IM: MOSCOW AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN INDOCHINA

Created: 6/12/1970

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence Memorandum

ECENT DEVELOPMENTS IH INDOCHINA

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WARNING

This document contains information affecting the national defense of the United States, within the meaning of, of the US Code, as amended. Its transmission or revelation of its contents to orby mi unauthorized person is prohibited by law.

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence0

INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM

Moscow and Recent Developments in Indochina

Summary

The Soviet Union's position in Indochina has deteriorated badly over the past several weeks while that of China has gained correspondingly. The political turnabout in Phnom Penh has delivered Sihanouk into Peking's hands, and the spread of the war into Cambodia has pushed the North Vietnamese toward China. Moscow has responded to theseat tiroes with apparent confusion, and it is still sorting things out. The Soviets are not likely to accept their predicament lightly and can be expected to make efforts to retrieve the losses they have incurred. At the moment, however, Moscow seems to be hoping that events willmove in its favor and to believe that the best way to get back into the act will be via the diplomatic route.

Note: Thia memorandum was produced solely by CIA, It wae prepared by the Office of Currentand coordinated with the Office of national Estimates.

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Moscow and Cambodia

sponsorship of Princeforced Moscow to conduct its continuingthe Chinese at the expense of somefor Hanoi. esult, Moscow fortiioe in recent years has deliberatelyremain out of step with Hanoiajora period of hesitancy, Moscow has decidedits ties with Phnom Penh while keepingfrom Sihanouk. This has been made plain by

a number of Soviet officials, and is indicated by the minimal references to Sihanouk and hisin the Soviet media, diffident treatment of hisnd Sihanouk's own remarks in* directly critical of Mosccw. The Sovietsconsider the colorful Sihanouk an unreliable character and have made caustic comments in private about his ability to regain power. The principal reason for their failure to embrace him, however, has almost certainly been his sponsorship by Peking. Several Soviet diplomats have bluntly said that as long as the princetool" of the Chinese, he will not get Soviet recognition.

Moscow has attempted toit could of its position in Phnom Penh,have gone counter to Soviet interests. the Soviets builtajorin Southeast Asia and Moscow's supportparticular brand of neutrality allowed them

co exert some influence. The soviet leadersappeared hopeful that they could retain this position under Lon Nol, but Cambodia's rapid turn toward the US, South Vietnam, and Thailand has brought these hopes into serious question* Though Moscow has mildly rebuked the newfor these warming ties by recalling itsit evidently intends to keep its mission in Phnom Penh as long as this can bo done without grossly offending Hanoi. Moscow's assessment of the political stamina of the Lon Nol government may partly figure in these moves. But it is more likely that the Soviet posture reflects nothing more than vague hopesavorable turn in the situation, perhapsegotiated settlement,

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Strains With Hanoi

maneuvering overurface indicator of deeperHanoi over the course of the war- Theto be displaying growing concern thatof protracted and expanded warfcareIndochina is causing North Vietnam to Moscow might be apprehensive thatresult in increased demands for certainpolitical support it would be reluctant towould in any event noturther en- of Peking's position. Theseled to debate during Le Duan'sto the USSR in late April and early May. the exact purpose of his stay remainsDuan apparentlytrengthenedeconomic, and military commitment,probably did not get all he wanted or thought

he needed. The Soviets probably stressed to Le Duan the riskider war, including the possibility of US counteraction, and advised him to leave the door openegotiated settlement.

apprehensions over Hanoi'sin particular and the impact of theon Soviet interests in general have beensince last montheries ofstatements by Soviet officials. These

men maintain that North Vietnam is greatly strained by the conflict andonsequence hasemporary military setback. Soviet sources have on at least two occasions reportedly gone so far as to say North Vietnam is "exhausted." The timing and context of the statements suggest that they were probably designed to fan US apprehension overChinese influence in the area, possibly with the hope of encouraging the US to be militarily firm in the short term, yet flexible in negotiating once the Cambodian situation has been stabilized. The statements taken together alsoore tempered Soviet estimate of Hanoi's prospects.

5* Soviet concern over Peking's expandedin Indochina has been reflected in recent

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public pronouncements reiterating past warnings of' Chinese duplicity and cautioning against over-reliance on Peking. These statements havebeen paralleled by similar private demarches to Hanoi that China isourse thatlittle risk or cost to itself. The most explicit of these warnings appeared inune New Times. The article, rumored to have been authored by a leading Soviet diplomatic specialist on Southeast Asia, Mikhail Kapitsa, reviewed Peking's efforts to extend its domination in Asia and warned that China is forcing others to adopt "adventurist tactics" to fulfill its own hegemonist ambitions. That the Soviets think some people in Hanoi are receptive to this argument seems to be indicated in the article's statement that Peking'smethods are "arousing concern even among those who sincerely want to cooperate with China."

differences over militaryinfluence, the Sihanouk government,prospects have probably broughtthe Soviet-Hanoi relationship, it seemseither side will allow these to get out One indicator of this is signs that both

the USSR and Hanoi still think each other'shave not hardened and remain susceptible to influence. The Soviets realize that Hanoi remains' their most significant point of contact inAsiaHanoi's improved ties withstill counting on North Vietnam toPeking's influence there over the long run. The Soviets apparently calculate that as long as they provide substantial political, economic, and militarythough it may not be all Hanoithey will be able to maintain considerablein Hanoi.

probably hopes that, thoughposition is undergoing short termwill eventually see the advantages ofunder which Sovietbe maximized. The Soviets may thinkthe pressure of arduous fighting andof increased dependence on Peking, Hanoi

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will be more receptive to Moscow's views. Indeed, private comments by some Soviet officials inAsia have indicated that Moscow thinks aUS success in Cambodia could produceeconsideration on Hanoi's part.

Moscow's Interestolitical Settlement

interest in reasserting itsin Indochina by some sort of politicalmeans has been evident for the past The USSR gave positive play to thefor an international conferenceCambodian coup, and Malik, Soviet ambassadorUN, in mid-April hinted his country'sit. Since the beginning of us militaryCambodia, however, Moscow has ruledt this time" and has held out nogetting Hanoi to attend. Nevertheless,have clearly left open the possibility of

a conference on Indochina some time in theanking Soviet specialist on Asian affairs said last month, for example, that negotiationsaotian-type coalition arrangement for Cambodia might be possible "later.- other hints of the Soviet attitude have been contained in itemsecent Izyestia piece that approvingly noted French Foreign Minister Schumann's remarkilitary solution is impossible and that the only conceivable settlement is contained "in the logic of the Geneva accords."

planned visit of Deputy ForeignFiryubin to the UN suggests an effortprospectsoliticalmay want to take soundings as toof international action to"neutrality" afterune and mayto anticipate thehanton the subject when he visits Moscowmonth. Meanwhile, some recent presscriticized the Djakarta conference aswhile playing up the theme ofto Peking, have suggested thebe toying with the idea of stimulating their

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own "nonaligned" initiative through such seconds

Despite evident Soviet interest in picking up the negotiating ball, Moscow seems to realize it cannot go much further in its independentthan it already has withoutharp rebuke from Hanoi* As it is, Moscow is probably anticipating another thunderous polemical blast from Peking charging it with "sham support but real betrayal" of the North Vietnamese, self-proclaimed position as the firm ally of the "national liberation movements" and-its concern to avoid pushing Hanoi too far too fast seem likely to constrain the Soviets from issuing their own calls for negotiations. The Soviets are more likely to try to foster international interest in asettlement, hold down their losses as much as possible* and hope that events can somehow be manipulated to their advantage*

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