windfall From Hong Kong
Charles P. Turgeon
8 ISSUE: Winter
A collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol Intelligence.
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A promising start in exploiting the emergency mass admission of Red China refugees to this country.
VVINDFALL FROM HONG KONG Charles F. Turgeon
In2 more0 refugees streamed across the briefly opened border between Common 1st China and Hong Kong. When President Kennedy announced that uie United States,umanitarian gesture, would receive severalof them, the Intelligence community was presented with an exceptional opportunity to collect Information at first hand on the most denied of denied areas.
There Is often no substitute for being able to talk to awho has Lived and workedountry which can otherwise be approached only through external methods such as reconnaissance, technical analysis, open literature, and third-country reporting.efugee group can normallyubstantial amount of basicLn the economic, political, geographic, and even scientific fields.esser degree, refugees' knowledge of persons, places, and proceduresountry are valuable for oper-aUonal Intelligence, Finally, If some of them have heldpositions in the society and these are Interviewed promptly, they may make Important contributions to current lnleihgence-
PecuUarituss of the Program
The program that has been developed to take advantage of this opportunity, however, ls quite unlike those set up for the Hungarian refugeesnd more recently those from Cuba1 whose resettlement was sponsored by the government The President's "Emergency Chinese Refugee Parole Program-requires that the Chinese immigrants be sponsored by private Individuals or groups willing to take responsibility for their
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transportation, accommodation, and support. This private sponsorshipariety of critical implications for thecollectionof them inhlbitlve.
When the government pays for the transportation andfor the livelihoodolitical refugee, It has the right to ask certain things of the refugee In return. When it does not, as In this instance, it Is in no position to put pressure on him to contribute to the Intelligence picture ofovernment resettlement program therejsingleor-tnegte'fc. processing center, like Camp Kilmer for the Hungarians and Opa-Locka for the Cubans, which offers an Ideal opportunity for Intelligence screening en masse. There are no such facilities for the Chinese refugees. Theyow and when they can, through virtually every air- and seaport on both coasts, boundariety of destinations In all the flfty states. Thus they constitute an extremely diffuse and difficult Intelligence target. Moreover, no special funds, facilities, orimited number of Interpreters, have been allocated to the program.
The refugees who arrived during the first year largelythe2 Influx Into Hong Kong; they had escaped durings and had been waiting there for approval to enter the United States under the normal Urunlgratlon quotaer year. When the quota was suddenly expanded, the rules of fair play and the regulations of the Tuxunlgration and Naturalization Service required that these come first, however ill it served the interests of the Intelligence community or the government of Hong Kong. Not untilith theof this backlog, did the refugee group begin tourrent character.
The earlier refugees nevertheless turned out to haveof value, as we shall see. Recency of residence can be less Important than former position and currency ofA merchant who has lived In Hong Kong for seven years but maintained his correspondence or travels to the mainland canar more valuable sourceice farmer who got out yesterday. It is from persons such as thisarge portion of the first year's Intelligence was derived.
Hong Kong Refugees
The methods that have been devised to reach the Chinese immigrants are unique and still developing. The first notice that one of them has entered the country comes to CIAfrom the central office of the Immigration Serviceopyorm giving only his name, port of entry, and probable destination. The CIA office charged with domestic collection alerts Its appropriate field office to the presence of this possible new mteUlgence source Within its area of respon-slbillty.'vfThe fieldpresen_tative lo.the: district office of the Immigration Service to study the refugee's Form No.he Application for Visa he filled out ln Hong Kong, which Is the only source of biographic data for anof his Intelligence potential Becauseack ofbetween the Jurisdictional areas of the CIA fieldandS districts, the CIA officer may have to travel hundreds of miles to an Immigration office to see the papersefugee living in the very city where his ownis located.
If the refugee appears to have possibilities, the field officeopy of ther an abstract of Its content to headquarters, where the feasibility ofase on him ls determined. Permission for contact with him must befrom the FBI, notecurity check but in order to keep clear of any refugee under investigation by the Bureau, which has primacy of interest in resident alien affairs. If there appears to be no conflict of interest the field office Is directed to make an Initial contact for the purpose ofruiiTe biographic data andurer assessment of the refugee's intelligence potential and willingness to
If the first Interview shows that the source Is worthIn depth, request Is made for an Allen Securityill-scale security Investigation conducted primarily by the FBI, which establishes the classification of information that can be discussed with the refugee. This is the last procedural hurdle that has to be crossed, but there are other problems in making the contact.
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The first step inefugee is to locate htm, and this mayroblem. The Chinese have proved toighly mobile group, often taking the stated address of their sponsor astarting point in their travels. Some have settled In surprisingly remote areas, but the greatest number arc found In the principal Chinese communities of Hew York and San Francisco. There the ethnic solidarity of the neighborhood affordsense cover under which they may hide from - government represenUlWes^ut'o^^
If the refugee Is still living with his sponsor, the latter may stand on his rights as the party responsible for the refugee's welfare and not allow him to be Interviewed except byofficials. This block la rare but does occur, and from It there Is no present recourse. If the refugee Is approached at his place of employment, there may be no way toecure Interview, or the employer may be unwilling to give him time off for It.
More basically, the Intelligence officer must decide whether toirect approach to the refugee himself or to seek first the cooperation of his sponsor. The direct approach can sometimes be effective because of its sudden Impact: out of surprise or fear the refugee may tell more about subjects ot intelligence interest than he would in the presence of hisThe sponsor would at least constitute an additional party In the line of tttWtwtwtMUtMM with the refugee and mightor Inadvertently restrain or reshape his responses to questions. On the other hand, an approach through the sponsor can have Important advantages. Because not enough qualified linguists are available to this project, the bilingual Chinese-American sponsor may be the only means of talking to the refugee. Moreover, his presence and tacit endorsement of the Interviewer may give the refugee the confidence tohis normal reluctance lo speakovernment repre-sentatlve. The choice between the two approaches Is not easy, but because of the helpful and cooperative attitude of most sponsors the one through them is becoming the way most widely taken.
