An April 4 letter from Hilsman to
Clough, enclosing a copy of
the estimate, states that it was generated largely as a result of
Harriman's and his own talks
in Taipei and that the major problem was estimating GRC capabilities for independent
operations. (Ibid.) Hilsman
visited Taipei on March 8. His conversation with Chiang Ching-kuo on that date was
reported in telegram 620 from Taipei, March 8. (Ibid., Central Files,
793.00/3-862) A more detailed account is in a memorandum for the record
by Hilsman, dated March 19.
(Kennedy Library, Hilsman Papers, Box 1, China, Planning
on Mainland Operations, 3/62) See also Roger
Hilsman, To Move a Nation: The Politics
of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy, pp.
PROBABLE CONSEQUENCES OF CHINESE NATIONALIST
MILITARY OPERATIONS ON THE CHINA MAINLAND
To evaluate the intentions and capabilities of the Government of the
Republic of China (GRC) to undertake
limited military operations on the China mainland in 1962 and to
estimate the prospects for and consequences of such operations.
1. Public dissatisfaction and demoralization are widespread in Communist
China and there has been some weakening of discipline among local
officials and low-level party cadres. Nevertheless the regime's control
apparatus is still intact and effective. Present indications are that
the regime will continue to be able to isolate and repress any likely
internal challenge to its authority. (Paras. 5-7)
2. Even if GRC special forces teams could
be successfully established on the mainland, they would almost certainly
be destroyed in a short time. Very few people, and no significant
military units, would be likely to join the GRC forces in the absence of clear military success—which
we believe would be impossible without large-scale US support. (Para.
3. US refusal to support or sanction the GRC proposals for special forces operations would place
additional strains on US-GRC relations.
We believe that the GRC leaders, despite
their limited capabilities, might undertake some kind of special force
operations against the mainland in 1962 even without US approval. (Para.
4. If the GRC were or undertake military
operations on the mainland, with or without US support, Communist China
and the USSR would launch major
propaganda and political campaigns against the GRC and the US. Peiping might undertake some retaliatory
action in the Taiwan Strait area. Moscow would be most unlikely to alter
its policies toward Communist China or the US so long as the GRC operations met with no notable success.
In the unlikely event that Communist control of the mainland were
threatened, the Soviet leaders would almost certainly support the regime
to the extent necessary to put down the rebellion, while exploiting the
opportunity to attempt to bring Peiping's policy and outlook in line
with that of the USSR. (Paras.
[Here follow paragraphs 5-22, comprising the Discussion portion of the
estimate, in three sections, headed “The Situation on the Mainland,”
“GRC Intentions and Capabilities,”
and “Consequences of the Proposed GRC
Military Operations on the Mainland.”]
* Source: Department of State, INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D
110, SNIE 13-2-62. Secret.
According to a note on the cover sheet, the Central Intelligence
Agency and intelligence organizations of the Departments of State,
Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force and the Joint Staff
participated in the preparation of this estimate. All members of the
USIB concurred with this
estimate on March 28 except the representatives of the AEC and the FBI, who abstained on the grounds that the subject was
outside their jurisdiction.