12. Paper Prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

JOINT STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES PLAN FOR FY 1969–1971 (JSOP) (U)

Part I—Purpose

1. The purpose of JSOP-69 is to:

a.
Provide information to commanders of unified and specified commands and planning guidance to the military services for the mid-range period beginning 1 July 1968 (M-day) under conditions of cold, limited, and general war.
b.
Translate national objectives and policies into military objectives, prescribe strategic concepts for the employment of forces, and define basic undertakings which support these objectives and concepts.
c.
Provide the Services with program guidance derived from the basic undertakings in terms of objective force levels considered necessary to support the US military strategy delineated in the plan.
d.
Provide logistics planning guidance which will serve as a basis for development of Service logistic program objectives in support of the JSOP objective force levels for 1 July 1968, and as a basis for industrial mobilization planning.
e.
Provide research and development planning guidance in support of military objectives and strategy delineated in the plan.
f.
Provide chemical, biological and radiological warfare guidance in support of military objectives and strategy delineated in the plan.
g.
Provide nuclear weapon and nuclear weapon delivery planning guidance in support of the objectives, strategy, and basic undertakings in the plan.
h.
Provide guidance for the conduct of psychological and counter-insurgency operations, and unconventional warfare.
i.
Provide nuclear weapons damage considerations.
j.
Provide an estimate of desirable and reasonably attainable force objectives for countries, Allied or potentially Allied, in support of US military strategy.
k.
Provide planning guidance for command and control systems in support of military objectives and strategy delineated in the plan.
l.
Provide communications and electronics planning guidance in support of the military objectives and strategy delineated in the plan.
m.
Provide the Secretary of Defense:
(1)
Military advice for the development of the FY 1966 military budget;
(2)
Justification for departmental FY 1966 program objectives as they pertain to major combatant forces; and
(3)
A basis for reassessment of military aspects of the previously approved Department of Defense Five-Year Force Structure and Financial Program.
n.
Provide military basis for the establishment of a US position with respect to:
(1)
Military assistance to our Allies and other friendly countries under conditions of cold, limited, and general war.
(2)
The development and review of NATO and other Allied mid-range plans.

Part II—Strategic Appraisal

2. General. This appraisal summarizes the probable changes in the world situation likely to affect warfare, military strategies and world balance of military power, from the present through the period of the plan. It contains a brief analysis of the communist threat to the security, objectives and stability of the United States and other Free World nations based on more detailed information contained in the [Page 28]Intelligence Annex (Annex A).2 Advances in technology will continue to affect the development of weapons and conduct of warfare during the period. The major powers and other technically advanced nations will continue efforts to reduce their vulnerability to attack, protect their military forces, and improve their relative technical, political, economic and military postures. For factors influencing specific technological developments during the period of the plan see appropriate annexes.