There la also the question of how the interviewer should represent his position. If he were dealing with the sponsor
he could perhaps present himselfIA officer, but he ls unlikely to do soefugee. To the Chinese in general. Intelligenceirty word, and for those who have lived under the police state it is doubly bad. It is normal practice therefore for the intelligence officer to represent himself as aresearch worker seeking generalized, encyclopedicon conditions In China.
In the introductory phase of the interview the officerto allay any fears about theuse to be made ofno connection with tax. Investigative, or policestresses that whatever ls said will be held In theIf the refugee seems sensitive about his ownactivities he is told that there is no Interest ln hisbut only in his experiences in China.
After the Interviewer has established his position, secured the cooperation of the refugee, and, hopefully, built up some rapport, he can proceed to the substance of the first Interview. In this he is aidedhecklist of questions developed at headquarters to elicit the maximum amount of biographic data and reveal the subjects of Intelligence Interest In which the source may be competent The first Interview, however. Is unlikely to take the formegimented march through all the many questions on the checklist; the Interviewer will use them selectively and economically, having studiedecord with care, to get the most Information from him and cause him the least alarm. If this Interview Is successful and shows the source to be ofecond one Is requested. If it Is granted the Alien Security Check Isas described above,otice of Intelligence Potential ls Issued in the hope of receiving consumer requirementsto the source. Havingull security clearanceist of specific questions, the Interviewer can thentoebriefing in depth.
The Chinese refugee Is not an easy person to talk to.the language barrier, which Is often monumentalof the diversity of dialects with which the extremely limited interpreter force ls confronted, there Is that of his native character. If notthe Chinese isreticent, and he manifests in particular all the family-
protective instincts of his long tradition. One of theto quash an entire Interview is to ask him questionshis relatives on the mainland which he feelsthem Into jeopardy. As compared with otherthese more frequently left China for economicreasons and therefore lack the volubility of menstirred highuban or Hungarian revolution.there Is the dominant fact, of which most of themaware, that they have no legal obligation to aid the 'Mta-vv'-JaiBfc^
Despite this multiplicity of difficulties, the product of the first year's collection activity was good. In this period,to field officeefugees arrived Inf them adults who could be regarded as potential intelligence sources. The field forwarded biographic dataf these as the most likely prospects, and headquartersere actually Interviewed,reports were published, an average of more than two per source.
The quality of these reports, relative to the great dearth of Information on Communist China, has been uniformly high. They contain new data on such varied subjects as the state of medical treatment, the cost of basic commodities, theclimate, the numbers and kinds of newspapers published, the production of electric power, biographies of Importantsecurity procedures employed by border guards, town plans, travel regulations, construction projects, farmingdental care, research In medicine, physics, andand many others.
But if the quality of Information elicited from these new sources Is heartening, the rate of production Is not. The first-year tallyefugees interviewed, outated as having good potential, means that onlyf the raw resource, orf Its top fraction, was exploited. The production lag appears to be moreunction of manpower shortage than of any other difficulty. The sudden Introduction of several thousand new potential contacts into the case-load of the field offices has been too
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much for their existing staffs. It was expectedotal0 refugees would be in the country by the endhe field officers must not only find time to see the refugees but also arrange for Interpreters; and here the manpower shortage Is even more critical. At the New York office, for example, only two part-time Interpreters were available forhinese refugees In Its area.
Efforts are being made to enlist the aid of the militarywho might furnish reservists to serve as interpreters in 'the program-sfcpihertwnys to improveeenrefugees of high potential and miking Initial contact in Hong Kong, subsidising transportation and so controlling some of the refugees, and establishing one or two Interviewing centers which refugees already here would visit voluntarily. But none of these measures seems feasible at the present time.
The limited and admittedly select group of refugees on whom cases were opened In the first year Included scientific and technical, otherIn banking, Industry andhe other half were farmers, merchants,clerks, miscellaneous craftsmen, andad finished college,ad done graduate work. The great majority, as expected, came from Kwangtung Province, but nine other provinces and major cities. Including Shanghai and Peking, were well represented.
This statistical picture will probably not hold true for the second year; the likelihood is that it should even Improve, at least with respect to the currency of the Informationas Immigrants from2 cross-over replace those who had left China earlier. Even the last months of the first yeararked improvement In the current and operational information obtained.
At the same time plans are being laid for the long-term, systematic utilization of the Chinese in this country. The sponsors of the refugees have unexpectedly emerged aswith substantial intelligence potential, sometimes greater than that of their proteges. Their valuehe fact that
as Important heads ol families, businesses, or Chinesethey have maintained extensive contacts with theand In general they are cooperative In making available their knowledge and these communicationsecond group with similar potential consists of the refugees who have now settled ba this country and taken up correspondence with family and friends still on the mainland. Their letters are nearly always o* Intelligence Interest, and in some especially cooperative and favorable cases questions pertinent to particular Intelligence -requirement* may beInto the correspondence. Both tbe sponsors and the refugees can serve to alert Intelligence to new and valuable sources corning out of China.
Thus the Chinese refugee program prom Ires to continuenique and productive means of extracting Informationountry which Is both the most bellicose Communist power at the present time and perhaps our most difficult Intelligence target.Original document.