MEMO 1/19/66 REACTIONS TO CONTINUATION OR TERMINATION OF THE PAUSE IN AIR ATTAC

Created: 1/19/1966

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AOENCI OFFICE OP NATIONAL ESTIMATES

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Reactions to Continuation .of Termination of the Pause

MEMORANDUM ]

in Air Attacks on the DRV

TBE PROBLEM

To estimate the reactions of Communist and important non-Cconuntst nations to:

I. ontinuation of tbe bombing pause; II. esumption of bombing in the DRV:

the pre-pause pattern, vith LOCs bombeddefined limits from the Chinese border and

no strikes within the Hanoi and Haiphong perimeters;

of bombing to POL facilities,and other military associatedthose within the Hanoi andwhere this could be donecivilian casualties;

C, ,nd B, plus nlninc of Haiphong harbor and the two lesser ports to the north.

For all three cases, it Is assumed that SAM sites vould be struck as necessary to carry out the progroa without unacceptable looses, and that airfields would be struck if, but only if, hostile air actionignificant impediment to the carrying out of the program.

We assume that, whether or not bombing Is resumed, there willontinued buildup of OS forces in the South.

I. IOTRODUCTIOH

1. The great bulk of present evidence Indicates that Hanoi is not prepared to make significant concessions in order toettlement In Vietnam or torolonged cessation of US air attacks. This vould not rule out private or public moves by Hanoi to test US termsettlement. Such efforts vould, from their point of view, serve both to teat US determination, now possibly under doubt in their minds, and also to encourage the US to prolong the pause. In our view, however, Hanoi's general attitude toward the pause and the US diplomatic effortslnllcat aa that the DRV leaders intend to continue the insurrection In the South, even though they expect that If they do the US will eventually resume bonbings, probably on an augmented scale.

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?, Thereapher of possible nanons for this attitude. Including Chineae preBsurefl and concern over Viet Cong cohesion during any possible negotiations. Moreover, behind these tactical considerations lie basic judgments by the North Vietnamese that they conreat deal more bombing If necessary, and that they have political and military advantages vhich still promise ultimate success or atar more favorable settlement than the US appears vllling to accept at this time. Thus, their hopes and morale rldo almost entirely on the course of events in the

South.

3. 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 seeoviet-US collaboration to Isolate China and stifle the vorld revolutionary movement. They have almost certainlyard line on Hanoi during the pause, and have publicly warned against entering into any dealings vith the US.

fc>. The Soviets probablyore complicated view. They have reaffirmed their commitments to Hanoi in the face of the continued US buildup and the chances of renewed bombing. At the same time, they have made some effort to bring tha US and the DRV Into political contact in hopes of blocking further escalation.

We doubt that they have put much pressure on Hanoi to enter negotiations, but they have probably made clear Moscow's preference for primarily political tactics at this stage of the struggle. Their efforts have apparently felled, and they probably see no choice now but to persevere In iupporting Hanoi while awaiting another opportunity for diplomacy.

5- The Son-Communist Countries. Host opinion, both governmental and private, Is relieved that US air attacks have been suspended and hopes that negotiations can be arranged. In the middle ground between staunch US supporters and those alienated from US purposes, the contrast between US initiatives and the DRV's Inflexibility has shifted onto Hanoi ondarger shore of the blame for on unpopular wax. Except for certain US allies in Asia, most governments hope that escalation con be prevented, and several states are making or plan to make mediation efforts which, in their view, would be nullified by on early renewal of bombing.

II. REACTIONS TO CONTINUATION OF THE PAUSE

6. The DRV. It is possible that Hanoi Intends to make some meaningful approach to the US. If so, the most logical time vould be in the near future,oint it calculated to be tbe last moment before the anticipated resumption of US bombing. Almost certainly it vould not do so after bombing was resumedt least for some time.

7- Given Hanoi's attitudes as we now estimate then to he, hovever, an Indefinite continuation of the combine pause vould almost certainly encourage tho DRV to believe that continued struggle vaa on the right course. It vould 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 ve do not believerolonged pause vould lead the DRV leaders to reduce their termsettlement so long as they still expected to prevail In the South.

