THE SINO-SOVIET DISPUTE ON AID TO NORTH VIETNAM (1965-1968)

Created: 9/30/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence Report

Sino-Soviet Dispute on Aid to North

Wl FBI INfORVlTIOH COWtfffO HERIIK IS 'JliCLASSrfiED

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THE SINO-SOVIET DISPUTE ON AID TO NORTH VIETNAM

MEMORANDUM TO RECIPIENTS

OnRS published an Intelligence Study that traced the bitter private negotiations among the Soviets, the Chinese, and the Northver the question of Soviet military assistance to North Vietnam, particularly the.struggle over Soviet aid to the DRV air defense system.

The present staff study reviews and brings up to date the story of the protracted and acrimonious haggling among the three principals. It reveals that the major issues and motivations of each have remained essentially unchanged, and that suspicion, dispute, and Chinese increased rather than abated as the war moved on. The Paris negotiations between North Vietnam and. haveurther sour and disruptive note into Sino-Soviet and Sino-Vietnamese relations. neither delays in shipments nor denials of weapons appear to have impaired DRV military capabilities to such an extent as to affect the course of the war.

Although this study in draft benefited from the comments of other offices, it isroduct of the Special Research Staff.

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tesearch Staff

Chief, DI

5 Slno-Soviet-Vietnamese Controversy OverMilitary Aid to North

A larger and more detailed version of this study, including citations of the sources used, -will be published separately for the benefit of those who wish to pursue the subject in greater depth.

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SINO-SOVIET DISPUTE ON AID TO NORTH VIETNAM

Contents

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Issue of Rail Transit of

Initial Impasse and The Sino-

Soviet Rail Agreement5

The Issue of

Soviet SAM

Another Blocked

DRV Rail Damage

and Ho's Visit to

ew DRV Role

in Rail

The Crisis. .7

o Date: Effects of the

Cultural

The Issue of Air Transit of

The Issue of Shipment by

Chinese and Soviet Statements. . 14

Soviet Attitude Toward a

Potential16

Weapons18

Coastal Defense Missiles

Aircraft"

for the

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CONCLUSIONS

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For threealf years the Soviet Union and Communist China bavo been haggling over the military aid each is providing North Vietnam and over the mechanics of moving Soviet aid to North Vietnam. The disputeacet of the broader Sino-Soviet conflict and iswith issues arisingNorth Vietnamese negotiations. Parts of the continuing argument haveperiodically, in polemical exchanges between Moscow

conclusions. .Firstly, both Moscow and Peking, throughout io the dispute, have had other considerations In mind ln addition to North Vietnam's war needs. aramount Soviet purpose has been to use aid to Vietnameans of strengthening Moscow's influence over Hanoi and olsewhere at the expense of Peking. The Chinese have beon motivated by similar desires to expand their influence, but they alsoreater and sore direct stake then the Sovietsommunist victory in Vlotnam.

Secondly, Sino-Soviet political enmity and military rivalry havo worked to limit to some extent what aid the North Vietnamese have received and how they have received it. Becauso of China's inslstanceight to inspect Soviet shipments ln transit to North Vietnam, the Soviets appear to havo held back or delayed shipment of some sophisticated military equlpnont. For their part, the Chinese have refused certain Soviet requests for facilities to transmit aid to Vietnam, being unwilling to give either political or propaganda advantage to the USSR.'

Thirdly, both Moscow and Peking have beon constrained in their aid to North Vietnamesire toirect conflict with. Although Moscow and Peking

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frequently differ in their assessments of the level of tolerable risk, their constraint hasestrictive influence on what military aid the North Vietnamese received and the channels through which it has been

The evidence alsoumber of tentative observations concerning the effect of the dispute on the North Vietnamese war effort. It is clear thatbetween Moscow and Peking applied primarily to the receipt of sophisticated hardware for the defense of North Vietnam and toimited degree to the delivery of weapons and support items needed by the DRV to pursue the campaign in the south. Consequently, it does not appear that the dispute has had any significant effect on Hanoi's ability to maintain the war south ofh parallel.

However, the question of possible adverse effects

lngs seemed relatively low might have been associated with delays in Soviet missile shipments through China, but this is difficult to demonstrate. Similarly, it is not definitely known what plans the North Vietnamesehad for the Soviet Komar missile boats that were denied to them, that is, whether the DRV did indeedto use them to. carriers.