3. Development of the World Situation Up to the Period Beginning 1 July 1968

a.
The world situation will continue to be influenced by (1) the struggle between communist nations on the one hand and the free societies and other nations who share similar interests on the other; (2) the struggle of newly emergent and/or underdeveloped nations for self determination and a greater share of the world’s material wealth; (3) the struggles resulting from traditional rivalries between nations wherein their own interests are involved; (4) the internal struggles within Free World nations which tend to move them away from Free World orientation; and (5) the struggle within Bloc nations.
b.
The Soviet Union will increase pressures on the Free World as opportunities present themselves, and will relax pressures when it is to her advantage to do so. Any US or Allied retreats in critical situations will intensify Soviet tactics aimed at achieving advantages, including their inclination to employ force or threats of force. The Chinese Communists will seize every opportunity to undermine US standing; when they judge that circumstances permit, they will supplement political warfare with guerrilla action by indigenous forces as well as by higher intensity military action if they consider that the attendant risks are not too great. Both the Soviet Union and Communist China individually and possibly in concert will continue to instigate and support what they term “wars of liberation” with the aim of weakening the position of the West and establishing communist-oriented governments. Means used to support dissidents will probably range from political and economic assistance to providing military equipment, military training, military advisors, and even cadres. Other communist nations and communist parties in the Free World nations, with the support and encouragement of the Soviet Union, and/or Communist China, will attempt increasingly to embarrass and harass the United States and nations of the Western Alliances. The Soviet and ChiCom estimates of relative US-Soviet-Communist Chinese strength will be no less important to their decision as to the courses of action to pursue than their evaluation of Western reactions to Sino or Soviet probes.
c.
Disarmament, nuclear testing and international agreements for the exploitation of space are likely to remain active subjects of international importance. Efforts by the United States to negotiate with the Soviets on disarmament will be continued in an effort to effect some reduction in armaments without jeopardy to US security. Despite any future Soviet willingness to negotiate either an arms agreement or an unlimited nuclear test ban, her basic motive will remain one of subverting the world to international communism. There appears to be little reason to believe that any such agreement can be achieved which will not be predicated on the assumption by the Soviet Union that the Soviet Union and her allies will derive some advantage. Communist China’s eagerness for a voice in world affairs and her unwillingness to abide by international agreements reached without her participation probably will continue to inhibit the effectiveness of any agreement on these subjects.
d.
The inclination toward neutralism or relaxed military efforts in many nations may have these effects: (1) create therein a political climate susceptible to communist internal and external influence; (2) weaken Western Alliances; (3) restrain newly emerging nations from adopting pro-Western policies; and (4) discredit US leadership. Individual differences, divergent national objectives, nationalistic drives and personal ambitions of their leaders should prevent the neutralist nations from becoming a cohesive military and political entity.
e.
Newly emergent nations will continue to be characterized by nationalism, internal dissension, instability in political and economic institutions, and a tendency to concentrate disproportionately on external affairs in order to assert their independence. Political, military, and economic weaknesses will offer the communists opportunities, at relatively minor risk, for supporting subversive insurgency, political, and economic exploitation, including restrictive trade agreements, and the supply of arms and technicians. It is expected that many new nations will identify themselves with “anti-imperialistic” causes. However, Free World assistance, disenchantment with Soviet forms of assistance, and the political, economic, military and cultural ties between former colonialist powers and their former colonies will tend to counter Bloc efforts. Success of Western efforts to maintain a non-communist alignment among these new nations will depend largely upon the methods and the initiative displayed by Free World nations in combating communist subversion and persuasion. Communist control of a nation, once established, is unlikely to end except through introduction of outside military force.
f.
The communists will continue to employ threats, alternating belligerency and tractability in the attempt to erode normal diplomatic usage and the rule of law in international relations. They will continue [Page 30]attempts to discredit the United Nations Organization and impede peace-keeping arrangements, unless it serves their purposes to do otherwise.
g.
Divisive forces probably will become more pronounced within the Sino-Soviet Bloc as a result of differences between Moscow and Peiping over doctrine and strategy, over ChiCom desires for a nuclear capability, and over the more fundamental questions of authority in the International Communist movement. It is anticipated that these differences will continue to be important considerations in Sino-Soviet Bloc courses of action and will offer some opportunities for exploitation by the Free World. In any event, the Sino-Soviet dispute will continue and will present the Soviet leaders with increasing difficulties in their management of the International Communist movement, resulting in a further diminution of their control over it.
h.
Technological and scientific advancement is expected to continue at a rapid pace within the Soviet Union. Soviet propaganda will equate spectacular successes such as those in space to military, economic and social gains and will cite them as proof of the superiority of the communist system.
i.
In economic strength, the United States is presently well ahead of other countries. The Common Market area and Japan will continue to show impressive economic gains. The quality, diversity and technological level of production in Communist China will remain considerably below that of Japan, the USSR and the industrial nations of the West. Soviet Bloc policy will continue to emphasize growth and expansion of the bases of national power. Bloc economic planning will include continued maintenance of great military strength, continued efforts to enlarge their penetration of world markets, and selective expansion of trade and aid programs to underdeveloped countries and prospective satellites.
j.
The socio-politico-economic bases of the Soviets and Communist Chinese will continue to contain inherent though slow-acting weaknesses potentially vulnerable to exploitation by the United States and its Allies, particularly through political, psychological and unconventional warfare.
k.