6. Communist China. Peking vould be encouragedontinued bombing pause. The Chinese leaders vould feel that the continued standdovn has greatly reduced the chancesino-US vor and the risks of any call upon their air forces to try to defend the DRV. They vould urge upon Hanoi that the failure to resume bombingign of US weakness, and vould claim that the policies they have advocated were being justified. They vould still be concerned that the pause was related to diplomatic probings, and would continue to warn Hanoi against negotiations.

The USSR. The Soviets would not share the viewontinuation of tbe pauseuxtdanental US Irresolution. They would probably still regard the US as committedong war in SVN, hut they vould be gratified that the pause limited the risks of their own involvement and relieved them of pressures to protect DRV airspace. Soviet policy toward Vietnam probably would not change much. The USSR would continue to supplyaid, but it vould probably seek to keep alive the possibility of negotiations, hoping In this way to ward off future escalation andesolution whichontinued Soviet presence In the area. If the pause were prolonged, the Soviets would feel somewhat freer to Improve their relations with the US in other areas as opportunity and interest dictated.

Won-Cccaiunlst World. Asian governments allied with the US, except Japan, would be distressed by prolongation of the bombing pause. In the GVH especially, morale would he lowered end doubts as to US constancy would grow. However, the continuing rapid buildup of US forces in the South would do much to relieve these feelings. In Japan, where the bombing of the North has been the major element in growing public opposition to the US course in Vietnam, continuation of the pause would be generally welcomed. esult, the Sato government would be strengthened against leftist attacks on Its handling of Southeast Asian policy.

Euro-Dean all lee of the US would In general beaee an indefinite prolongation of the pause in bombing. be relieved that the prospectidened warto be diminished. The uncommitted nations wouldthe US some credit for good intentions, but on theeffect aaong these nations would be not to win them toside but to diminish the dogree of their opposition toUS course in Vietnam.

HI. REACTIONS TO RESUMPTION OF BOMBING

DRV. Hanoi almost certainly expect* the USbombing In the absence of any conciliatory moves onpart. If anyone In Hanoi seriously thought that thean Intention of the US to yield its position, hedisabused. Hanoi might be confirmed In its declared viewpause was no moreevice to strengthen the USand Justify an Intensification of the war. There isthat Hanoi vould have misjudged the pause,Intentions of the US, sad be surprised by the resumption In the unlikely event that this was true, awhich began with targets related to the movement of men

and supplies to the South, eight cause the DRV to make some political moves to avert an expansion of the attack. We think It far sore likely that Hanoi has discounted In advance the renewal of bombing and would be prepared to accept it.

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13. eneral proposition, we believe that variations in the scope of the bonbing would not produce significantly different responses from the DRV. 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 its 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 misailc3 into Horth Vietnam.

Ik. Communist China. Renewed bombing, even on the expended scalend C, vould not be likely to diminish the confidence of the Chinese in eventual victory through the techniques of "people's war." Indeed, though they vouldontinued 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 coats 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 hand, renewed bombing, especiallynd C, vould raise problems 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 sane time, they would he deeply worried that the 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. Ve think it unlikely that Peking would intervene In combat with aircraft or infantry. Nevertheless, the increase of their logistical presence in North Vietnam and the strengthening of their military position In South China improves their capabilities for such intervention should they decide to undertake it.

The USSR. The Soviets would belabor tbe 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 odds are against their Intervening in radical new ways which would expose them to seriousy introducing surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. The chances are somewhat greater that they vould contribute Kf*WR boats or cruise missiles. Moscow would also try to keep up OS hopeseaceful settlement, working to achieve another pause in the futurerelude toettlement.

The Hon-Oonminlflt World. Resumption of air attacks vould produce popular disappointment, much of which vould be directed against the US. Nevertheless, the contrast between US efforts to get negotiations started and DRV inflexibility vouldarge share of the blame to fall on Hanoi and Peking. Ve believe that no states that now support the US policy would cease to do so. However, states which conceive of themselves as active mediators would feel that their efforts had been slighted. The most significant effect would probably be In Japan, where there would be renewed apprehension over Chinese involvement and pressures on Satoore neutral stance on Vietnam vould grow.

