Special Memo 7-65 FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1965 VIETNAM AND ITS

Created: 2/5/1965

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APPROVED rop RELEASE. DATE: 5

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SPECIAL MEMORANDUM5

he Dicensi^aB of Kosygin'e Trip

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Xosygin's Hanoi trip ia, clearly, the most distinct reflection yet seen of vhet appears toasic Soviet decision to contest the spread of Chinese Camnunist influence in the For East. This constitutes the sharpest break to date from the foreign policies of Khruehchev, vho had more or less abandoned the For Enatern field to the Chloeoe.

US might expend tbe var, it probably jc&sucist victory isear." In tbe

This Soviet decision la also of major consequence for tha Vietnam war. oviet estimate that. althourh_there remains _a_ cbance that yflT not. andcaeuni

Soviet vievictory, as matters now stand, wold redound excessively to Chinese advantage. We accordingly believe that the Soviet leaders seek to sharend guidehat they believe toommunist bandwagon. Xosygin's efforts will probably be designed to inspirit the DRV and improve its defenseto deter the US frcra deciding to go North at this late date, and to enhance the DRV bargaining position for any negotiations vlth tbe GVH/US.

vq obould expect scoc Soviet proposals to negotiate afashioned to facilitate subsequent DRV subversion of tbe South. Tbe Soviet leaders vould hope through ouch means to inflict defeat on tbe US without either expanded var or inordinate Chinese gain.

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A. Soviet Policy arid Ccasus 1st China

Kosygin'B projected trip to Hanoiajor development not only in the Immediate Vietnam thoater, but in General Soviet policy respecting the Far Eaat. From the viewpoint of Moscow, Far Eestern developments over the last year or so were generally bad. Cciraunlst Chinauclear power and grew mora Intractable than ever. Worth Korea and Worth Vietnam slid oteadily tcvnrd the Chinooo camp,urga won required to ccmbat anti-Soviet tendencies in Outer Mongolia. Peiping captured the Japanese party. The Indonesian Ccmmunist Party cooffiraed .its alignmant with the CCP, and the massive Soviet investment in Indonesia failed tourging state-to-state rapprochement between the outlaws, Djakarta and Peiping.

Amid this deterioration of Soviet positions, Khruabchev actedan who hadead end ond accepted it. In Indochina he gave every evidence of vishlng to disengage and to leave the whole sorry mesa to the Chinese and Americans to fight over. This became the first of his foreign policies to be reversed after hie overthrow, and there beveeries

of reassertlons of Soviet involvement in both Laos and Vietnam, climaxed by the announcement of Kosygiu's trip. The responr.ee to

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these preparatory steps have apparently given the Soviets reason to believe that Eacoi could be worked back toward its earlier aid-position in the Sine-Soviet dispute.

3. There is good evidence that the new Soviet leaders^from their first post-Khruohchev soundings, thatno less an enemy than before. And the possibility thatoiftht be puBhed out of Indochina, taken with China's otherlate, muEt have suggested to then that China was caking abetted by Soviet defaultominantin such of the Par East. Io thia context the journeyto Hanoidespite the stop in Peiping en routeasasic Soviet decision to contestadvance.

It. If bo, then how to contest It? In Vietnam itself, the Soviet answero go to the aid ofnother possible action Is to exert military pressure on the Sine-Soviet border.

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end indeed there ie seme suggestion of this in recent sooths

this, it ia harder to see. The conflict vith China should commend to tbeajor effort to cultivate state relations with Japan, but this has not yet developed; Moscow remains unwilling thus far to make even the moderate concession of returning two

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Insignificant islands to Japan.* As for Indonesia, the USSR appears almost as powerless as the US to reafeon with Sukarno or to apply effective pressure on bin. The Soviets apparently Judge that their military aid cannot be usedolitipal lever without great danger of backfiring. In effect, they are reduced to endorsing Sukarno's policies, swallowing their disappointments and fears, aod hopingost-Sukamo regime will reorient Indonesian policyere pro-Soviet direction.

is scmetiDes suggested that tbe USSR,ommon concern over China, might propose or agreeAsian policies with Washington. This Deems verythe first place, North Vietnam and Indonesia can hardly bethe Soviet aide by tactics of appeasing the US. In thewhere Soviet and U3 interests coincide, as in India,its policies reinforced by Washington without any In the third place, real collaboration stillto the Soviet Communists.