The process of closer economic union of West European nations under the Common Market concept will continue with some unevenness and will be accompanied by the development of closer political and military ties with the possibility of a growing independence within [11 lines of source text not declassified].
l.
Regional Appraisal. It can be expected that communist policy will be marked by subversion and opportunism. Communist leaders undoubtedly will continue to seek new developments favorable to their [Page 31]interests in a number of areas, but more especially in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. They probably intend to give particular attention to establishing a strong presence in Africa, to stimulating and exploiting leftist and revolutionary movements in Latin America, and to encouraging the growth of a radical anti-American mass movement in Japan and elsewhere as expediency dictates. The communists will use any form of enticement and pressure which they consider advantageous and appropriate to any particular time. These pressures will include political, diplomatic, cultural and economic, as well as propaganda and the threat of military action. The communists will continue to drive aggressively for the control of peoples and areas through subversion and inspiration or capture of insurgent movements. Although the Soviets for propaganda purposes, will label such activity as “wars of liberation,” they will be attempting to bring the non-aligned nations into the communist camp. Above all, however, the Soviets intend to build up their national base of power in the belief that they can improve their over-all power position. They will continue to believe that, as they do so, more opportunities for readily exploitable communist expansion will open up for them.
(1)
European area. The Soviet Bloc seeks to: (a) confirm the division of Germany; (b) develop the prestige of East Germany; (c) perpetuate the status quo of the European satellites; (d) prevent the resurgence of West Germany as a potent military power; (e) force the withdrawal of US forces from overseas bases; (f) discourage increases in Allied military capability; (g) prevent the proliferation of Allied nuclear capability; (h) reduce the credibility of the Allied response in critical situations; and (i) weaken and bring about the dissolution of NATO. They are expected to continue to take those actions designed to improve their general military posture, intimidate and divide the West and convince the world that they are determined to pursue their objectives in the face of high risks.
(2)
Middle East. Bloc objectives in this area appear to be to achieve the dissolution of CENTO, use the Arab nationalist movement to their advantage, weaken the credibility of US response, deny the area and its resources to the West and expand Bloc influence. Major Bloc goals are to obtain a land bridge to Africa and control the Middle East.
(3)
Africa. The Soviet Union and Communist China will continue to develop economic, cultural, and diplomatic relations with African nations, seeking to penetrate and subvert their political structure and influence their alignment with and dependence on the Sino-Soviet Bloc through external and internal pressures. Frustration of communist objectives, the stability and growth of sound, democratic political institutions and the development of a viable economy among the new nations of Africa will be dependent in a very large degree on the assistance rendered by the Western World.
(4)
Asia and the Far East
(a)
Despite Sino-Soviet differences, the Bloc is expected to continue its efforts to reduce Western influence in Asia and undermine the government and politico-economic institutions of selected non-communist or neutral Asian nations. Efforts of the communists to reduce the effectiveness and force dissolution of SEATO will continue. Communist China will continue efforts to achieve recognition as a major world power and the dominant power in Asia. Generally, Asians probably will become more reluctant to assume a strong stand in opposition to China in the absence of credible guarantees of Western protection.
(b)
Indonesia probably will attempt to maintain a neutralist position and seek a balance in relations with major communist and non-communist nations. Indonesia probably will attempt to achieve hegemony over additional island territory in the area, particularly Portuguese Timor and the island portions of Malaysia, while simultaneously attempting to spread her influence in Southeast Asia. Indonesia will continue to rely on the USSR for substantial military assistance and aid and on any other opportune arrangements with Western or communist nations.
(c)
The Soviets desire to build up good will and enhance Soviet prestige in India against the time when prospects for communist acquisition of power are considerably improved. India appears determined to check Chinese expansion in the Northern border areas.
(d)
No settlement of the India/Pakistan Kashmir dispute is foreseen. A by-product of this dispute, however, could have far-reaching effects in spheres of immediate US interests. The prospect of continuing US/UK military aid to India has caused strong resentment in Pakistan and has increased her dissatisfaction with CENTO and SEATO. She has threatened to withdraw from the latter. To counter both the presumed threat from India and the perennial danger of pressure from the USSR, Pakistan may seek further rapprochement with Communist China.
(e)
The USSR’s political relations with Japan are likely to remain at an impasse. Moscow will continue to reject Japanese claims to the southern Kuriles and to insist upon abrogation of the defense treaty with the United States as a precondition for normalizing Soviet-Japanese relations with a peace treaty. The USSR would probably relax somewhat its present unyielding position, however, if it detected in Tokyo signs of a willingness to loosen ties with the United States.
(f)
The communists desire to establish control in Laos and South Vietnam at an early date. The USSR is not disposed to make heavy sacrifices however, or to jeopardize other objectives vis-à-vis the West in order to make immediate advances in an area which is of more direct concern to Hanoi and Peiping. The USSR is likely, therefore, to urge a less precipitous [Page 33]strategy and to accept some temporary setbacks in preference to the risks of substantial involvement to sustain the Viet Cong. The threat of large-scale intervention by ChiCom military forces will continue behind the communist’s activities in the area. Communist infiltration, subversion, and support of so-called “wars of national liberation” in Southeast Asia will increase. The ChiComs are not likely, however, to resort to limited or general war as long as they calculate that their ends can be achieved through means short of overt war. They will not hesitate, however, as illustrated by their actions in Tibet and on the China/Indian border, to resort to overt military action when they believe it is necessary and when in their opinion the risk of military confrontation with the United States is low. The development of effective measures to halt infiltration, insurgency and subversion will continue to be an urgent requirement in SEATO. While ChiCom concern over retaliation by the United States will deter it from attempting a military conquest of Taiwan or the Offshore Islands, they may undertake limited military action in the straits area to test Nationalist Chinese defenses and to probe US determination.
(5)