Nevertheless, the evidence does point to anarray of incidents in which shipments of air and coastal defense equipment apparently were obstructed or denied. The evidence indicates:

North Vietnam throughout the month of5 was doprived of all Soviet military aid' because of Sino-Soviet squabbling over tho terms of rail transshipment;

that operationoviet-suppliedissile system was delayed from March until5 at least in part because of Chinese pressures on North Viet-

that there were other delays to Soviet shipments through China caused by Mao's reluctance to crack down on Red Guard disorders in the summer7 and again in

AM missiles were

held up by the Chinese at the Sino-Soviet borderonth lnnd again inbecause of these disorders;

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(8) that the USSR has declined DRV requests for KOMAR missile boats and coastal defense missiles, largely because of Soviet fears that use of such weapons might leadirect clash with the United States. In the case of the KOMARs, the Soviets apparently refused also because thoy were unwilling to deliver the vessels directly to North Vietnamese ports and the Chinese were

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unwilling to accept them in Chinese ports for transferral to North Vietnam by Chinese and North Vietnamese crews.

The conclusion indicated by this panorama ofis that at least for short periods the Northair and coastal defense capability probably was impaired in some degree. Probably the political impact was greater than the military effect. There is no doubt that the DRV leadership was often greatly disturbed by, and still resents, Chinese obstruction of Soviet aid and Soviet caution in rendering aid. On several occasions North Vietnam has had reason to bo seriously worried that difficulties and delays in aid shipments might be But thus far the bottlenecks for items of prime importance such as missiles have been temporary, and those problems which became more or less permanent (such as the Soviet withholding of the KOHARs, or the Chinese curtailing of the Soviet air transport flights) have not seemed to be of critical importance.

This situation could change if the Chinese were to impose barriers to Soviet military rail shipments to the DRV, as they have done before, and maintainong period of time, as they have threatened but not yet done. Major North Vietnamese concessions in the Paris negotiations could provide the occasion forhinese decision.

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i. the issue of rail transit of china

a. the initial impasse and the sino-soviet rail agreement 5

the main disagreement on aid to vietnam has revolved about the shipping of soviet military goods by rail through china. the argument has been through several phases. the initial impasse came soon after kosygin's return from his5 visit to hanoi and peking. at that time the first soviet arms to be shipped by-rail to north vietnam in accordance with kosygin's promises to hanoi were held up while moscow and peking haggled over the terms of the main point at issue was china's insistenceight of rigorous inspection of all arms shipped across chinese territory. the soviets finally, and reluctantly, yielded but the inspection issue and the agreement have been continuing subjects of controversy between moscow and peking.

although the agreement was noth umber of chinese statements have reveal ed^iTsbasic is1 provisions. it was dated and apparently became effective onarch, and lt was for the two-year5 the agreement was renewed in theand the negotiations leading to it, were bilateral; in keeping with china's rejection of any "unity of action" with the soviet union, mao's regime has refused to engage in any tripartite sino-soviet-vietnamese agreements or negotiations. *

the agreement covers military supplies only. thisoint of importance in subsequent polemics because the chinese agreed to transport free of charge onlygoods, as defined by themselves. everything else not covered by the original or by supplementary sino-soviet rail transport agreements was1 categorized as "economic supplies." shipment of economic supplies was toatter of ad hoc arrangements between chinese and

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railroad authorities, and was to be paid for, as usual, in rubles. It seems likely that both sides have obfuscated in their later polemics on this natter, the Soviets charging that the Chinese were demanding payment for military supplies, the Chinese denying it. It appears that the Chinese define "military goods" narrowly tomany military-support articles and such items as medicines; the Soviets, on the other hand, define the term broadly.

