NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER 8
PROBABLE CHINESE COMMUNIST AND SOVIET INTENTIONS IN THE TAIWAN STRAIT AREA
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Submitted bu tie DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE The /ofretain? Intelligence organltatlons participated In the preparation at this estimate: The Central intelligence Agency and the Intelligence organisations ot the Departments ot Stale, the Army, me Navy, the Air Force, end The Joml Stag.
Concurred in by the UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD on ie September ifSS. Concurring were Thr. Director ofand Research, Department ol Stele; the Assist' ant Chiel Ol Staff for Intelligence. Department of the Army; the Director of Hatal Intelligence; Ihe Assistant Chief of Stag. Intelligence, USAF; the Deputy Direetcr forThe Joint Staff; the aiiUMW Io Iftc Secretary olSpecial Operations; and the Director of the National Security Agency. The Atomic Energy Commissionto the USIB and the Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject being outside
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PROBABLE CHINESE COMMUNIST AND SOVIET INTENTIONS IN THE TAIWAN STRAIT AREA 1
To reassess the probable intentions of Communist China and the'Soviet Union with respect fa the Taiwan Strait area in the light of the most recent evidence.
We believe Uiat Uie most likely Chinese Communist course of action in the immediate future is to continue military harassment and Interdiction of supply of Chinmen. TheCommunists probably expect this course to make the island untenable, and thereby to put Uie next move up to Uie US. The USimited range of choices: it can allow theto fall by attrition; it can assist UieNationalists to withdraw from theit can agree to Chinese Nationaliston the mainland; it can undertake to maintain resupply of Chinmen by all-Ameri-can convoys; or.It can itself take the military action necessary to assure resupply of'tho'is^ fand by the Chinese Nationalists. Any of the latter three courses of action eventually would probably involve US attacks on Uie mainland, and the US could be charged before world opinion with expanding lhc scope of armed conflict.
In pursuing this course, it is likely that the Chinese Communists are willing to lakeinvolving considerable risk of major armed conflict with the US. If US ships move close in-shore in thc course of escorting Na-
' This estimate supplementsDevelopments In lhe Taiwan Strait8
tionalist supply convoys, the Communists will probably not desist from their artilleryagainst unloading operations. If Uie US attempts to prevent by force Uieof supply, US forces so engaged willcertainly be attacked within the' limits of Chinese Communist capabilities. If Uie US were to announce Uiat it would resupply Chinmen with all-American convoysorted by appropriate combat strength ready to defend against attack) we believe that Uie Chinese Communists would probably attack the US force, although therehance that they would not. In any evenT, thowin demand Uiat world opinion condemn US aggression andolitical setUement favorable to Communist China.
n addition to the continued interdiction of Chinmen, the Chinese Communists might seize, with little or no warning, one or more of the smaller offshore Islands. This would be calculated to fall outside the scope of any US commitments to GRC defense and would serve further lhe Communist objective of eroding the Nationalist position. The effect would be further calculated as not prejudicing theCommunist position of negotiation, but. rather, as increasing the international sense of urgencyeaceful settlement and, at the same time, placing added politicalon thc US.
Chinese Communists may noia continuous interdiction of supply ofIt may be that they will letconvoys go through, and willto prolong the present crisis ratherit to the earliest Issue. Suchbe related to Uie ambassadorialWarsaw, or to moves In the Generalof the UN. But wc believe thatin the Chinese Communistwould beemporary measure.
Another Chinese Communist course ofthough we consider it unlikely, is Uiat Uie Chinese Communists will gradually call off Uie Interdiction or Uie Chlnmens. If they did so, it would be because they had decided, or had been persuaded by the Soviets, that thc dangers inherent in maintaining Interdiction were too great, and that another opportunity should be awaited at some future date.
Finally we consider it possible, thoughthat Uie Chinese Communists willone or more of Uie major offshoreWe consider Uus unlikely because, in their view, (a) it would be almost certain toIhem in major hosUlltles with thc US. (b) lt would diminish the poliUcal andadvantage Uiey now have, and (c) it would probably be unnecessary because they could get thc islands by other means.