Latin America. Latin America will continue to be a primary target for Bloc penetration. The conflict will almost certainly intensify during the period. The Bloc will continue to push its campaign to:

(a)
Isolate the United States from its traditional Allies;
(b)
Nullify hemispheric unity;
(c)
Infiltrate and subvert vulnerable countries; and
(d)
Strengthen and exploit its present foothold in Latin America.

The Soviets and ChiComs will continue to use Cuba as a base from which to expand communist influence further into the Western Hemisphere and as a significant factor in world-wide negotiations. Cuba will be closely watched by Latin American and other nations as a measure of the relative strength and resolution of the US and the Soviet Union. Periodic crises will almost certainly continue to occur in Latin America throughout the period. In general, based on the assumption of continued US support, the area will almost certainly remain US-oriented, although in the face of internal and external Bloc pressures, some nations can be expected to adopt an increasingly independent position. The Soviets will attempt to turn to their advantage such promising revolutionary developments as may occur.

4. The Soviet Bloc Threat

a.
General.
(1)
While striving to improve Soviet Bloc security, especially that of the USSR, the Soviet rulers will attempt to advance toward their over-all objective of achieving a communist world under Soviet leadership. This basic Soviet Bloc objective remains constant and is supported by every member of the Bloc.
(2)
Soviet thinking about military policy is influenced by a general outlook which asserts that historical forces are moving inexorably in the direction of communism. In theory, this movement is carried forward by the struggle of the “masses,” led by the communist parties, to overthrow the existing social-economic order during an indeterminate period of “peaceful coexistence” rather than by the direct use of the military power of the Soviet Bloc. Soviet leaders see military power as serving two basic purposes: defense of their system and support for its expansion. Thus, one of the most important objectives of Soviet military policy is to deter general war while the USSR prosecuted its foreign policies by means short of actual hostilities involving Soviet forces. Military power is constantly brought into play in direct support of these policies, through the threats which give force to Soviet political demands, through the stress on its growing power which is intended to gain respect for the Soviet state and its communist system, and through the military aid and support rendered to allies, friendly but neutral regimes, and anti-Western movements. Despite a strong Soviet military posture, the relative strategic balance of forces is in favor of the West and as long as this condition exists it is doubtful, except through miscalculation or misadventure, that the Soviets would initiate general war. There is, however, good evidence that the Soviets, in recognition of this imbalance, are striving for weapon systems which could, in the future, enhance their capabilities relative to the West.
b.
Attitude Toward War.
(1)
The Soviets wish to have the forces to fight wars effectively should they occur. One of the most important objectives of Soviet policy is to deter general war. Except for so-called wars of national liberation, their political outlook, their military programs of recent years, and intelligence on their current intentions all suggest that the Soviet leaders do not regard war as desirable. They realize their deterrent must be credible in the sense that it rests upon powerful military forces. Moreover, they recognize that deterrence may fail in some key confrontation in which, despite their best efforts to retain control over risks, either they or their opponents come to feel that vital interests are under challenge. Against this contingency they wish to have a combination of offensive and defensive capabilities which will enable them to seize the initiative if possible, to survive enemy nuclear attack, and to go on to prosecute the war successfully. Although logically they must think that a deliberate Western attack on them is improbable, they appear to have genuine apprehensions.
(2)
Devoted as they are to the need for implacable struggle against the “capitalist” world until communist domination is assured, and to the view that power—in its broadest economic, military and political sense—is the key ingredient in this struggle, the Soviets see their priority [Page 35]objective as constantly trying to change the East-West balance of power and the world conception of that balance in their favor. To this end they persistently endeavor to enhance the components of their economic, military, and scientific strength and no less important, their political position in the world arena. Soviet boasts of military prowess and superiority over the West are designed to back up their political initiatives by exploiting present and future Soviet power potential. At the same time, the Soviets do what they can to undermine and denigrate the power of the West in these respects.
(3)
