CENTRAL IHTELLIQEHCE AGENCY OmCE OF KATICKAL ESTIMATES
LPJ LIBRARY MandatoVy Review
SUBJECT: Reactions to Continuation Sf Termination of the Pause in Air Attacks on the DRV
To estimate the reactions of Ccejcunlst and Icportant nan-CoocunlBt nations to:
X. ontinuation of the booblag pause; ii. esumption of bcehlng in the IEV:
the pre-pouse pattern, with LOCs bonbeddefined limits fraa the Chi tie bp border and
no strikes within the Eanoi and Haiphong perimeters;
of bombing to POL faciiitiee,and other military associatedthose within the Hanoi andwhere this could be donecivilian casualties;
Asnd B, plus raining of Haiphong harbor
and the two lesser ports to the north.
For all three cases. It Is assured that SAM altes would be struck as necessary to carry out the program without unacceptable losses, and that airfields would be struck If, but only If, hostile air actionignificant Impediment to the carrying out of the program.
Wo assume that, whether or not bombing la resumed, there willontinued buildup of US forcea Im the South.
The great bulk erf present evidence indicates that Hanoi la not prepared to sake significant concessions In order toettlement In Vietnam or torolonged ceasatlon of US air attacks. This would not rule out private or public moves by Hanoi to test US termsettlement. Such efforts would, from their point of view, serve both to test US de-termlnntion, now possibly under doubt In their minds, and also to encourage the US to prolong the pause. In our view, however, Hanoi'a general attitude toward the pauae and the US diplomatic offortslollcates that the DBV leaders Intend to continuensurrection ln the South, even though they expect that if they do the US will eventually resume bombings, probably on an augmented scale.
Tfcereumber of possible re&aona for this attitude. Including Chinese pressures and concern over Viet Cong cohesion during any possible negotiations. Moreover, behind these tactical considerations lie basic Judgments by the North Vietnamese that they canreat deal more bombing If necessary, end that they have political and military advantages which still promise ultimate aucceas or atar more favorable settlement than the US appears willing to accept at this time. Thus, their hopes and morale ride almost entirely an the course of events in the South.
The Chinese make similar Judgments. In addition, they believe that larger stakes are involved. They greatly fearegotiating phase in the Vietnam war would reinforce what they secoviet-US collaboration to Isolate China and stifle the world revolutionary movement. They have almost certainlyard line on Hanoi during the pause, and have publicly warned against entering into any dealings with the US.
The Soviets probablyore complicated view. They have reaffirmed their commitments to Hanoi ln the face of the continued US buildup end the chances of renewed bombing. At the same time, they have made some effort to bring the US and the ORV into political contact in hopes of blocking further escalation.
We doubt that tbey have put much pressure cm Hanoi to enter negotiations, but tbey have probably aade clear Moscow's preference for primarily political tactics at thin stage of tbe struggle. Their efforts have apparently failed, and they probably see no choice new tut to persevere ln supporting Hanoi while awaiting another opportunity for diplomacy.
5- The Kcm-Ccmunlat Countries. Most opinion, both governmental and private, is relieved that US air attacks nave been suspended and hopes that negotiations can be arranged* In the middle ground between staunch US supporters and those alienated from OS purposes, tbe contrast between OS initiatives and the DHV's inflexibility has shifted onto Banol andarger share of the blase for an unpopular war. Except for certain US allies ln Asia, post governments hope that escalation car, be prevented, and several states are racking or plan to make mediation efforts which, In their view, would be nullified by an early renewal of bombing.
II. REACTIONS TO COIiTTNUATIOII OF TIE PAUSE
6. The DRV. It Is possible that Hanoi intends to make some meaningful approach to the US. If so, the most logical tlae would be in the near future,oint it calculated to be the last moment before the anticipated resumption of OS bombing. Almost certainly It would not do so after bombing was resumedat least for some tine.
Giver. Hanoi's attitudes as we now entlmete then to be, however, an indefinite continuation of the bombing pause would almost certainly encourage the DRV to believe that continued struggle was on the right courae. It would probably attribute prolongation to heavy foreign and domestic pressures on the US government. It might from time to time make minor political moves designed to encourage the US to extend the pause. But we do not believerolonged pause would lead the DRV leaders to reduce their termsettlement so long as they still expected to prevail in the South.
