KOREAN DEVELOPMENTS: MILITARY PORSPECTS; SOVIET PLANS; GLOBAL WAR; DIPLOMATIC

Created: 9/22/1950

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

KOREAN DEVELOPMENTS

The UN landing at Inchon, by rapidly changing the outlook of the campaign In South Korea, brings appreciably nearer^the time when North Korea, as well as the USSR must implement crucial political and military decisionsthe ultimate fate of North Korea. With presently available forces, the North Koreans will be unable to hold Southhoice of the four broad alternative courses, of action available to the enemy, therefore, depends in the last analysis on the extent to which the USSR is willing to write off North Korean field forces or perhaps North KoreaholQ, These courses of actionorth Korean military action aimed primarily at defending Northrom invasion by UN forces, possibly combined with North Korean peaceommitment of Chineseor Soviet troops north ofhn attempt by the USSR itself to settle the conflict diplomatically;fforts by some third party, perhaps under Soviet influence, to mediate the conflict.

Military Prospects Successful consolidation of the UNat Inchon and Seoul would effectively interdict the main route of supply for theorth Korean troops engaged in southeastern Korea. Unless UN forces can be expelled from the Seoul area, organizedin the south cannot last long. It is estimated, however, that with the exceptionelatively ineffective security troops, all North Korean combat units have already been committed to the fighting in the southeast. Moreover, it is not believed that Korean reserves now being trained could undertake action against the Inchon beachhead soon enough to prevent the retreat, with heavy losses, of North Korean troops from the southeast. Militarily, then, the most probable course

s

action by North Korean forces, and the one offering the best chance of success, would be the commitment of North Korean reservesefensive roleimultaneousof as many combat units as possible over secondary lines of communication from the southeast to defensivealongh Parallel.

Soviet Plans Given this probable military development,

tne USSR mustefrain from inter-

vening and rely on the North Korean forces to prevent their own military defeat by UNmploy Chineseor Soviet troops In North Korea;ttempt toiplomatic settlement. The disadvantages to the Soviet Union of the two latter alternatives makelhe first the most likely Soviet course of action.

Both the commitment of non-Korean militarya diplomatic solution negotiated by the Sovietwould force the USSR to disavow Its previous stand

regarding the Korean question. Since the invasion began, the USSR has made every effort to localize the conflict and to disassociate itself completely from the North Korean action as well as from the UN action. Military, action at thisld,clearly undermine this position, and even further weaken the current Soviet peace offensive, while Soviet diplomatic auction would force the USSR to accept the legality of UN action, ine USSR might, however, encourage the North Koreans or some third party toettlement. In either event, theKorean position would probably be so weak as to leave the terms of settlement largely in the hands of the UN.

j/ Global War Soviet unwillingness to substantially increase

*vthe risk of global war1 Soviet appreciation

that the employment of Soviet or Chinese Communist troops

in Korea would representisk are even more compelling

3 -

TOP

reasons for the USSR to refrain from military intervention, even at the expenseommunist military defeat in North Korea. Faced with the prospect of UN air and navalof lines of communication in North Korea, the USSR would probably not employ its troops or those of Communist China without providing them with substantial air cover. Inevitable conflict with UN aircraft might leadituation which the USSR might consider itself unable to control short of precipitating general war. Even if the USSR issued prior warning ofove, it could not be assured that UNorces would refrain from such attacks. Moreover, Soviet or Chinese Communist aid to the North Koreans would leave Chinese and Manchurian supply routes, and possiblyinstaUations, open to air attack. The USSR wouldavoid risking damage to this segment of the Communist Far Eastern potential unless it intended to initiate general war in the immediate future.

Diplomatic Action Any Soviet offeregotiatedin addition to requiring the USSR to abandon its position of refusing to accept the legality of theosition in Korea, would place the USSRery disadvantageous position. Such an offer would have to goious callpeacefuln view of the changed military situation, the USSR no longer has any trump cards. Its bargaining position is so weakettlement favorable to the USSR are extremely limited. The USSR might attempt to improve its bargaining position by threatening to reoccupy North Korea; such ar threat, however, would entail the strong risk of being forced to carry it through, An unfavorable settlement in which the USSR had participated or which had been preceded by abluff would be more damaging to Soviet prestige than the consequencesontinuation of the present hands-off

policy. Tbe Kremlin, therelore, is more likely to seek to thwart UK efforts through its usual tactics of obstructionism in the UN, coupled with guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, and propaganda within Korea. Although the North Koreans either thomselves orhird party would also be at ainiplomatic solution, if military developments make such an attempt advisable, neither they nor the USSR will be restrained by those considerations of prestige which would deter such action by the USSR alone.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA