362. National Intelligence Estimate0

NIE 13–60


[Here follows a table of contents.]

The Problem

To analyze Chinese Communist domestic developments and external relations, and to estimate probable trends during the next five years.


The leaders of Communist China are determined to make China a leading world power as rapidly as possible. Over the past 11 years Communist China has made impressive gains in industrial and military strength and in the organization and regimentation of the Chinese people. These gains, together with a conviction that world trends strongly favor the Communist cause, have been increasingly manifested during the past year in aggressive self-confidence towards both the West and the USSR, [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
We believe that over the period of this estimate, Communist China’s economy will continue to grow rapidly, especially in heavy industry, although at a less rapid rate than 1958–1960. Communist China’s dependence on the rest of the Bloc for economic and military equipment and for technological assistance will have been substantially reduced. By 1965 Communist China will probably be the world’s leading producer of coal, the third ranking producer of crude steel, a major producer of electric power, and it will have a merchant marine of significant size. It will also have made substantial progress toward becoming a modern power in science and technology, though its relative standing will remain well behind that of the advanced nations. However, if Sino-Soviet relations should deteriorate to the point where Bloc sources of industrial equipment and technical assistance were greatly reduced, Communist China’s economic growth would be slowed, expansion into more complex fields of industry inhibited, and military development retarded. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
Peiping will continue to face major economic problems for many years to come. It will continue to be dependent upon foreign sources for some key items of industrial and military equipment and for specialized technical knowledge. Communist China’s petroleum requirements will grow rapidly during the next five years, and even the expected tripling of domestic production will not end China’s dependence upon petroleum imports. Transportation will remain overburdened. Agricultural production will still be meager in relation to domestic and export needs. Per capita supplies of food and other consumer goods will not have risen enough to enable material incentives to replace coercion and political pressures as the chief spurs to production. An increasingly urgent population problem will confront the regime with difficult policy decisions. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
There will probably be growing dissatisfaction and disillusionment among the Chinese masses concerning the heavy burdens they will be forced to carry, and the regime will face increasing problems in overcoming public apathy, fatigue, and passive resistance. In addition, there may be an increase in party factionalism when Mao Tse-tung dies. Such developments, however, will not threaten the regime’s ability to control and direct the country. Furthermore, there is positive support from some millions of people who have made real advances under Peiping’s rule, and among many there is a feeling of pride in Communist China’s rapid advance as a world power. In any case, we now see no serious threat, either internal or external, to the continuance of the regime. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
Peiping’s conventional military capabilities will probably continue to grow, and will increasingly threaten the non-Communist Asian periphery. The rate of increase in Communist China’s military capabilities will be determined in large part by the economic demands of the regime’s overall economic development program and by the nature and extent of Soviet assistance. Communist China will probably have exploded a nuclear device during the period of this estimate and may have produced a small number of elementary nuclear weapons. It may also have produced a jet medium bomber. However, unless there is a great increase in Soviet aid in the missile field, which we believe is unlikely, China will be unable to develop and produce even medium-range guided missiles by 1965. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
The most important development of the past year in Communist China’s affairs has been the breaking out of the long-smouldering Sino-Soviet dispute over Communist world policy and authority within the Bloc. We believe that the differences between Peiping and Moscow are so basic and are so much a product of the different situations and problems in the two countries that any genuine resolution of the fundamental differences is unlikely. Although the possibility of a complete break cannot [Page 741] be excluded, we believe that the alliance against the West will hold together. Nevertheless, the estrangement will probably continue, with ups and downs as new issues arise.1 [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
A basic tenet of Communist China’s foreign policy—to establish Chinese hegemony in the Far East—almost certainly will not change appreciably during the period of this estimate. The regime will continue to be violently anti-American and to strike at US interests wherever and whenever it can do so without paying a disproportionate price. It will continue and almost certainly step up its efforts to create trouble and confusion in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and to subvert anti-Communist and, probably, non-Communist governments in these areas. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
During the period of this estimate Peiping’s policies will range between relative moderation and outright toughness. Peiping will probably again increase its military pressures in the Taiwan Strait area. However, we believe that Peiping does not intend to advance its aims by overt military action elsewhere, although it probably will react forcefully to challenges and opportunities. Its arrogant self-confidence, revolutionary fervor, and distorted view of the world may lead Peiping to miscalculate risks. This danger would be heightened if Communist China achieved a nuclear weapons capability. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
Even before the explosion of a nuclear device, Peiping’s military power and potential may increasingly complicate the international disarmament problem. Peiping will exploit this situation in an effort to enhance its international status, but at the same time may attempt to prevent the conclusion of any disarmament agreement, at least until it becomes a nuclear power. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]
In 1965 Communist China will be playing more fully the role of a leading world power, whether or not it is a member of the UN. Its arrogance, pretensions, and capabilities for independent action will remain a source of concern to the USSR. At the same time the danger posed by Communist China to US interests, particularly in Asia, will have increased. [less than 1 line of 2-column source text not declassified]

[Here follow 43-1/2 pages of 2-column source text scheduled for inclusion in the Supplement but not declassified.]

  1. Source: Department of State, INRNIE Files. Secret. This supersedes NIE 13–59 (Document 292). A note on the cover sheet reads in part as follows:

    “Submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence.

    “The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, The Joint Staff, and the Atomic Energy Commission.

    “Concurred in by the United States Intelligence Board on 6 December 1960.”

  2. [Footnote in the source text (3 lines of source text) not declassified.]