Soviet perspective on the TaiwanIs almost certainly based uponknowledge of Chineseand intentions. It is probable Uiatleaders, at least since Uietalks, have not only beenhave also generally concurred lnactions in the Strait area.public commitment lo support theCommunists, accompaniedising volume of propaganda, is into deter the US. Moreover, wethat this commitment was almostmade on thc basis of calculationsin the Taiwan 8tralt areashort of provoking US interventiona scale as to call for overt Soviet
Tlie Soviet leaders cannot be greaUywith the fate of Uie offshore Islands, and, having leas direcUy al stake than the Chinese Communists, may be inclined toa more conservative course. Theirobjectives are politicaldiscredit Uie US, to comply with the wishes of theirally, and to enhance Uie power andof the Sino-Soviet Bloc. They believe Uiat Uie opportunity to put the US in Uie dockaccusations of jeopardizing peace should be utilized to Uie maximum, and that tup-port for Uie US would be far less than it wu in Uie Middle Easthey also believe Uiat If Uie US backs down from Its position on Uie offshore islands or acts in defiance of world opinion, they will have inflicted apolitical defeat on the US.
While the Soviets probably do not wish to sec thc scale of hostilities expanded and Uie risk of their Involvement magnified, Uiey will be aware Uiat thc US may be led by Chinese Communist actions to engage Chineseforces. If such hostilities axebut limited to conventional weapons and confined to Uie mainland area adjacent to Uie Taiwan Strait, the Soviets would probably consider that Uie Chinese Communists did not require direct military assistance and would provide moral, political, and materialThus, they would almost certainly not intervene militarily, at least in anirect confrontation of Soviet and US forces.
If hostilities continued for long, orif they were expanded in area and scale, at some point the Soviets would probably feel Uiat Uiey would have to go further Inof Communist China. With respect to Soviet reactions to Uie US use of nuclear weapons, much would depend upon the scale of the US attacks, the extent of territory over which they would be delivered, and Uiecontext of events. The Soviets might conclude lhat more could be gained at less cost and risk by exercising military restraint andoliUcal campaign to condemn Uie US before world opinion. They would have many supporters. On the other hand.
Soviets might conclude that such acould not be passed by without nuclear retaliation. Particularly If the US extended the area of nuclear attackonsiderable distance Into mainland Cldna, there wouldetter than even chance that the Soviets would provide the Chinese Communists with capabilities for nuclear retaliation undercontrol. And. at some point highcale of increasing damage and danger to the Chinese regime, the Soviets might directly attack US forces engaged In China, including the bases from which such forces werein the face of the attendant risk ofwar.
III. THE PROSPECT FOR NEGOTIATIONS
n each of the contingencies discussed above the USSR will make every effort tothe situation politically and at the same tune to prevent the spread of hostilities. The Chinese Communists are now engaged inwith the US on the Taiwan Strait question in the ambassadorial talks.they probably hope that world opinion and the continuing military threat to Chin-men will force the US to agree to higher-level discussions, suchilateral foreignconferenceultilateral conference, possibly even at the summit level. They may fear that an attemptolution in the UN would solidify opinion ln favor of anof "twoowever, bothand Peiping apparently deem it advan-
tageous to raise the Issue in the Generaleither toS Initiative or in hopes of furthering their alms of pillorying and isolating the US.
egard!es of the forum, it is clear that the Chinese Communists are ln no mood for any negotiated settlement which wouldthe itatus quo ante. They will oppose any proposal that smacks of "twohat commits them to accepting the principle that they have no right to "Uberate" theheld by the GRC, or that grantsight to Individual or collectivein tho Taiwan Strait area. While it is possible that they wouldemporary cease-fire to develop during the negotiations in order to enhance their propaganda posture, they would be unwilling to commit themselves to an indefinite cease-fire. They wouldany proposal which seemed to tie their hands more than those of the GRC. They might accept some type of "neutralisation" of the offshore Islands as an Interim move, hoping that thc negative effect on GRCwould be greater than the restriction on Communist activities- However, theycertainly would not regard thisermanent solution. Sino-Soviet Insistenceesolution of the entire Taiwanfavorable to Communist China will remain strong, and it is likely that they will continue toonsiderable risk in utilizingpressureeans of-undermining the strength and determination of the Chinese Nationalists.Original document.