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77. Editorial Note

At the 493d meeting of the National Security Council on November 15, 1961, Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles and Deputy Director for Intelligence Robert Amory briefed the Council on Sino-Soviet relations and the situation in China, and there was some related discussion. A record of the meeting, probably drafted by the Vice President’s military aide Howard L. Burris, describes this portion of the meeting as follows:

“Mr. Dulles opened the meeting with the reading and discussion of a prepared report on the Soviet-Chinese rift. Following the presentation the President asked for the basis of the current impasse between Russia and Albania. Mr. Dulles replied that it was obviously ideological since Albania was one of the smallest countries in Europe with the lowest per [Page 168]capita income and possibilities and potential in general. Mr. Amory then discussed the current food and agricultural shortages in Communist China and brought out the fact that Chinese advances have been generally retarded across the board because of crop shortages. The deficient diet has tended to diminish efficiency in other fields of endeavor. Production generally is on the decline. A brief outline of the size and disposition of Chinese armed forces was given. The President then asked what routes of movement are available for these troops from China to North Viet Nam. Mr. Amory pointed out and described the condition of railway and roads of access and cited the generally inadequate aspects of these avenues. Mr. Dulles cautioned that it should not be assumed that the Chinese setbacks as well as the ideological rift were such that the Soviets and Chinese would not be able nor willing to engage jointly any nation which threatened Communist interests.” (Johnson Library, Vice Presidential Security File, National Security Council (II))

The record of the subsequent discussion, which concerned Vietnam, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume I, pages 607-610.