47. Memorandum for the Record1
- Impressions of PBFORTUNE
- The following initial observations are made on the basis of:
- Two briefings by Col. King and [name not declassified], 27 and 28 August 1953;
- One meeting with CWH and CPP in DD/P’s office, 2 September 1953;
- Study of basic paper of P/A (CCN #73844–a 5/6 1952);
- Study of NIE–84, dated 19 May 1953;2
- Study of sundry papers for “background”;
- Debriefing of chief field case officer (KS);3
- Sundry conferences with King and [name not declassified].
- The current situation in the target country would have to undergo a considerable change before it would be favorable and suitable for the implementation of PBFORTUNE.
Certain changes in the balance of military power in the general central area in question would have to be established prior to the activation of any kind of revolutionary activity in the target country.
A series of support measures planned for the three neighboring countries recognize this.4 These preparatory moves in themselves are of very considerable interest in the over-all anti-Communist effort of the Agency and could well pave the way for a number of important covert [Page 97]activities even if the presently contemplated revolutionary climax of PBFORTUNE would have to be cancelled or delayed indefinitely due to lack of internal covert support assets.
The position of the indigenous P/A is weak. His available assets outside the target country are negligible. His plan of action is based entirely on expected popular support. There is no evidence that such popular support would be forthcoming. There are no actual proofs of any effective covert mechanism of any consequence inside the target country.
The military plan of action visualized by the P/A is highly questionable in view of the fact that the main forces would consist of untrained irregulars. It appears that the P/A’s military plan grossly underestimates the attitude and defensive capabilities of the regular army. According to NIE–84, this army “can defeat any force which the three neighboring countries could deploy against it—so long as it remains united.” In this connection, it is noteworthy that there is no evidence to indicate that the regular army is susceptible to defection or revolt.
- According to the chief field case officer and others at WH headquarters, there is a definite time element involved in the PBFORTUNE operation. Time limits of 60, 90 and 120 days from 1 September 1953 have been indicated as desirable or ultimate. These time limits are mentioned partly for reasons of climate and partly for reasons of expediency relative to the deteriorating situation within the target country where active opposition and resistance against the present regime is fast disappearing.
- At this stage, it is the personal opinion of the undersigned that:
- The present concept of PBFORTUNE with an operational climax centered on a revolutionary effort on the part of the P/A as currently planned is impracticable;
Preliminary measures involving the three neighboring countries aimed at offsetting the balance of power, especially military strength, in the over-all central area could be of very considerable importance.
Followed by well-timed covert operations of the PP-type and some well-planned PM activities, it is possible that the target country and its Government could be greatly harassed and placed in an untenable position in due course.
In this connection, it is possible that the present P/A and his assets could be brought into play on a proper, limited scale.
- CWH is meeting with the leader of the alleged underground movement within the target country in New York this weekend.5 It is possible that up-to-date reports from this leader may change to a degree the thinking outlined in the above.