238. Editorial Note

On November 30, the U.S. intelligence community approved SNIE 13–3–61, “Chinese Communist Capabilities in the Far East.” The estimate envisioned probable Chinese reaction to Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) or United States combat forces being deployed in the defense of Laos or South Vietnam. The drafters of the estimate concluded that the Chinese would initially increase their aid to the Pathet Lao and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam while deploying substantial forces along the south China border. Should SEATO or U.S. action constitute a threat that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s forces could not counter, the Chinese would “almost certainly” intervene overtly. The estimate concluded that the Chinese would “probably” intervene even if the threat was directed against the Pathet Lao position in northern Laos. (Johnson Library, National Security File, National Intelligence Estimates)