Fundamental hostility toward the noncommunist world defines one limit of Soviet foreign policy; so long as it persists, the USSR will regard international issues as opportunities progressively to weaken and undermine its opponents, and not as occasions for conciliation which would protect the interests of all parties. The other limit, which puts a check upon this aggressiveness, is the Soviet leaders’ awareness that their own nation and system would face destruction in a general nuclear war. Both their statements and their actions in recent years have demonstrated their unwillingness to run any considerable risks of this eventuality. This does not mean, however, that they would always estimate the risks correctly, nor does it mean that they would abandon interests they considered vital in order to avoid grave risk of nuclear war. Barring the development of a decisive weapon system, the Soviets almost certainly consider that neither side will deliberately initiate a general war or react to any crisis in a manner which would gravely risk such a war, unless vital interests were considered to be in jeopardy.
(4)
It is believed that the Soviets are unlikely, as a matter of general policy, to assume the military and political risks involved in using their own forces in formal military operations to achieve local gains. They would probably employ Soviet forces, as necessary, if some Western military action in areas adjacent to a communist country threatened the integrity of the Bloc itself. Even in the latter case, however, they would attempt to use their forces in a way calculated to achieve their local objectives, to end hostilities rapidly and to control risks of escalation. At a much lower level, they will almost certainly encourage and support the use of force by pro-communist forces when they believe that a local situation is ripe for forceful exploitation and that the challenge to Western interests is not direct enough to involve uncontrollable risks of a direct encounter between United States and Soviet forces.
(5)
This estimate of Soviet views on general and local war is generally consistent with the positions expressed by them on 6 January 1961, when they defined various types of wars and their attitude [Page 36]toward them.3 On that occasion, in addition to stating Soviet opposition on both world wars and local wars between states, they distinguished a category of “wars of national liberation, or popular uprisings.” Such internal wars, ranging pro-Soviet or anti-Western forces against colonial or pro-Western regimes, were declared to be “just” and deserving of communist support. They were carefully vague, however, in discussing the forms which this support would take, and in particular, neither promised nor hinted that Soviet forces would join in the fighting. Subsequent Soviet actions, however, indicate that this was not a statement of intent to usher in a new phase of vigorous Soviet incitement of such conflicts everywhere or of maximum military assistance to “national liberation” forces.
(6)
It seems likely that Soviet emphasis on “national liberation” warfare, was intended in part to meet Chinese criticisms then being made that the USSR, by its stress upon the need to avoid war, was in fact ruling out altogether the use of force in advancing the communist cause. This charge is a major component of the Chinese attack upon the correctness of Soviet policies and, therefore, upon the legitimacy of the USSR’s traditional leadership of the communist movement. It is also designed to win for China the allegiance of communists and radicals in the less developed countries, who are less firmly tied to Soviet leadership than their European counterparts. Despite these Chinese pressures, the USSR has not given full political and material support nor committed its prestige to all armed anti-Western movements in the under-developed areas. It is believed that the Soviets will continue to follow an opportunistic policy in this regard.
c.
Military Balance of Power.
(1)
The Soviets maintain substantial forces-in-being and a large mobilization potential. As far as ground forces are concerned, they probably regard the balance of power in Eurasia as being in their favor. They also have a large short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missile arsenal with which they could attack targets anywhere in the European area. They have acquired an intercontinental missile capability in addition to their long-range bomber forces. Their force of missile-firing submarines continues to increase and forms an increasingly important part of their strategic capabilities. However, their capability for intercontinental attack remains decidedly inferior to that of the West.
(2)
Bloc leaders probably continue to view their combined military power as adequate to meet military situations in Eurasia in which the nuclear capabilities of the Western Powers were not involved. They [Page 37]probably also conclude that they possess sufficient military power to deter the West from launching general war except under extreme threat to vital national or common interests. They almost certainly conclude that in the event of general war their military power would be unable to prevent unacceptable damage to the Soviet Union.
d.