According to the agreement, the Chinese wereobliged to transport only categories of weapons isted in the document. The agreement specifiedertain number of freight cars would be made available by China in each month, quarter, and year toertain maximum tonnage of Soviet military goods In each time period, but only provided that the goods fell into the categories listed in the agreement. The Chinese did not agree in advance, in other words, to transport any weapons the Soviets might choose to send. Since the Soviets were also required by the agreement to file with the Chinese an "outline transport plan" for each specific shipment at leastays before the shipment was to arrive in China, the Chinese were given some lead time to deal with the matter in accordance with their political interests. If,-for example,esult of further Soviet-Vietnamese talks the Soviets were to agree to supplytypes of weapons not clearly specified in thearch agreement, the Chineseegal excuse to refuse to accept the shipmentsupplemental agreement was negotiated. Furthermore, they would not signupplement until they had themselves confirmed that North Vietnam wanted the weapons. This provided thecontinuing opportunities to lobby privately with the North Vietnamese.

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Soviet annoyance and concern with the provisionsrail agreement have continuedumber ofoccasioned byto involveevery crate and dismantling everynddays for eachbeen used in repeatedefforts to pressure the DRV Flbicil

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appear to have been influenced in their decisions as to which weapons to furnish the DRV by the knowledge that every shipment would be examnned and might,assist indirectly Chinese weapons programs. And finally, the Soviets apparently do believe that thehave occasionally removed parts of Soviet weapons during Inspections, although most Soviet public statements on this subject are probably exaggerated.

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During the four months following the March nail agreement, shipments including many types of weapons transited: China to the DRV apparently without serious difficulty. However, construction of SAM sites ln North Vietnam seemed strangely protracted. The delaywas causedispute over who was to man the SAM sites and over the transit of Soviet SAM and otherary personnel through China.

April and May that it was North Vietnamese reluctance to accept Soviet personnel that had caused the offer to be rejected. On the other hand, the Soviets claimed that the Chinese wereimit on the transit of Soviet HhllllH

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in Hanoi, however, was

toldava^correspondenti iihe North

Vietnamese had refused to permit the Soviets to man the rockets being Installed in order to avoid "alienating" the Chinese. He thus suggested that it was indeed the DRV that was preventing the Soviets from sendingto operate the SAHs, but only as the result offrom the Chinese. Some two weeks before this, Pham Van Dong is reported to have told Kim Il-sung in Djakarta that the Chinese had persistently demanded that North Vietnam cut off Soviet aid and had sometimes become threatening in trying to enforce the demand.

All in all, the evidence suggests that throughout the spring5 the DRV vacillated between yielding to Chinese pressure and thus deferring completion and activization of SAM sites until the fall, when North Vietnamese cadres could complete their training in the USSR to operate them, or flouting Chinese wishes and accepting enough Soviet personnel to put the SAMs into operation more promptly. Finally, under the influence of the. bombing, the DRV seems to have opted for the latter course, and prevailed upon Peking toimited quota of Soviet SAM personnel to

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D. DRV Rail Damage andto

During the first half6 the DRV had to cope both with transport problems resulting. bombing of DRV rail lines and with continued and increasingly public Sino-Soviet friction over transit arrangements. In6 shipment of some Soviet economic goods was shifted from rail to sea because of temporary DRV rail disruption and in February the Chinese told the East European representatives in Peking that no more non-military rail shipments could be accepted.

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East European aid might be appreciably reduced in It seems likely that Ho was now anxious to determine whether, in such an event, the Chinese would permittransportation of Soviet aid across China.

E. ew DRV Role in Rail Transit

A new turning point was reached in the late summer and fall In brief, the evidence indicates that it was at thatnot in the springs the Soviets laterNorth Vietnam firsta role in the "safeguarding" of Soviet militaryentering China en rou.te to the DRV.

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The Crisis

Late inhe Chinese initiated their most serious threat to Sino-Soviet diplomatic relationsto the Soviet overland supply route to Hanoi. eries of deliberately planned and provoked diplomatic incidents in Moscow and other capitals around the world, the Chineseiege of the Soviet embassy in Peking. The siege lasted fromanuary toebruary and appeared designed to force the Soviets to break state relations. That would have made itfor the Soviets to conduct negotiations with the Chinese necessary to continue rail shipments to Vietnam.

In January and February, DRV officials In various parts of the world made an unusual series of statements-indicating that the Chinese had reimposed delays on Soviet military shipments through China, despite the new role the North Vietnamese had assumed in rail transport.

