Memorandum by Chester L. Cooper and Joseph A. Yager of the United States Delegation to the Special Adviser (Heath)
- National Intelligence Estimate on Laos and Cambodia1
On June 1, the Intelligence Advisory Committee approved the attached National Intelligence Estimate of the effects of certain possible developments on the military security and political stability of Laos and Cambodia through the end of this year. The principal conclusions of this estimate are:
- Communist political influence in Laos and Cambodia is probably minimal outside those areas firmly occupied by Viet Minh forces. Those forces, moreover, are not now an imminent threat to the legal governments, because of the military support provided by the French.
- Laos and Cambodia are vulnerable to Communist pressures, chiefly because of their military weakness. Additional sources of weakness are unpredictable leadership, the rivalry of cliques, and, in Cambodia, the existence of armed, non-Communist dissidence.
- If, as a result of a negotiated agreement with the Communists covering all of Indochina, French and Viet Minh regular units were actually withdrawn from Laos and Cambodia (leaving Viet Minh irregular forces still operating in those countries), native forces could probably preserve for some time approximately the present degree of security and stability in Laos, provided French cadres and the present scale and nature of French material aid remained available to the native armies. However, such an agreement with the Communists would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to implement and police, and in these circumstances the native armies could probably not for long successfully resist the Viet Minh without increased outside support.
- If Laos and Cambodia were partitioned, the will of the non-Communist remnants to maintain their independence would greatly decrease. Under such circumstances, probably nothing but military occupation of those countries by non-Communist forces would assure their continued freedom from Communist control.