Mutual Deterrence and the Deliberate Initiation of War. The Soviet leaders evidently continue to base their military and foreign policy planning on the assumption that the present over-all military relationship, in which each side can exert a strong deterrent upon the other, will continue for some time to come. The Soviets do not view this situation as a stalemate, but rather as an opportunity to conduct aggressive maneuvers of many sorts and to undertake a comprehensive effort aimed at attaining a military technological breakthrough. They are clearly determined to maintain and improve their strong military posture. The Soviets are vigorously pursuing programs for research and development in advanced weapons, hoping if possible to create a strategic imbalance favorable to them. It is estimated that these research and development efforts include defense systems against ballistic missiles, the military application of space vehicles and very high yield warheads. It is possible that some future technological breakthrough could lead them to believe that they had acquired a decisive advantage and that they could, therefore, be far more aggressive toward the West. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that, under these circumstances, a decision to initiate a first strike might be made. It is not believed, however, that the Soviets base their policies upon the expectation that they will be able to achieve, within the foreseeable future, a military posture which would make the deliberate initiation of general war a rational decision; the Soviets realize that the West is determined to maintain second-strike capabilities which would inflict intolerable destruction upon them. In any case, their policies rest on the proposition that communist victory can be won without resort to general war.
e.
Miscalculation. Soviet strategy recognizes that, while general war is unlikely, it cannot be excluded as the result of miscalculation by either side or as the outcome of a crisis in which both sides become progressively committed. The Soviets are unable to be certain in advance what the circumstances surrounding the beginning of a general war would be. A miscalculation could occur if the Soviets misjudged either the importance to the West of an issue and the actions which the West might take in support of its position, or even the consequences of the policies being pursued by a third party associated with the Soviet Union. On the other hand, such a crisis might arise should the West miscalculate in a similar way.
f.
Pre-emptive Attack. If the Soviet leaders were ever convinced that the West was irrevocably committed to an imminent strategic nuclear [Page 38]attack against them, there is little question that they would themselves strike pre-emptively. Such conviction, however, on the part of any country about the intentions of another is extremely unlikely. The Soviet leaders have probably concluded that it would be impossible to count upon incontrovertible advance evidence that the enemy was irrevocably committed to an imminent attack. Moreover, the compulsion to strike first, if the threat of hostile attack is still ambiguous, declines as missile systems become more important and less vulnerable, and if the net military advantage to be derived from a first strike decreases. This trend of Soviet thinking is suggested by assertions that an aggressor cannot neutralize the retaliatory capability of a powerful opponent. Nevertheless, a surprise attack—that is to say, one delivered in a period of no particular tension and after entirely secret military preparations—is the only one which would give the Soviet Union a chance of destroying any significant part of the Western nuclear strike capability before it could be launched. Therefore, in spite of its unlikelihood, it remains a possible, though improbable, course of action for the Soviet Union.
g.
Escalation. A number of Soviet statements in recent years have expressed the view that limited war involving the major nuclear powers would inevitably escalate into general war. While such statements are intended in part to deter the West from local use of force, this official view also reflects a genuine Soviet fear of the consequences of becoming directly engaged in limited war involving Soviet and US forces. This probably also extends to involvement of Soviet forces with certain Allied forces in highly critical areas, notably Western forces in the European area. Nevertheless, they might employ their own forces to achieve local gains in some area adjacent to Bloc territory if they judged that the West, either because it was deterred by Soviet nuclear power or for some other reason, would not make an effective military response. They would probably employ Soviet forces as necessary if some Western military action threatened the integrity of the Bloc itself. Should the USSR become directly involved in a limited war with the US or Allied forces, it is believed that the Soviets would not necessarily expand it immediately into general war, but that they would probably employ only that force which they thought necessary to achieve their local objectives. They would also seek to prevent escalation by political means.