Thore are some grounds to support the conjecture that these Chinese actions in January and February were intended to inhibit the DRV from proceeding furthernegotiations with the United States byirect threatermanent cut-off of Soviet aid to the war effort.

isooreign Communist in mid-December that the Chinese would oppose negotiations as "deviationist." In early January the DRV Foreign Ministerublic statement which removed some of the previous ambiguity in the DRV position and indicated more strongly than beforeermanent bombing halt alone could suffice to bring talks. The Chinese actions against the Soviet embassy and apparently against Soviet shipments followed within the next three weeks.

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the Chineso pressures were relaxed in the second week of February at preclsoly the moment when the North Vietnameseow offor on negotiations from President Johnson and Informed the Chinese that they would reject it. Ten days of North Vietnamese-Chinese negotiations in Peking Immediately thereafter appeared to unblock the Soviet shipments and reaffirm DRVfor the shipments at tho Sino-Soviet border. Tho February Sino-Viotnamese talks in Peking alsofacilitated the secret Sino-Soviet negotiations in March that resulted in the renewal of the5 Sino-Soviet rail transit agreement.

ofonthear across Chineso territory" and claimed that "tho actual requirements of the DRV in military froight, with duo account of thedeliveries earmarked for this year, add up to more0onth." (These figures are allin addition to economic rail shipments.) The Soviets charged that 'the most essential forms of Soviet military aid reach Vietnam in the volume which the Chinese leaders consider permissible and useful to themselves." It is possible, however, that the Chinese insistence on more limited military tonnage reflected not malevolent intent but rather the objective difficulties encountered by or anticipated for the North Vietnamese and Chinesesystems.

With the conclusion of the new agreement, theesser extent the DRV--began to disseminate many reports, often deliberatoly misleading, about the DRV role in assuming responsibility for Chineseof Soviet supplies. (Some such reports claimedtripartite" Sino-Soviet-Vletnamese agreement had been signed, although others contradicted this.) The aim

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floating these reports was apparently to convey to the United States the Message that transshipment difficultieshing of the past. ew source ofsoon appeared.

G, Apri1 7 to Date: Effects of the Cu1tural Revolution

Sincehe major problem for Sovlot rail shipments to Vietnam has been disruptions on Chineseresulting from Red Guard activity, particularly ln the summer7 and again in

Thore Is considerable evidence that Red Guardseeking weapons to use against their factionalsolzod weapons bound for Vietnam in July and peech ofeptember reported ln the Red Guard press, Chou En-lal revealed that "trains with military aid for Vietnam" had beenndstores destlnod for Vietnam looted. Chou'sto the passive attitude enjoined on the PLAby Peking ln that frenetic period explained how special trains guarded by PLA troops could be"ambushed." It was not until the fall that the PLA's instructions were changed to permit the army, among other things, to defend its weapons. These incidents maydelays In certain September rocket shipments about which tho Soviets latereking may have wished to wait until order had been sufficiently restored so that embarrassing Incidents would not occur with such sensitive woapons..

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difficulties recurred in the springhen the Chinese cultural revolution again entered aphase. Once again, it was Chou En-lai's task to cope with the damage. peech onay Chou lamented traffic tieups at three major rail junctions on the main railroad line from the USSR to Vietnam, and said that at the town of Liuchow, in Kwangsi adjoining Vietnam,istandstill" and "material cannot beto Vietnam,

between Peking and Hanoi was suspended in June and low-priority freight either halted or shifted to sea

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reasona into China ence would arriving in

keep funneling shipments were reappearing in the DRV, the infer-be that some shipments were actually

weapons shipments, the highest-priority traffic of all, seem to have beenarticularlyposition because weapons were the special target of Red Guard factions harrassing the rail lines. 3 Juno directive of the Chinese leadership revealedhipment of Chinese "support-Vietnam supplies" had been looted in Kwangsi. Onune Chou En-lai intervened once more (for the second time in two months) and demanded that these supplies be returned in toto and railwayrestored. In this atmosphere it seems likely that Soviet military equipment bound for Vietnam was alsoas the Soviets have in fact claimed

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By early July the North Viotnaotoso had begun to

complain to foreigners, perhapsoans ot putting

pressure on the Chinese. For example. ammmammmBnaammmammsal

,oId tne Worth

^oeofSovTet military supplies had boon "disrupted"

in China. The North Vietnamese may also have complained

directly to the Chinese in early July. uly directive,

personally endorsod by Mao, reiterated in threatening

tones the demand for the full restoration of rail traffic

and the return of all supplies looted,onvoy of

three high-priority trains was rushed south through

Kwangsi under military escortuly. Onuly a

messageLA unit cited stern demands by both the

Chief and Deputy Chief of the PLA General Staff that

traffic on the "whole line" be resumed "within two days."

