The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this mBboJh
The Central Intelligence Agency ond the intelligencef the Depart-inennte. Defame, thehe Navy, the Air Force, and NSA.
Director of Intelligence ond Research, Deportment of State Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Assistant Chief of Stoff for Intelligence, Deportment of the Army
Assistant Chief of No vol Operationseportment of the Navy
Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, USAF
Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff
Director of the National Security Agency
The Atomic Energy Commission ftepresentatWe to the USIS, and the Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Imestiganon, the subject being outiide of their jurisdiction.
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Communist Reactions to Additional US Courses of Action in Laos and North Vietnam
COMMUNIST REACTIONS TO ADDITIONAL US COURSES OF ACTION IN LAOS AND NORTH VIETNAM
To estimate the likely Communist responses to certain courses of action by US and allied forces with respect to Laos which are in addition to those considered in, "Probable Communist Reactions to Certain Possible US Actions with Respect toated2 These courses of action were provided by the Departments of State and Defense.
A. US air attacks against Communist supply bases in Laos and against the Laotian parts of the main overland supply routes from North Vietnam. This course of action might be taken in connection with or subsequent toof the major Mekong River areas of Laos0 US troops supported by Thai forces.
he Communists would almost certainly conclude that the US was preparing for extensive military operations in Laos, particularly if reinforcements and supplies were being built up in Thailand. They would attempt to cope with the US air attacks by both passive and active means and would maintain their forces in the areas of Laos they now control. Therefore, it seems likely that North Vietnamese antiaircraft units in Laos would be reinforced. In addition, small numbers of fighter aircraft, flown by Chineseand possibly Soviet pilots, perhaps in the guise of North Vietnamese, probably would be introduced Into North Viet-
namese airfields. The Soviet airlift would almost certainly continue as feasible. To the extent of their limitedCommunist aircraft would probably attempt someaction against US positions In Laos. However, as long as the US air attacks were confined to Laos, thewould almost certainly not extend their own airbeyond the Laotian borders.
We believe that the Communist ground forces would probably intensify the actions we have already estimated they would take in response to the US occupation of the Mekong River valley areas: they would probably deploy to confine the areas under US control and harass US outposts, patrols, and lines of communications. North Vietnamese reinforcements would almost certainly be introduced. The Chinese Communists would reinforce their border garrisons and some forces might enter northern Laos. Moscow and Peiping would almost certainly increase their logisticsto North Vietnam.
At the same time the Communists would be concerned to keep the conflict from spreading beyond Laos, and would take vigorous political action, including intensifiedefforts, toessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations.
B. US air attacks against North Vietnam. The US air attacks would be extended to Include the North Vietnamese ends of the main supply routes into Laos, but not thepopulation centers such as Hanoi. This course of action might be taken as partS offensive0 US troops to occupy the panhandle area of Laos or might be undertaken in connection with the lesser action involving the occupation of the Mekong River valley only.
on North Vietnam territory would, in theview,ajor turning point in theSoviets and Chinese would declare their fullHanoi. In an immediate effort to obtain athe US attacks, they would orchestrate theirand propaganda moves in the UN andwhat they would proclaim was an act of
and Moscow would almost certainlysupport to protect North Vietnamese territory.of the introduction of Chinese CommunistLaos would increase significantly, but we do notthey would consider it necessary to introduce themVietnam at this stage. The Communists wouldto keep hostilities from spreading and,would confine their action to the defense ofHowever, if the US attacks were intense andand particularly if they were associated with aof the Laotian panhandle, the Communistslikely to regard themorerunnereneralagainst North Vietnam. Under thesethey would almost certainly attempt to extendattacks to include bases in Thailand and possibly inand US carriers. We do not believe thatbe significant differences between Moscow andinsofar as the question of coming to the aid ofconcerned.
C. Amphibious Operations Against North Vietnam. This situationivision-strength landing in the Vinh area followedrive west to the Laos border to link up with US forces in Laos. This course of action would be undertaken in connectionS offensive0 US troops to occupy the panhandle area of Laos.
invasion of North Vietnam would bethe Communist Blocirect challenge to thethe North Vietnamese regime andhreat to theof Communist China. Hanoi would take speedyaction to repel theommunistalmost certainly provide additional ground forceswere needed. The Bloc wouldiolentcampaign, warning of the danger of nuclear war,effort to obtain US withdrawal under internationaland condemnation. If the US was undeterred andmade headway, US ground and naval units inarea would almost certainly be attacked by Com-
' The North Vietnamese Army consistsegular troops supportedillUa.
munist air elements, perhaps under the guiseorth Vietnamese air force. In addition, it is possible thatsubmarines would be brought to bear. Supply and operational bases in Laos. South Vietnam, and Thailand would probably be attacked by Communist air forces. The Communists would be highly unlikely to take the initiative to resort to nuclear weapons at this level of US action.
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The title of this estimate when used separately from the text should beCONHpffl^TIAl
National Security Council
Department of State
Deportment of Defense
Atomic Energy Commission
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