The timing and manner of resumption vould probably

have some effect on initial noo-Communlst reactions. The tendency to blame the US would be appreciably strengthened if bombing were resumed immediately after Tet ond 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 North. Even in thosehowever, much of world opinion would tend, in time, to forget the particulars and to urge the US again to make concessions.

Special Considerations of Course B. Do atruction of the main POL facilities and electric power plants vould deprive the modern sector of the Horth Vietnamese economy of its main sources of power. However, this modern sector Is not essential to the viability of the DRV. Aboutercent of 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 and clothing. The fundamental needs of the people vould continue to be net. Nevertheless, many people vould undergo great inconvenience; some would suffer serious hardships and personal losses; and civilian casualties would be higher than heretofore. These things vould arouse protests In various parts of thespecially among those who already oppose US policies. But we think that this kind of bombing would not create serious problems of popular morale in the DRV or weaken the regime's determination to resist.

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 Communists, have ranged betweenndonth. We believe that mining the main harbors, even with adequate warning to avoid unintentional damage to shipping, vould bring increased attacks on

US policy throughout the Free World. The HorveGian and British governments, especially, would be under added domestic pressure to oppose the US actions. The UK goverranent would Indicate reservations about the mining, but would probably not vigorously press Its case on the US nor oppose the action in public.

Soviet Union would be presented with a The difficulty of clearing such mine fields andof rescuing vould virtually rule out efforts to reopen The Soviets would certainly protest vigorously andfor some kind of action In the UN. We do notthat the Soviets would risk their ships In mined Viet none Peking and Hanoi would try to keep the necessaryby shallow-draft coastal shipping and overland transport.

Impact on the Military Situation in the South

tho preceding paragraphs we nave discussedthat renewed aerial attacks at A, B,evelsnotignificant change In Communist policyto Vietnam. We have stressed that Hanoi would bebe discouraged only if Communist forces were taking ain the South. We must, therefore, consider whatboohing In the Horth vould be likely to have oncapabilities in the South.

23- Reiuaption of pre-pauae level* (Course a) vould not have an appreciably different lispact from that of the past few months, during vhleh the Ccamuilsta have been able to Increase the level of their allitary activity in the South.

ttacks, if prosecuted vigorously enough, could knock out most of the DRV's modern Industrial sector and substantially reduce Its modern transport capability. However, this modern sector Is not essential to the support of the insurgency io the South. DRV industry providesmail pert of the weapons and munitions sent Southrenades, land mines, and some small-arms munitionsnd these could bo replaced froa Chinese sources.

25. Destruction of the major POL facilities would deprive the DRV of most of Its stored POL. 0 tone, or two-thirdsormal month's supply, is estimated to be dispersed in drums and email tanks. Closing of Haiphong by mines would cut off the Beans by which most POL has been entering the country. Such losses would Initially disorganize the Conminlst logistic effort, but they would probably resort to rail shipment to P'lng-hslang on the Sino-Vietnamese border and truck shipment froa there oo Often moving atugmented by coastal shipping, to continue

essential supplies. Carts and wagons drawn by animals and humans could continue logistic support where POL was lacking. This was done In Vietnam during the war against the French and In Korea by the Chinese and North Koreans. Supply of the Ccmmunlst troops in South Vietnam would be much more difficult than at present, but they could not be prevented from moving the relatively small amounts required even for an expansion of the levels of conflict in the South.* Thus ve do not believe that even tho maximum (Course C) level of air attack on tho DRV vould, in Itself,ritical Impact on the ccmbat ability of the Communist forces In South Vietnam.

FOR TEE BOARD OF NATIOIIAL ESTIMATES:

Sf{ERMAN KENT Chairman

The requirement for outside supply of the Communist forces in

South Vietnam at recent levels of combat is estimated to average aboutay. Even with the Communist force increases projected by MACV for the endnd at greatly Intensified levels of ccmbat, requirements would average onlyay. The weakest part of the lines of communication, the Lao corridor. Is estimated toapacity of about "iCOay even under present levels of bombing.

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