Inorth Vietnamese delegation ln Peking is

reported to have pressed the Chinese for guarantees with

regard to rail transportation. evidence

radual improvement ination in the remainder of July and August.

The chaotic rail transit picture was furtherduring May and June by the coincidence ofleftward shift in Chinese domestic policy and the beginning of North Vietnamese talks with tho United States in Paris. To show the DRV his feelings about the talks, Mao authorizod simultaneous unpublicized demonstrations in early June outside the DRV consulates in Nanning,and Canton protesting the negotlatlngs.

The weight of the evidence, however, does nottho view that the rail delays tn south China were deliberately created by the Chinese regime infor the opening of tbe Paris talks. The factional struggles in Kwangsi that were tbe immediate cause of most of the rail troubles8 were partarger pattern of factional strife which arose simultaneously in many parts of China in the spring. The Chinese regime evidently made efforts through Chou En-lai, In May and June, to try to curb the disorders on the rail line without

sacrificing the current overall leftist line. When that did not suffice, the PLA in early July was ordered to crack down hard on railroad troublemakers despite the fact that the PLA at the time in some other places was still being forbidden to crack down on Red Guard factional struggle. The North Vietnamese war effort wasictim, butarget, of one of Mao's domestic aberrations.

However, tho possibilityesumption of the politically-motivated Chinese obstruction of previous years remains an important weapon held in reserve by Peking.

provideseans of applyingagainst North Vietnam, as it did inn the subject of negotiations. After all that hasit seems possible that Peking might indeed cut the flow of rail supplies to the DRVajor decisionto Mao should be reached in the Paris talks.

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II. The Issue of Air Transit of China

The Sino-Soviet struggle over rail transit to Vietnam has been mirrored in the last three yearsecondary running battle over Soviet efforts to use military air transports across China. Despite Soviet protests, the Chinese remained adamant, and, consequently tho Soviet airlift has been small-scale, intermittent, and marginal in importance.

The Soviets at oneFebruaryan "air corridor" across China for mass flights of transports to the DRV like the airlifts the Soviets have staged in Other parts of the world. The Chinese on5 flatly refused, in part because the Chinese feared that such large-scale flights would bo unduly provocative to the United States, and in part because they feared the Soviets would use these flights for espionage purposes. In addition, the Chinese may haveoviet right of mass overflight would undercut their asserted "sovereign" right to inspect all Soviet military cargoes passing through China to Vietnam.

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III. The Issue of Shipment by Sea

A. Private Chinese and Soviet Statements

The questions of shipping military hardware to North Vietnam by sea, and of Soviet reluctance to do so, seem to have arisen in private Slno-Sovlet negotiations from the time of the first controversies over rail and air transit in the spring As recriminations over rail transit delays grew, Chinese private comments ibout sea shipment

Soviet-sponsored charges about Chinese rail obstruction began to multiply In the Western press latehe Chinese surfaced chargesovardly Soviet refusal to use the sea routo.

The USSR has repeatodly suggested that it believes the Chinese wish toonflict between the Soviot Union and the United States in the Gulf of Tonkin. idely-distributed CPSU lotter to other parties in

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laimed that the Chinese soughtn order to be able to, as they themselves say,

observe the battle of the tigers while seated on the hill.'" In the Soviet leadersocument atd CPSU Congress which accused the Chinese of trying to force the Soviet Union to ship its military aid by sea andlash with the Seventh Fleet, and thereby to. showdown.

