STATE OF SINO-SOVIET RELATIONS

Created: 8/8/1969

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT, State of Sino-Soviet Relations 1.

L. With tho Ussurt River episodes ofho already tor.se and hostile relationship between the USSR and Chinaritical phase. The dozen or so border clashes have Involved mainly uniformed forces, rathor than civilians, and have produced several hundred fatalities. During March, the levels of propaganda rose toercent of all broadcasts for the Soviets andercent for thethe tone became notably harsher. The Soviets in particular began stressing highly emotionalweeping wives and mothers of dead Russian boys, tho patriotic letters stained with blood, and the like. Since March, the level of anti-Chinese propaganda has fluctuated ot generally lower lovels, but ominous new themes have appeared. Soviet commentators who formerly sought tooviet attitude of calm and restraint In dealing with, foolish Red Guard antics, now stress that Maoism, riminal racistchauviniutic intoxication" that hasoint ofilitary threat" to the Soviut Onion. In his Juno speech to tho International Communist Conference, Brezhnev denounced tho Chinese Communists at great length and alleged that Peking was preparing for nucloar war against the USSR. And although playing upon xenophobia and the threat of "foreign devils" isew tactic for Poking, the current campaign in China, emphasizing that the Chinese must not show "tho slightest timidityildeems to be more extreroo than in tho past.

2. The developments outlined pose the largor question of how far tho foreign policy of each rogimo will be affected by tho continual deterioration of the relationship. The Ninth CCP Congress did not formally* demote Washington from its position as enemy number

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one, but it did' raise the USSRosition co-equal ith the US. Chinese overtures this year toYugoslavia suggest that Peking has become more flexible inasically anti-Soviet foreign policy. There is good reason to believe that the Soviet leaders now see China as their most pressing international problem, and arc beginning to tailor their policies on other issues accordingly. Brezhnev's proposal for an Asian collective security system, and Foreign Minister Gromyko's address to the USSR Supreme Soviet in July, inoderate tone toward the West was juxtaposed with harsh words for the Chinese, both suggest that Moscow is bidding for allies, or at least benevolent neutrals, against China.

As ofhe Soviets had someround force divisions along the Sino-Soviet border and in Mongolia, double tho figure of About half the divisions were at combat strength, and othor3 were gradually being raised to that statu3. ivisions were backed up by unusually heavy concentrations of conventional artillery and of tactical surface-to-surface missiles. The increase in Soviet tactical air strength has kept pace with the ground force increase.

The Chinese had only about nine ground force divisions in the border areas of Sinkiang, Inner Mongolia, and the Hoilungkiang-Kirin regions of Manchuria. Thoy have more than SO divisions behind them, however, in

the Shenyang-Peking-Lanchou Military Regions. In firepower and mobility Chinese divisions are no match for soviet divisions.

5. It is almost certain that there will be no significant easing of tensions during the next two or three years. Conflicting national interests, competition for leadership of the Communist movement, and genuine fc-ar of each other's intentions willapprochement. Ever, the border problems are not iikoly to be resolved. While both sides may be willing to roach some temporary accomodation, neither is likely to compromise anypositions.

The situation is now such that for the -irst time, it is reasonable to askino-soviet war could break out during the next two or three years.

The fact thatuestion can bo seriously posedeasure of the seriousness of the Sino-Soviet conflict. But it is easier to ask tho question than toirm answer. The potentialar exists; the boviets, at least, have reasons for initiating military action. ecision to attackolitical act and

no ficmabout tho intentions of Chinese aud Soviet leaders.

We beLieve that an unprovoked, major attack by ciuna into Soviet territory is highly unlikely. This judgment is based primarily on the fact of China's disadvantage in military power.

Bi" contrast, we see reasons why tho Soviets might now,he near future, considor majoractions against tho Chinese. Tho Soviet militarylooking beyond minor border clashes, must feel -hat the real danger is yet to come. Probably during the tenure of Mao, and almost certainly during that of hissuccessot- kin pfao, the Chinese will deploybM force. mall number of Chinese mioailes would alter tho strategic situation, and as the force

Would b0 under 'QWO* inhibitions in using their ground forces.

. . Recent developments have caused us- to examine the question of whether Moscow might bo preparing to take action against China in the near future. Lately, tneie has been unusual military activity on the Soviet side of the Chinese border, including special military exercises in which China was anparently the simulated enemy. Of particular note are indications that forces nSXS in the exercise came from parts of theR normally considered the orime reinforcement base against NATO. Also, the Transsiberian Railroad has beeneavy volume of military traffic, apparently to tho point of disrupting civilian traffic. This

military activity seems somewhat disproportionate to tho scale of fighting that has actually occurred. Another development is tho virtual cassation of Soviet military air activity in the USSR and Eastern Europe which began on the week-endugust and continues to the present. There has nevertand down of this extent for this duration in the USSR. tar.ddownlassic indicator of preparations to initiate hostilities, although it isonclusive one. Other Soviet military components, such as the strategic Rocket Forces, the ground forces, And non-air naval forces are generally maintaining routine activity. Meanwhile the Chinese, after remaining paseivo in the face of the earlier Soviet buildup, have bog-un to make some improvements in their air defenses which suggest that they areore serious viow of the situation.

11. There are also political indicators that suggest that tho Soviets may be preparinghowdown with China. The Kremlin is clearly trying to cool down disputes with the West; one purpose is almost certainly to leave its hands free in the East. Soviet propaganda repeats the themes that Maohat he thinks that war is tho only solution to his problems, that like all warmongers, ho falsely accuses tho Kremlin of planning an attack on him in order to excuse hio own evil plana. Finally, recent articles and broadcasts deplore the oppression of Uigurs, Kazakhs, and Mongolians in'china, and suggest that rebellion by those peoples would be justified.

12. On the other hand, thereormidable caso .against Soviet military action. ilitary point of view, this rests mainly on the uncertainty of the outcome. The Soviet leaders cannot count on carryingtrike against the chinoso cleanly and quickly. They must surely realize that they would berocess which they could not be sure of controlling, and whose course would be detorrained as much by the Chinese as by themselves.

13. Moreover certain political factors militateoviet attack on China. The nature of collective loadorshlp is such that the men in the Kremlin might find it easier toolicy of improving military and political dofenses against the Chinese heresy than toecision to attack. ino-Soviet war would certainly complicate relations with Hanoi; it might loadose of Russian influenco in the aroa. Both Communist and non-Communist states in Europe might take advantage

SECRET

of Soviet involvement in Asia, particularly if tho war were protracted. ar would make reconciliation with China impossible for many years, and it is by no moons cortain that the Soviets have given up all hope of some improvement in their relations with China after tho period of Mao and Lin. Breihnov's article in the August issue of Problems of Peace and Socialism reaffirmed Soviet friendship for tho Chinese people and suggested that heong period of tension rather than an early outbreak of hostilities. The same note has been struck in other recent statements.

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stagepermitariety of military options, defensive or offensive. Beyond this, itc that tension between tho two countries has become At tho very loast, polemics will remain strident, and tne dispute in its present form will probably intensify and grow. Armed clashes will occur periodically. The scale of fighting may occasionally bo greater than heretofore, and might oven involve punitive cross-border rales oy Soviet ground and tactical air forces. Under such circumstances, escalation to major war is an ever present possibility.

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