5. Chinese Communist Threat

a.
General. Communist China’s foreign policy will probably continue generally along current lines. Peiping will remain strongly anti-American and will strive to weaken the US position, especially in East Asia, but is unlikely, knowingly, to assume great risks. China’s military force will probably not be used overtly except in defense of its own or satellite borders or, in the absence of US/Allied military power, to assert [Page 39]territorial claims against India. Subversion and covert support of local revolutions will continue to be Peiping’s primary mode of operation in Southeast Asia and, to a necessarily more limited degree, elsewhere in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
b.
Modernization of Armed Forces. The modernization of the armed forces, which was progressing steadily until about 1960, has practically ended, except for the continued introduction of radar and certain other electronic equipment. No advanced aircraft, submarine components, or other items of advanced equipment have been received from the USSR in the past two and one-half years, domestic production of fighter aircraft and submarines has ceased and inventories are being reduced by deterioration and cannibalization. In general, the Army has been less affected than the other Services. During the depths of the domestic decline, the military forces suffered shortages of even routine items of supply, but this condition has apparently been alleviated in the past year.
c.
Advanced Weapons.
(1)
The intelligence data available does not permit a high degree of confidence in estimating the future development of the Chinese nuclear program, and this appraisal is made in light of this general caution.
(2)
The Chinese Communists have given high priority to the development of nuclear weapons and missiles. The earliest date a first plutonium device could be tested is believed to be early 1964, but if the normal number of difficulties are encountered this date would be postponed to late 1964 or 1965. Beginning the year after a first detonation, the single reactor thus far identified could produce enough material for only one or two crude weapons a year. The Chinese have a few bombers which could carry bulky weapons of early design.
(3)
Communist China is probably concentrating on a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) system of basically Soviet design, such as either the 630 mile SS–3 or the 1,020 mile SS–4. The earliest date either missile would be ready for deployment is believed to be 1967. It is unlikely that a compatible nuclear warhead would be available by that date.
(4)
The detonation of a nuclear device would boost domestic morale. Although it is possible that the ChiCom leaders would experience a dangerous degree of overconfidence, it is more likely that they will concentrate on furthering their established policies to:
(a)
Force their way into world disarmament discussions and other world councils,
(b)
Overawe their neighbors and soften them for Peiping-directed communist subversion, and
(c)
Tout Chinese-style communism as the best route for an underdeveloped nation to achieve industrial and scientific modernity. In pursuing [Page 40]these policies, increased confidence of ChiCom leaders would doubtless be reflected in their approach to conflicts on the periphery of Communist China.
d.
Domestic Production. Peiping almost certainly intends to achieve domestic production of all necessary weapons and materiel for its armed forces. It has a long way to go before reaching this goal, however. The Chinese at present are probably unable to produce even MIG–17’s entirely by themselves, and it will be a number of years before they can design and produce more advanced types of military aircraft. Indeed they may have chosen instead to concentrate their limited resources on missiles. Their wholly domestic naval shipbuilding capacity is likely to be restricted to surface ships of the smaller types during the next few years.
e.
Military Policy. Communist China’s military policy has always been characterized by caution in undertaking initiatives in the face of superior power. Hence, the decline in the relative effectiveness of its military equipment and weapons is likely further to temper its policy, especially in circumstances where it might confront US armed power or US-equipped Asian air forces. However, the Chinese Communist Army will continue to be the strongest in Asia and will provide a powerful backing for Chinese Communist foreign policy. The Sino-Soviet dispute will probably place additional demands on Chinese military dispositions and capabilities, since one of the consequences of China’s new “independence” from the USSR will be the need to keep a closer watch than previously on the long China-Russia border—which the Chinese still consider a “difficult” and “unsettled” question. Her slowly developing nuclear weapon and missile capability will increase an already considerable military advantage over Asian neighbors. However, for the foreseeable future she will not approach the advanced weapons might of the United States or USSR, particularly in the field of long-range striking power. For this reason, among others, Peiping would be unlikely to attribute a decisive importance to modern weaponry. They would probably continue to rely primarily on a huge ground force and, unless confident of Soviet support, would try to avoid hostilities which might escalate into nuclear war. Considering the chances of retaliation, it is difficult to conceive of any situation in which Peiping would be likely to initiate the use of nuclear weapons in the next decade or so.
f.
Foreign Policy. Communist China’s foreign policy objectives can be distinguished roughly by the amount of risk the regime is prepared to take. The obvious first rank objective is the preservation of the regime and the protection of its existing boundaries. For these purposes the ChiComs are willing to go to war, almost regardless of the odds. If US or SEATO troops approached its borders through Laos or North [Page 41]Vietnam, they would almost certainly be ready to commit their forces openly, unless in the particular circumstances they saw greater advantage in more covert military operations. The acquisition of Taiwan falls in the second rank of objectives—those for which they are fully prepared to use overt military force, but only when the prospects of success are judged to be high. To achieve this goal, they are prepared to run fewer risks and are particularly anxious to avoid direct conflict with the United States. They almost certainly will not attempt to seize by military force either Taiwan or any of the major offshore islands which they believe the United States would help defend. It is not believed that the explosion of a nuclear device, or even the acquisition of a limited nuclear weapons capability, will produce major changes in her foreign policy in the sense that they will adopt a general policy of open military aggression, or even become willing to take significantly greater military risks. China’s leaders recognize that their limited capabilities will not alter the real power balance among the major states and could not do so in the foreseeable future. In particular, they will recognize that they remain unable either to remove or neutralize the United States’ presence in Asia. Nevertheless, the Chinese would feel very much stronger and this mood would doubtless be reflected in their approach to conflicts on their periphery. They would probably feel that the United States would be more reluctant to intervene on the Asian mainland and thus the tone of Chinese policy would probably become more assertive. Further, their possession of nuclear weapons would reinforce their efforts to achieve Asian hegemony through political pressures and the indirect support of local “wars of liberation.”
g.
Spread of Communism. For the broader and longer range goal of spreading communism throughout the under-developed world, Communist China is probably not prepared to accept any substantial risk, although it must be noted that it tends to estimate the risks involved in supporting “wars of national liberation” much lower than does Moscow. It apparently does not intend to undertake overt conquests of foreign lands in the name of communism, but intends to let indigenous revolutionaries do the fighting and the “liberating.” The ChiComs are prepared to train foreign nationals in guerrilla and political warfare, and will back revolutionary movements to the extent of their limited capabilities with equipment, funds, propaganda, and support in international affairs.