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the foregoing arguments are valid, they seemoviet need for actions which could weaken China directly.

Perhaps tbe reason is that the USSR fears to open up territorial Questions in even the slightest way lost this stimulate irredentist demands in China and East Europe.

These couldotal economic embargo, military incursions, incitement of dlBsidence in Chinese border regions, or as an extremeattacks on Chinese advanced weapons facilities. Yet Moscow Bust feel the outlook for such sanctions unpromising. Some of themreater degree of manifest hostility than the Soviets probably vent to display at this stage. Moreover, Peiping could cut off Soviet land communications with Southeast Asia. The Chinese could also bring added disruption to bear among Cccntunist nnd rag-tog groups the world around.

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These difficulties make the belated Soviet decision to combat China's burgeoning Par East influence all the more notable. Perhaps Khrushchev was right in acquiescing, and maybe-his successors will sadly ccce to see it that way, too. But, ifecond climb-down vill be ell the core embarrassing and expensive for the USSR. V'e cay thus see new efforts to raise the Soviet stock in India, Pakistan, Japan,and Burma. Above all,"however, it looks as if such Soviet offsetting io to be attnr.pt-id in tho Vietnam theater, primarily for what Moecov may be oble to accccjpliah there; but alsoemonstration to others that the USSR remains an Asian power.

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B. Soviet Policy ond Vietnam

8. In Koscov'i view the VC, the DRV, and the Chinese must appear on the way to victory in tbe war. S defeat vould of course profit Soviet interests. But such Soviet profit would have been von at considerable cost, for Chinese Influence in the For East vould almost certainly be advanced and thenti-Soviet case for "wars of national liberation" validated dramatically. The US'* declining political base in the South ond the US's continuedesitation to go Ifcrth cr even to retaliate to post-Tonkin Gulf provocationsust almost certainly have led Soviet leadership to conclude that elthougb the US might still expand tbe var, the chances favor US acceptance of deterioration or US negotiation out. In past crisesSoutheast Asia, offshore islands, and Hearhe Soviets have characteristically offered dramatic "support" only after they Judged that the accompanying risks had passed their

peak. So it may be in tbe present case.

$. Thus, at little cost end little believed risk, Kosygln and comrades may expect that they can gain credit vith DRV leaders by offering them military, aid againBt possible US attack and political aid against actual Chinese pressures. The Soviets may consider thot improved DRV defensos, now becked up by revived Soviet concern, and

by Soviet technicians oo the spot, vill heighten US reluctance to try victory through air power in North Vietnam. The Soviet leaders must also believe that in the event that, contrary to theirions, the US should lash out against the DRV, the increaocd presence of the USSR would enhance its voice in Ccoimunist responaes and thereby help to keep an expanded var from assuming proportions endangering the USSR's security.

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10. Finally, the Soviet leaders must feel that if theor months bring success to the Communist cause inmajor initiative can Increase the Soviet and diminish thein the advantages of victory. They probably even feelprestige and influence vould be batter served byUS vithdroual from South Vietnam to vhichotal collapse of the CVH or an outright Viet Congvictory. Accordingly, we should be alert to thethe USSR, hcving strengthened tbe DRV's military andmay propose some negotiated settlement of tbe

Such terms vould probably be ostensibly reasonable, designed to

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afford tbelausible and face-saving formula for disengaging from its present scale of involvement in South Vietnam, vhlla in foct facilitating subsequent DRV subversion of South Vietnam.

The Soviet leaders would hope through such means to inflict defeat on the'US without either expanded war or inordinate Chinese gain.

There would be obvious uncertainties in this course from the Vietnamese Communists* point of view. After Dien biod Pbu, theyegotiated settlement instead of pressing their military advantage. They hoped then that subversion and political action would soon bring them the fruits of victory, yet forears these fruits have been kept from them. They might be loath to see this happen again. Sovcvcr, they would almost certainly consider that the chances of another such frustration were slight. Whot kept South Vietnam afloat after the French departure was the advent of the US. Now, if the US withdraws its present massive support, there would be no other bulwark in sight. The-DRV/VC would almosthave considerable confidence that lo these circumstances they could take over South Vietnam in fairly short order and with little risk of serious challenge.

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TEE BOARD C? NATIONAL ESTIMATES:

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SHERMAN KENT Chairman

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