red-lnfttaclctng


in tho Korean situation as yet indicates Uiatwould deliberately decide to employ Soviet forces in directprecipitating global war. ecision ia unlikely if, as

now mm probable, Soviet leaders believe that;

there are continuing opportunities to expand Soviet influence by the comparatively clwap -nd safe means of Soon trolled Cofflninlst revolutionary activity (including propaganda, sabotage,guerrilla warfare, and organised military action by local Runlet tmopa-es in Korea), which can be aupported by Soviet diplomacy and the mere threat of Soviet military rtrength^ir^-oadlnsss; and

there is substantial risk involved forSR in the gObal war that almost certainly would ensue from direct military action by Soviet forces.

USSR would appear te have little reason to begains by methods short of global war, particularly bycourses of aotion described in Alternatives andabove.

unlikely to choose the alternative ofglobal war at this time in view of: (a) the generalthe US and its alUes in total power-potential; and (b) the factpresent Soviet atomic capability la Insufficient to neutralizeretaliatory capabilities and to offset thei^tery

UJ' SfJootsailure of US forces to Hold South Korea,

wi* tloffailure to hold South Korea

wouldamaging blow to US prestige with loss in political influence

STSlv^ thatoonif the US had not undertaken to support its moral commitment in South Korea,

alter^Jvf-lBmUldtwo .mdealrable

* tho lose of US prestige;t ton? ting to regain as much prestige as possible by committing substantial lf7 military resource,ifficult and costly invasion of an area wnlch Is not of primary strategic importance to the overall US

vi" *Policy and miliury capabilities would be discredited at home and abroad.

SJ.orC?Lm>nfrOD Korea, the USSR would probably adopt alternativeaa described above (Section II), It might be

C*tPooa furU*raction elsewhere until -hstber,esult of tho loss of world confidence

d'not be brought within

ite sphere of Influence through intimidation alone-.


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