[Here follow Part III. Military Objectives, Part IV. Strategic Concept, Part V. Basic Undertakings, and Annexes A–L.]

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 200, Defense Programs and Operations, JSOPFY 1969–1971, Feb. 14, 1964, Box 41. Top Secret; Special Handling Required; Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals. Attached but not printed are a title page; a September 5, 1963, memorandum from Colonel R.C. Forbes (SM–1082–63); a table of contents; and a February 14 memorandum from General Taylor to McNamara (CM–1181–64), which noted that Parts I–V of the JSOP, approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were being forwarded prior to final development of Part VI. Parts I–V, Taylor added, “constitute guidance to the commanders of unified and specified commands for their submission of force requirements and a basis for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine objective force levels.” He described their contents as follows:

    • “I. Purpose—States the various purposes of the JSOP.
    • “II. Strategic Appraisal—Analyzes the world-wide threat through the mid-range period.
    • “III. Military Objectives—Describes military objectives to support national objectives.
    • “IV. Strategic Concept—Describes anticipated employment of forces on a functional and geographical basis.
    • “V. Basic Undertakings—Describes the basic undertakings of the unified and specified commands envisaged for this period.”

    Taylor continued that Part VI, “Force Tabs,” of JSOP-69, which would be forwarded on March 16, “will contain views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on major combatant forces required to carry out strategy presented in Parts I through V.” He concluded that the entire JSOP-69 was designed to provide the Secretary of Defense with military advice for the development of the FY 1966 budget, justification for Defense Department FY 1966 program objectives as they pertained to major combatant forces, and a basis for reassessment of the previously approved Five-Year Force Structure and Financial Program. Part VI of JSOP-69 is in the National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Files, 3130 (16 Sep 63) Sec 4A–6A.

  2. Annexes A–L are not printed.
  3. For extracts of Soviet Chairman Khrushchev’s address before the Moscow Conference of Communist Parties, January 6, 1961, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 555–558; and Documents on Disarmament, 1961, pp. 1–15.