Basic Doctrine Re The Support of Violence Across Borders
1. The United States (and virtually all other nations) haa always historically supported the doctrine of nonintervention la tha internal affairs of other nations. It has occasionally bean suggested that our vigorous, and often self-righteous, public support of this doctrine lnhiblta us in efforts to counter communist subversion and communist nse of violence, especially in the underdeveloped nations. and that wo should therefore consider some modification of the doctrine. The counter argument seems however not only to have more support within. Government but alao to have greater validity. It la to tbe effect that the doctrine of nonintervention, even though univeraally flouted by tha communists, nevertheless Is more valuabla to us than to them. The reasoning is that although the open societies of the West are less successful than tbe communist societies in practicing covertwhile publicly adheringoctrine of nonintervention, nevertheless the public doctrine does exorcise considerable restraint onfae communists. Since It la alleged thatmen uni stIf unrestrained, would have vastly greater capability of violent Intervention than the West, the conclusionthat tho West can well afford toreater restraint on the nse of its leaser capability la order torsisrr degree of restraint on the communists' very much greater capability.
appears to be the reasoning behind what might bethe cold-blooded case for continuing publicly to uphold the doctrine ore powerful pragmatic case is simply that thisacquired such wide respectability and appeal that. couldpublicly to modify or weaken It without paying an unacceptably Accordingly, it la probably not worthwhile to debate whether ifoff acme of the restraints wo could notapability fully
equal to that of tbe communists. Realistically, our public commitment to the doctrine of nonintervention has to ba acceptedact of Ufa.
thistarting point, however, an ingeniousextension of tbe doctrine Is proposed. It can be expressed in the
Since all nations accept the doctrine of nonintervention, theoing to treat th* activities of any nation which incites and supports violence within another nationorm of aggression morally equivalent to the military crossingorder.
ituation arises in wbich this subversive form of aggression is threatened or is being practiced,. will generally favor the use of international control machinery to halt it, provided such machinery can be mad* to operate with full effectiveness.
If, however, ln the face of clear evidence Chat violence Is being supported across an international border, the establishment of International machinery to curb this type of aggression Is opposed, or th*is ineffective,. reserves the right to employ
p force (or to support the employment ofo at laastcope and lavallin defense of the threatened nation.
Any such unilateral use of force by ther. support, will beefensive action. That is to say, It will have as its purposa toessation of the subversive aggression to which itesponse.
Nevertheless, In taking such action. will not deny Itself (or Its friends) the advantage of the tactical offensive, nor will
lt limit itself to weapons of the enemy's choosing. Specifically, It will feel free to incite snd support violence within the aggressor's territory and to use weapons in which it has an advantage, but will endeavor to avoid major escalation of the scale of violence or sophistication of weapons.
4. In the above form, this doctrine is proposed botholicy to guide. response to situations of violence andationale which would underly the public posture of. ationale thla amounts to an assertion that. (a) takes the doctrine of nonintervention so seriously that it is going to treat violent intervention aa the equivalent of overt aggreaslon. and (b) recognizes the right of any country which ia the victim of subversive violence to practice subversive violence in its own defense. It may well be asked whether thia Isustificationeclaration of wax by the victim of subversion against th* aggressor. It could, of course, be Just that. But
Iho essence of the doctrine is that, because subversive violence involves the use of force for purposes of aggression butcale considerably loss than that typicaleclared wax. it is necessary to recognise the right of the victim to use forceimilarly limited seals in its own defense. It could well be argued that unless either this remedy of the unilateral limited uae of force or the preferred remedy of effective international policing is available, then the doctrine of nonintervention operates one-sidedly to benefit the nation that undertakes violent subversion. ituation like that existing between the DRV and South Vietnam, it would be difficult to Justify to what ts called 'worldeclaration of war by SVNesponse to the guerrilla activity of ths Viet Cong within Its own borders. eclared wax would indeedajor escalation of the scale of violence as well as serious dangeridening of the conflict. Under theseersuasive case could be made to the effect that the doctrine of nonintervention should not deny South Vietnam any remedy against this form of aggression.
5. As an operational policy, thla doctrine hae Important implications. action in situations of the type to which it is intended to apply.
(a) First, ltremium- on acquiring persuasive proof that subversive violence is being employedarticulari tuition. The last set up in this doctrine is that support is being provided and control exercisedorder. The aggressor country inituation baa always claimed that tbe violent resistanceurely indigenous revolution. Persuaalve proof will presumably have to take the form of Intercepting communications or of prisoners who can be produced Ln sufficient numbers or of captured boats, trucks, or aircraft. If the support being rendered across the border isild enough form (for instance limited to moneyt will usually not be worthwhile to try to invoke this doctrine.
(b) The moat Interesting concept In the doctrine Is that of the tactical offensive and of the Independent choosing of weapons. As to the former, the advantages of carrying the wax to the enemy's country are obvious. It Is particularly unjost that the population which supplies most of the victims In guerrilla warfare should be that of the victim of aggression while the aggressors people and lands
arc untroubled. Aa to the Latter, lt la indeed high time thatapplied ingenuity to the choosing or the development of weapons which involve no major escalation in the degree ol sophistication but in which for one reason or another our friendselative advantageiven situation. For instance, small boat operations may be much easier In certain situations than the infiltration of guerrillas Into enemy territory by land. We may bo able to develop weapons (other than conventional bombs) that could be used from aircraft with effects having soma similarity to those of sabotage carried out by teams on the ground.
6. Finally, although tbe doctrine aa here stated makes no specific
reference to covert activities, lt has an important application to them. It would lose mnch of its value as operational policy unless, ln its aspectationale, lt became widely known. Accordingly, it must be assumed that, even If not In some official manner announced by. Government, public expression would be given to the rationale In various ways. This would have two Implications. Oa the one hand, it would permit. to support more or less openly certain activities which, withoutationale, can be supported only covertly. In this way, the adumbration of the doctrine would permit the realm of covert paramilitary action to be narrowed. On tho othor hand, the political risks of certain covert actions would be significantly reduced,ationale for such actions would have been made known publicly. Taking these two implications Into account, it soems likely that It would still be desirable for tactically offensive actions, those involving tbe support of violence within the territory of tbe enemy, to be done Inanner aa to be at least officially dlselalrnable. The whole reason for limiting the scale and technical sophisticationaramilitary action taken Ln response to violent subversion Is to avoid escalation. This advantage Is lost If an offensive operation against the aggressor is conducted inanner as to compel blm to regard Itormal act of war. Unless, therefore, the enormous advantages of being free to employ the tactical offensive are to be foregone, every precaution should be taken to make such acts symmetrical la form, as well as Ln scale and technicalop his tic ail on, to the strategic offensive originally mounted by the aggressor. This would usually require
that the acts be dlselalrnable but, with the proposed new rationale. It is far less Important that they be truly covert.Original document.