PROBABLE COMMUNIST REACTIONS TO US OPTION C OR C-PRIME MEASURES

Created: 11/23/1964

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STANDARDS-HI) PiettiiDaon/iioO

PR0DA3LE CCMCSnST REACTIONS TO USSTKE MEASURES A. To Initial US Moves (on described In the sequential

graduated actions,l)

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We consider It highly unlikely that these coves vculd cause Consmlst China to react in any extreme fashion at thla Juncture.

We consider it unlikely that the DRV would react ln any extreme fashion at this Juncture.

We also consider it unlikely that the DRV would yield or take any significant stops la that direction.

U. The meet likely DRV course would be to bold firm.

The DRV would attest to defend DRV territory.

Defensive action by aircraft from Phuo Yen airfield would be possible but we consider It unlikely because of the nature of the contemplated US actions and tbe distance of these actions from the Phuo fen airbase. In Laos,orces would attempt to counter US/QVN air attacks and cross-border operations; tha DH7 would probably raise Its level of assistance to these PL/VM forces, though would probably not Introduce any significant numbers of PAV3 units.

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JFK LIDFARY

DATORYOCUMENT * 1

would probably direct the VC topreoeurou in the South but might make some movesor ootensibla compliance. Ue doubt thatCany large-scale frontal assaults, but they probablyreprisals on US personnel and facilities identifiedactivities, and on other targets in South Vietnam.

and Peiping would ceanwhilo almosttheir utmost to stimulate condemnation of the US attacksopinion, aci, if negotiations beean, would takepositions.

and Peiping would Increase their threatsand both would probably undertake forceto add to the credibility of these threats. Eanoiappeal for additional Chinese Cossualstradar, anti-aircraft, artillery, combatcraft, and technical personnelhich Peipingsupply. We doubt that Hanoi would requestground troopn at this Juncture.

5. The USSR would make propaganda and political efforts on behalf of the DRV, and perhaps consent to furnish some military equipment, but would almost certainly take stops to Insure that Hanoi and Peiping were kept aware of the limits of Soviet support.

EicheT-Scale CS Cry:tfai Moves

deucribcd ino.ff'*)

We cannotonfident judgment of sneer/ reactions in these situations, although we incline to those views:

6. To the flrat categories ofeves: air strikes against selected targets in the DBV, aerial mining of certain DRV ports, and inyositioaaval quarantine blockade):

eactions would probably be essentially defen-

slve in character: that is, employing all available air defense, including aircraft, in defense of DRV territory. DRV forces would probably also attempt tc harass naval blockade vessels. The DRV would probably not attempt any overt Invasion of Laos or South Vietnam, although they might re-deploy some units to southern North Vietnam.

b. de DBV would probably make some coves toward apparent compliance, but would probably not be prepared to mfce any early significant concessions.

ce DRV would nevertheless probably modulate VC

pressures, feigning innocence, by turning VC pressures up or down.

In view of the magnitude of US air add naval superiority ve doubt

tfcot Peiping would do so.* Thereair chrxce, however, that

would introduce Halted numbers of Chinese Conminist ground forces as "volunteers, "both,.to prepare for further^ calatlon and to coke clear Peiping's cecal tment to assist the North Vietnamese.

the scale of operations increased, the USSRbe strongly and publicly on thc sice of tbe DRV, wouldit additional military and econcede assistance, and mightthreats agal:.ot the US. We believe nevertheless tbut tbebe careful to avoid aa appreciable risk of becomingln military conflict, and would greatly prefer thatproblem be settled by compromise. To this end theseek to augaeat international pressures on the US to bringthe conference table.

do not believe that either Communist ChinaUSSR would stir up another major crisis threateningelsewhere in tho world while the proposed USNorth Vietnam were underway.

The director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, believes that the increasingly severe US air strikes contemplated against DRV targets north ofallel would probably evoXn the employment over Berth' VietnamChinese bases. The Chinese*dec*.sicn to construct the new Ming Ming airstrip, carefully located Just over the DRV border and operationally ready inlready strongly &uggest3 Chinese preparation to test US adaercoce to the privileged sanctuary concept. "

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7. To the Upperorlesrire My.-estems (l) anaff attacks on the balance of tbe oA-List Targets, and arrpbibiouo or airborne operations to seize coastal lodgments in tbe DRV):

response to the moves inould probablyin important measure on We believe that Cccjzuaist China would be verybecomo directly involved in tbe fighting in Indochina lc.ittaken by the USause for major retaliation againstmainland, nevertheless, at this pointBOS would probably assistKorth Vletnan egalnst the tG attacks. We stillthere would not be high risk of the introduction ofground comort units into Vietnam. Nevertheless, therea chance that Peiping might so Intervene either forseen irrational to us or because it miscalculated tbeUS moves In the area. Communist China's capability forground war in adjacent areas of Southeast Asia is formidable.

tbe US actions proceeded to the moves in Iteminvolved major US/QVH ground units occupying territoryLaos, tbe risk cf introduction of large-scaleground combat units into Vietnam would materially increase.

