UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD MEMORANDUM
RECENT INDICATIONS OF COMMUNIST INTENTIONS IN SOUTH VIETNAM
Dim STATES DJTELLIGQJCE EOARD
SUBJECT: RECENT IKDICATIOIS OF fXWUTTIST IJiTEHTIOTS IN SCOTH VIETNAM
1. During the post three vee)t6 Communist powers haveumber of statements threatening increased participation ln the Vietnam conflict. Onarch the Viet Cong political arm, the Notional Liberation Front of South Vietnameclared that, "If the US Inperlolists continue to eend their troops and the troops of their satellites Into South Vietnntn and to expand the wnr to the North and to Leoa, the KLFSV will cell upon the world peoples to send troops and youths to come and aide with the South Vietnamese people." It vent cn to threaten to call on the South Vietnamese who have been in the North "for the past ten years to return to take up weapons to exterminate the enemy and save their country."
2. The Chinese Communists responded onarch pledging to send "all necessary material aid" end declaring readiness "to send our own men whenever the South Vietnamese people want them." Onarch Peiping for the first time directly linked the South Vietnam situation to China's security, stating thot following the USagainst North Vietnam "its next step will be aggression againstnd that China's
Excluded from autceatic downgrading and decloBSificetion
security can only be assured by driving the US out of South Vietnam. Through various spokesmen Peiping has several times repeated its pledges of help to the Viet Cong.
3- Onerch Horth Korea also responded by officially offering to send volunteers if requested. It has attempted to heighten the effect by publicising the numbers of citizens it claims are volunteering for Vietnamese service.
h. Hanoi hasittle more restrained then Peiping, although It has given full publicity to the NLFSV statements. Although not specifically threatening to send North Vietnamese troops, Hanoi has supported the Front's threat to call on "regrouped" Southerners to return to fight with the Viet Cong. Hanoi has organized an extensive propaganda campaign to publicize the readiness of the Southerners to return and to mobilize the northern population "to be ready to fight anywhere needed." Hanoi has also widely publicized offers from Chinese nnd other foreigners to fight In Vietnam.
5- Moscow has beer, comparatively reticent. Although it promptly published brief reports of the HLFSV appeal for material aid and Its reference to foreign troops, it made no comment on tlie appealpril, when Kosyglo said thot it hodpositive response"
In the Soviet Union- Sincearch Mosccv concent*tors have freouently noted the readiness of Soviet citizens to volunteer to go to Vietnam, but they have not llnhed this to the HLFSV appeal. Hooeov has instead stressed the importance of Its Material aid to the DRV.
6. Of the vhole range of Communist statements, none makes an Immediate commitment to direct intervention. Material aid, including veapons, is promised, but personnel are promised only If the Viet Cong needs and oeks for them. We believe auchre designed to bolster the morale of the Viet Cong and the DRV In the face of stopped-up US pressurer and, nore especially, to deter the US froa extending Its bombing and increasing Its forces in the area. Nevertheless, their willingness to go as far as to threaten intervention suggests that the CcBjauniBts are prepared to take sone further steps to fulfill their warnings with token numbers of "volunteers" froa oilier Communist countries.
7- Io order to deter the US and to stimulate international aai domestic pressureshange in US policy, the Connunistr, particularly the Chinese, ore seeking to raise the spectreorea-type war. Actually, at this stage, the Chinese Communists have less reason to intervene in Vietnam than they had In Koreaears ago end more reason to fear the US reaction If they should do so. The Coonunists nbaoat certainly believe that the best voy to advance their cause is to prevent further US escalation of the war and to press their advantage in the South.
8. Thl* It apparently exactly what the Ccexaunists are doing: while using threats In the hope ofiting US participation ln the conflict, they are preparing for increased military activity in South Vietnam. Talk of the obligation to send personnel vill probably be used to Justify the introduction of foreign military technicians, and any PAVN units sent to the South could be called "regrouped Southerners returning from the Horth." Considerable numbers of foreign specialists may be introduced into Horth Vietnam in coming months, but very fev are likely to Join the Viet Cong in the South. The Asian Communists (especially those ln Peiping) are both sensitive and arrogant; they could be provoked into irrational actions. On balance, hovever, in the absence of other indicators, ve believe that the recent Communist threats do notcrcan-type intervention now.
9- ore lrssediate military threat lies in South Vietnam, perticularlv, ve believe, in the northern part. There has been clear evidence in post months of en accelerated buildup of Cccmcunlst forces in this region. Viet Cong have been brought in from other regions and there Is considerable evidence that regular PAVN units have been introduced Into Western Kontuti province. Introduction of regular PAVN units vould indicate lessened concern on tho part of the DRV to conceal its involvement in South Vietnam. This buildup in capabilities almost certainly indicates an intention to undertake offensive actions cf greater scope and significance than
hitherto attempted in this area. The security situation in this area has so deteriorated that an accelerated sustained effort by the VC, or ad attack on some key point, could have grave consequences for the GVH. Such an attack could come against any oneumber ofontum, Ban Ho Thuot, Qui Hhon, Pleiku, Hue, or Da Kang.
forces are currently building up in two areasand near Da Ifsng, The epproachinR southwest mensoon willnir activity in areas west of the coastalcoastal strip east of the range, however, will becomeand dry during the sane period. Consequently, COBstunlstfor an attack on Da Sang or Hue would be more vulnerable
to air strikes.
buildup in northern South Vietnam has been In progressleast six months, and it may be that preparationsajorcontinue for some time to ccce. For this reason and becausewide ranfte of possible targets, ve cannot predict either wheresuch an attack is most likely to occur.Original document.