Corarjr.lst China. Peking would be encouragedontinued bombing pause. The Chinese leaders would feel that the continued standdown has greatly reduced tha chancesino-US war and the risks of any call upon their air forces to try to defend the DRV. They would urge upon Hanoi that the failure to resume bombingign of US weakness, and would claim that the policies they have advocated were being Justified. They would still be concerned that the pause was related to diplomatic problnga, and would continue to warn Hanoi against negotiations.
USS7-. The Soviets would not share the view thatof the pauseundamental USwould probably still regard the US as committed to ain SVN, but they would be gratified that the pause limitedof their own involvement and relieved then of pressuresDRV airspace. Soviet policy toward Vietnamnot change much. The USSR would continue to supplyiM, but it would probably seek to keep aUve thenegotiations, hoping in this way to ward offesolution whichontinued Sovietthe area. If the pause were prolonged, the Soviets wouldfreer to Improve their relations with the US inas opportunity and Interest dictated.
World. Asian governments allied withexcept Japan, would be distressed by prolongation ofpause. In the CVN especially, morale would bedoubts as to US constancy would grow. However, thebuildup of US forcea in the South would do much tofeelings. In Japan, whore the bombing of the Norththe major element in growing public opposition to thein Vietnam, continuation of the pause would be esult, the Sato government would beleftist attacks on its hatstliag of Southeast Asian policy.
13. eneral proposition, va believe that variations lo the scope of the bombing would not produce algnlflcantly different responses from the DTTV. ould present them with greater physical difficulties than Course A. But In all of these contingencies we believe that Hanoi would continue to support the insurgency In the South and to defend lta air space as best it could. At some point It might elaborate on the hint, planted by General Tolubko's visit, that continued escalation could bring Soviet surface-to-surface miSBlles Into North Vietnam.
ih. Coccunlst China. Renewed bombing, even on the expanded scalend C, would not be likely to diminish the confidence Of the Chinese in eventual victory through the techniques of "people's war." Indeed, though they wouldontinued pause, they would even derive some satisfaction. In the event of renewal, from the obvious failure of the US and the Soviets to move the struggle to the negotiating table, from the increasing political and military costs to the US of the effort, from the hardening of the DRV attitude which bombing would produce, and from the continuing heavy dependence of the DRV on China.
15. On the other band, renewed bombing, especiallynd C, would raise problema for the Chinese. They would feel that their boasted readiness to aid their small partner was being
tested in the eyes of the world. At the same time, they would he deeply worried that tbe war might spread to Chinese territory. It is likely that they would respond to enlarged air attacks on the DRV with greatly increased logistic support, including large
additional numbers of engineer and supply troops and, possibly.
anti-aircraft units. Ke think it unlikely that Peking would Intervene in combat with aircraft or infantry. nevertheless, the Increase of their logistical presence In North Vietnaa and the strengthening of their military position In South China improves their capabilities for such intervention should tbey decide to undertake it.
1G. The USSR. The Soviets would belabor the US in public, would send more military aid to the DRV, and would make other gestures of support. We continue to believe, however, that the odda are against their intervening ln radical new ways which would expose them to seriousy introducing surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. The chances are aonewhat greater that they would contribute KOKAR boats or cruise missiles. Moscow-would also try to keep up US hopeseaceful settlement, working to achieve another pause in the futurerelude toettlement.
17- The Ken-Communist World. Resumption ol* air attacks vouia produce popular disappointment, much of which would be directed against the US. Revertbeless, the contrast Between US efforts to get negotiations started and DRY Inflexibility wouldarge share of tho blame to fall on Hanoi and Peking. We believe that no states that now support the US policy would cease to do so. However, states which conceive of themselves as active mediatorn would feel that their efforts had been alighted. The most significant effect would probably be in Japan, where there would be renewed apprehension over Chinese involvement and pressures on Satoore neutral Btance on Vietnam would grow.
18. The timing and manner of resumption would probably have some effect on initial non-Communist reactions. The tendency to blame the US would be appreciably strengthened If bombing were resumed immediately after Tet and If it were renewed on the scale ofr C. Conversely, Hanoi wouldreater burden If major post-Tet offensives by VC/pAVH forces preceded the renewal of air attacks upon the Horth. Even in thesehowever, much of world opinion would tend, in time, to forget the particulars and to urge the US again to make concessions.
