22. Brief Prepared in the Defense Intelligence Agency0


This Special National Intelligence Estimate was approved by the United States Intelligence Board on 21 February 1962. Significant judgments of the Estimate are as follows:

The long-range Communist Bloc objectives in Southeast Asia are to eliminate U.S. influence and presence and establish Communist regimes throughout the area. Although there are differences of view among the Communist powers as to tactics and priorities and the risks to be run in pursuing their objectives, thus far they have maintained a basic unity of ultimate objectives and a high degree of policy coordination with respect to Southeast Asia.

The Communist powers do not intend to attempt to achieve their objectives in Southeast Asia by large-scale military aggression. They intend to continue to pursue these objectives primarily through subversion, [Page 50] political action, and support of “national liberation” struggles, so as to minimize the risks of Western, particularly U.S., military intervention.

Laos and South Vietnam are now priority Communist targets. The Communists do not intend to initiate an all out military effort to seize Laos. If, however, a military showdown between the Laotian government forces and the Communists does develop, the Communist side would win out, bringing additional forces from North Vietnam if necessary. Nevertheless, the Communists are unlikely to pursue actions involving substantial risk of direct U.S. military involvement so long as they continue to believe that they have a good chance of achieving their objectives in Laos by legal, political means.

In South Vietnam there will be no significant change over the short run in the current pattern of Viet Cong activity, although the scope and tempo of the Communist military and political campaigns will probably be increased.

In Thailand, the initial effort of Communist China and North Vietnam will probably be to increase their subversive potential, particularly in the northeastern frontier area. Concurrently, the Soviets will continue to employ a combination of political pressures, military threats, and economic inducements to persuade the Thai Government to seek accommodation with the Bloc and adopt a more neutral policy. As neutralist positions of Cambodia and Burma are acceptable to the Communists for the time being, Communist activity probably will be kept at low key.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 65 A 3501, Asia 350.09–676, 1962. Secret. Sent to Secretary McNamara under a covering memorandum by Captain Paul L. Stahl, Acting Assistant Director for Processing, DIA, who explained the brief was being sent to McNamara for his information in advance of the regular distribution of the SNIE.
  2. Dated February 21. (Department of State, INR/EA Files: Lot 90 D 110, SNIE 10–62)