What the Soviets apparently have wanteday to carry weapons by sea to tho Far East, yet have someone else assume the burden of actual delivery to the DRV. olution would be available if the Chinese were willing

to accept Soviet shipments at Chineseas Canton

for transshipment to the DRV either by rail or by Chinese ship. At various times the Chinese have accepted Soviet economic cargoes, such as POL, for transshipment. The Soviets apparently havo tried and failed to get the Chinese to handle some military shipments in the same manner

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issue was surfaced on only ono occasion in the Soviet press. Onn Izvcstlya article charged that the Chinese had refused the USSR wf ree access to ono of South China's harbors, from which these (Soviet) weapons would be transported to Hanoi."*

evidence

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iips probably have not carried arms to North Vietnam. The conclusion is strongest regarding sophisticated, large, or bulky weapons, and less strong regarding small, simple weapons. Soviet ships may havo made unobserved clandestine deliveries of rifles or ammunition to Haiphong as the Chinese may havo done. But the political reason for Sovietthe wish toirect clash with the United States in the Gulf ofto be of such importance to the USSR as to make lt unlikely that the Soviet Union would make exceptionseneral ban on arms shipments to convey lower-priority weapons which could as well bo sent by rail.

B. Tho Soviet Attitude Toward a Potential Blockade

The USSR has obviously had great anxloty over the sea supply route to Northmain channel for Soviet economic and military-support shipments to tho DRV. The Soviets over the past three years have been concerned. bombing of DRV ports and ovor the possibility that the United States might take steps to closo DRV ports by mining or blockade. Through repeated vigorous protests the Soviet Union has sought to convey the impression that the USSR regards access to DRV ports as iraportnnt to Soviet

*It is possible, however, that Chinese ships havesmall arou^Canton orsuch shipments

of light weaponl^^lTTTiu"TTTu^>TTIeT^aTSi^ould be

difficult to discover. In this connection, it should be noted that Foreign Minister Chen Yl, ublishedofas quoted by NCNA as declaring: "Why can't Soviet military matorlal for Vietnam be shipped by sea as is that of otherEmphasis supplied.)

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Interests. One report suggests that the Soviot leadership has decided its interests would justify serious risk of confrontation with.

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In the spring oi vak Defense 'SI Minister Lomsky reported to tho collegium of the Ministry that the Soviets had issued an order to the Soviet navy to provide escorts for Soviet merchant vcssola ln the event that Haiphong was blockadedoviet vessel bombed in Haiphong harbor. This order also allegedly Called for efforts to break any blockade, Including steps to sweep minefields. Lomsky, who had Just returned from Moscow, said that the Soviets had told him that they would resist. moves to prevent Soviet ships fron going to The Soviot order was supposedly issuedime. statements pointedossible blockade of Haiphong.

It should bo noted, however, that this reporttho automatic provision of escorts for Sovietaf they were bombed in Haiphong harbor. 7 strafing incident at the DRV port ofSoviet Foreign Ministry note threatened "to takemeasures to Insure the safety of Soviot ships"incident wero reported. fterincidents had actuallyovietsaid that "tho corresponding Soviet departmentscompelled to take measures for insuring tho safetyvessels bound for DRV ports." However, noescorts were in fact provided. It seemsthisatter which the Soviet polltburo

undor close scrutiny and Continuing review. To somehr | |report has been in error.

It is possible that the Soviet navy, inas instructed to prepare contingency planspossible Soviet attempt toypotheticalofimplementation open asfor polltburothat lt was this which related to the Czech collegium and

reported in slightly garbled form. While ISI

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(although wo think on balance less than probable) that tho Soviet leadership Bight com to the decision Selna reports, it has probably not as yet decided what it would do in tho event. blockade.

IV. Tho tfoapons Withheld

The Soviet Union has indicated that some ,of the.roquestod by the DRV have been denied. The CPSU documont on Soviet military aid to Vietnam circulated among visiting foreign Communists ln Moscow in7 statod that "tho USSR has speedily satisfiedall the requests of the DRV for delivery of military equipment." ew paragraphs later, the document states, without elaboration, that "through the fault of the Chinas* side.lt has not been possible to deliver some typos of weapons to the DRV."

A. The KOKARs

The DRV has not received the KOMAR or OSA-class guided-mlHHile-firing patrol boat, which it wanted and apparently, at one timo thought it was going to receive. The failure to receive such boats must be particularly annoying to the DRV because, over the past decade tho USSR has distributed KOMARs and OS As toozen countries around the world, including some whom tho DRV must regard as far less deserving than itself.