19. Specie! Ccnai3eratlonB of Course B. Destruction of the main POL facilities and electric power plants would deprive the modern sector of the north Vietnamese economy of Its main sources of power. However, this modern sector lo not essential to the viability of the mv. Aboutercent cf the people live In rural areas and depend little If any on the modern sector. Traditional means of transport could provide the rather limited necessary circulation of food end clothing. The fundamental needs of the people would continue to be met. nevertheless, many people would undergo great inconvenience; some would suffer serious hardshlpa and personal losses; and civilian casualties would be higher than heretofore. These things would arouse protests in various parts of the world, especially among those who already oppose US policies. Bat we think that this kind of bombing would not create serious problems of popular morale in the IHV or weaken the region's determination to resist.
20. Reactions Peculiar to Course C, Mining the Ports. During the past six months, calls at North Vietnamese ports by Free World ships, primarily vessels of British registry chartered by the Connainiota, have rangedndonth. We believe that itt'T'Ipe the main harbors, even with adequate warning to avoid unintentional damage to shipping, would bring Increased attacks on
OS policy throughout tha Free World. The Norwegian and British governments, especially, vould he under added domestic pressure to oppose the OS actions. The UK government vould Indicate reservations about the mining, but vould probably not vigorously press its case on the US nor oppose the action ln public.
Soviet Union vould be presented with a The dITTiculty of clearing such mine fields andof res owing vould virtually rule out efforts to reopen The Soviets vould certainly protest vigorously andfor aome kind of action in the UN. We do notthat the Soviets vould rink their ships in mined Peking and Hanoi would try to keep the necessaryby shallow-draft coastal shipping and overland transport.
Impact on the Military Situation in the South
the preceding paragraphs we have discussedthat renewed aerial attacks at A,evelsnotignificant change ln Omsmunlst policyto Vietnam. We have stressed that Hanoi vould bebe discouraged only if Cospjnlirt forces were taking ain the South. We must, therefore, consider whatbombing in the North vould be likely to have oncapabilities in the South.
23. Resumption of pre-pause levels (Course A) vould not have an appreciably different impact from that of the past few months, during which the Communists have been able to increase the level of their military activity in the South.
ttacks, if prosecuted vigorously enough, could knock out most of the DRV'a modern industrial sector and substantially reduce its modern transport capability. However, this modem sector is not essential to the support of the insurgency in the South. ZSV industry providesmall part of the weapons and munitions sent Southrenades, land
replaced from Chinese sources.
25. Destruction of the major POL facilities would deprive the DRV of most of its stored POL. 0 tons, or two-thirdsormal month's supply, is estimated to be dispersed la drums and small tanks. Closing of Haiphong by mines would cut off the means by which most POL haa been entering the country. Such losses vould Initially disorganize the Communiet logistic effort, but they would probably resort to rail shipment to P'ing-hsiang on the Slno -Vietnamese border and truck shipment from there on Often coving at nighty augmented by coastal shipping, to continue
essential supplies. Carts and wagons drawn by animals and birtim could continue logistic support where POL was lacking. This was done In Vietnam during the war against the French and In Korea by tho Chinese and North Koreans. Supply of the Cceiratnlst troops ln South Vietnam would be much more difficult than at present, but they could not be prevented from moving the relativelyamounts required even for an expansion erf the levels of conflict in the South. Thus we do not believe that even the maximum (Course c) level of air attack on tho DRV would, in itself,ritical impact on the combat ability of the Cccmuniat forces in South Vietnam.
POP THS HOARDATIONAL ESTIMATES:
SHERMAN KENT Chairman
*> The requirement for outside supply of the Cocounist forces In South Vietnam at recent levels of combat Is ectimated to average aboutay. Even with the Contain.st force increases projected by KACV for the endnd at greatly Intensified levels of combat, requirements vould average onlyay. The weakest part of the lines of coccauiicatlon, the Lao corridor4 is estimated toapacity of about "COay even under present levels of bombing.
- 1I1 -Original document.