SENSITIVE

These ricks would be similarly increased If tbe Chinese had couolSted their air forces froa Chinese banes, and bad subsequently suffered US attacks on these bases.

the clreuas-tauce* af Xtaoand Li, andhad refrained froa extreme rescue ceasures, thewould probably intensify their efforts to negotiate. their particular negotiating game would depend heavilythe course of events had gone meanwhile in tbe South; ifwere getting al-jag fairly successfully, Hanoi wouldto negotiate asettlement as It could, heplugater date; if, hovr/rr, non-Communist authority badcaved ln, Hanoi would probably stall, seeking to salvageof strength in the anocolous situation of US success in

tbe North, DRV in the South.

tho event Hanoi felt assured of Chineseit would probably fight on. Inituation,be considerable risk of DRV invasion of South Vietnam orChinese Communist extreme action at various places inand of an entirely new war situation developing.*

Iiffifle Chine ncs .despite their, reluctance to becceM_inyoiyeji_in^ightIngould feel it jiecosoary to assure Hanoi of its support find"to"conu" to Sa^oi 's assistance as the situation"wquired. INKreater-chance that the DRV would at this point respond as described in paragraph (d) than as described in paragraph

SEUSMTVE

PRC-BALIS COKHUmSTS TO USTASUI'i'S

* IHR reserves Its position oa this paragraph.

8. We arc similarly unable to estimate confidently what Communist reactions would be toew-surei*. Tbe cyickaesu snd severity of tbe '3 aetlcns would coub-leas cocek tbe DRV and sharply lessen ltl capability to react Is sudden extreme form. Tne risks of further escalation In Southeast Asia would be We are unable toonfident estimate so to whether the risks of suck escalation would bo greater in the case of Option B, C,rime. All things considered, we incline to tho view that although the DRV ou3 Comminlst Chinese leaders might have attempted to increase the Communist military commitment substantially in the Vietnam area, In response to USeasures, tfcey would in the eiidilt react subitantially as described lnbove (reactionsrimo upper-level measures).*

NOH-COMflflilST

A. Reactions ia South Vietnam

The initial reaction would probably be one of elation, in the belief that tbe US was at last bringlEg Its great power to bear against the enemy. Such attitudes would persist in tho event that VC activity noticeably diminished or if the DOT soonerious interestease-fire and negotiations. The South Vietnamese would bereat psychological boost, and we would probably see atpurt of much more effective GVJT military and administrative performance.

Initial.South Vietnamese elatlon_and support would almost certainly quickly vane, however, if the war seemed to drag on despite the new US moves, and especially if the VC were able to increase their military and terrorist..pressures. la such event, the belief would almost certainly rapidly spread that eventual DRV/VC victory was inevitable, that the US was unable or unwilling to save the situation, and that prudence dictated early accommodation. Za such an atmosphere, VC exploitive efforts would bear considerable fruit.

Tactics and Cg.-pabiUtles. The general level ofwhether core, less, or about as at presentwouldbe the result of Hanoi's basic decision of the moment as to

T

how to respond to the US attach. Involved In such decision would be Hanoi's estimate of the fragility of the political situation in the South ond whether "victory"e culekly attainedhort, sudicn burst. Available intelligenceo netonfident estimate of VC "burst" capabilities, but we incline to the view that tbe VC does have military capabilities it has not yet committed. This may also be the case with VC terrorism, subversion, and political action, though we feel that any "unused" capabilities In these fields are less than in the case of tbe military. In any event, the VC would be hesitant to commit large-scale VC forcos for fear that the GVM, with US assistance, could chew up such military units much more effectively than it has small VC groups. The VC, accordingly, uould probably not attempt to administershb de grace unless the demise of Saigon's authority appeared to be imminent.

B, Reactions Elsewhere in the World

k* The reactions of the non-aligned states, and even of some US Allies, to increased US military initiatives would tend to be adverse. The more severe the attacks were, and thc longer they lasted, the greater and more articulate the adverse reaction would be. Such reactions would be mitigated considerably if the moves appeared to achieve US objectives, and ln any case some governments would bo privately more sympathetic to the US than would appear in their public stance or la public opinion media.

5. The most inrportent non-Coaanunlst reextions would be those of tho Acicn states end of France and the UK.

In the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China,

tbe Philippines, and Thailand there would beable elation that tbe US badough new line which might check or cut back Communist expansion. These Allies could probably be counted upon to lend some active support, use of bases,o the US effort, but to balk at any US efforts to enlist their supportegotiated settlement. The Japanese Government, and conservative opinion in Japan, would be pleased by US action against the DRV that was both successful and limited. The Japanese Government would prchebly atteenrt to avoid any direct involvement which would be likely to provoke strong adverse domestic pressures and complicate relations with Coasaunlst China. To this end, it would probably seek to minimize the direct use of US bases in Japan ln support of such an operation.

Indian Government, and considerable informed

in India, would probably be quietly pleased by the US toughness, but the official Indian line would doubtless bo one pressinguick end to hostilities and for US entry into Prince Sihanouk would probably be the most troublesome neutralist, but his position would largely depend on his estimate of

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vhlch was the stronger tide. Sukarno can ho confidently expected to loud at leastrt to the Ccmunist ccise.

In tbe event US actions against the wore

accompanied by an apparent US willingness to negotiate, the ik would probably give us strong private support and would probably avoid taking any public stones which would tend to undermine the US position. Tha French would be likely to criticlte US military action and would reassert their long-standing prcpo&al fortho Geneva conferooce.

Longer-term world reactions would be influenced by tbe success of tbe US sanctions: if they halted Coanunist expansion ln Indochina and led to an easing of tensions, US firmness would be retrospectively admired, as ln the Chinese offshore islands and Cuba missile showdowns.

The US would probably find itself progressively Isolated in tho event the US sanctions.did pot_spon achieveomuunist reduction of pressures in South Vietnam or some progress toward meaningful negotiations, and would almost certainly find Itself substantially alono in the event that the crisis developed to tbe

pointS-Co=nualst Chicoso war seemed Imminent. The ORG

would probably back tho US wholeheartedly and wish to participate.

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Such Allies as thend Thailand would probably go along with the US, seeing no acceptable alternative open to thua. Reactions of other US Allies would depend in part upon the nanner in which the situation had developed.

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aiSITIVE

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