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other weapons tho USSR has supplied to North Vlotnam,it was not practical to ship the KOMARs by rail or air across China; they would have to travel from Soviet ports to Haiphong as deck cargo. surveillanco. The Soviets instead evidently offered, at some time between February and to transfer tho KOMARs to DRV control in Chinese ports, whence they could mako thoir way to North Vietnam, as have the Chinese patrol boats transferred to the DRV by tho Chinese. The Chinese apparently refused, primarily for political reasons.

It is also conceivable that the USSR was also reluctant to have tho KOMARs in DRV hands at all because of concorn at the possibility that the DRV would use them to attack. ships, with uncalculable possibilities. counteraction. If tho Soviet Union was aware that the Chinese had laidlanket rule forbidding Soviet weapon* transshipment via Chinese ports, an offer to send

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the KOMARs in this way might have been used to force the Chinese to share the responsibility for the DRV's failure to receive KOMARs.

B. The Coastal Defense Missiles

A separate but related issue is the question of Soviet willingness to supply North Vietnam with short-range land-based coastal defense guided missiles, such as. Samlet or the.weapon carried on the KOMARs and OSAs. Supplying such weapons to tho DRV would have been somewhat less dangerous for the Soviet Union than supplying KOMARs or OSAs. Tho Samlets or Styxs could be transported without great difficulty by rail, thus avoiding the painful question of who would carry them into Haiphong by sea past the. fleet. (The USSR, howover, would then have to be willing to allow these missiles to bo examined minutely in transit by theseparate question.) Also, short-range coastal defense missiles are much more clearly defensive in nature than the KOMARs, and while useful against hostile ships operating closo to the North Vietnamese coast are notule usable. aircraft carriers which would generally be well out of range. Thus the use to which the North Vietnamese could put these weapons, unlike the KOMARs, would be limited and predictable for the Soviets, and the. response would also be more readily calculated in advance.

However, longer-range weapons, such asa. cruise missile Shaddock, wouldeal threat to American carriers and other major ships. Their possession by the DRV would conjure up for the USSR many of the same worrisome problems that would be created by the DRV's possession of KOMARs. In addition, the Soviets wouldbe even more reluctant to expose this longer-range missile to Chinese scrutiny on route to tho DRV than they would the Styx or Samlet. On either count, it may bethat if the Soviets declined to furnish the DRV with tho Samlet or Styx, they are quite unlikely to furnish the Shaddock or longer-range guided or ballistic missiles.

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rrQat the Soviets have been sohave been unwilling to give

the DRV even the short-range defensive missiles, it is conceivable that they may also have been reluctant to

T z * t0 insPectmissiles during transit to Vietnam.* This seems less likely; the USSR is reported to have furnished models of these weapons to the Chinese before the Sino-Soviet break.

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D. Caveats for the Future

The Chineso are known to have built botweenfourteen OSA and KOMAIt guidod missile boats. produced both .the Samlet and the Styx missile,is evidence that they have deployed coastalon land Installations. To date thoy havecoastal missiles nor KOHARs to North Vietnam. that they will do so will grow as theinventory of these items increases. ChinesopBBHHBBf0afJ| may have been alluding tt^hoKOi'AHcoastal missiles whon the) | [journalist I 8 that China waswiTuonlo offer the ot of sophisticated equipment,which China is now making and which Northnot been able to get from Russia." Anythe Chinese might give the coastal missiles orNorth Vietnam would dwindle if the Northtoajor concession In the peace talks. unlikely that the Chinese yet areositionthe DRV surface-to-surfaco guided missiles withmuch longer than that of the Styx, and itthat China would do so even if such weaponsto give.

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On tho Soviet side, tho marginal decision not to furnish North Vietnam with the Styx or Samlet might be reversed in time, but lt is not likely that the Soviet's negative attitude on sending longer-range surface-to-surface guided missiles to North Viotnam will change.

A more pressing Soviet problem, and temptation, might arise if the Vietnam negotiations should lendeasefire and the subsequent withdrawal of. naval units from the Gulf of Tonkin. Some Soviet loaders might then urgue for transporting of some Soviet military hardware to Vietnam by sea in order to establish, under conditions of minimumrecedent which. might thereafter accept, as it now accepts Soviet sea transportation of weapons to Cuba.

Original document.

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