Calling the Sino-Soviet Split

The CIA and Double Demonology*

Harold P. Ford

Sino-Soviet relations are in a critical phase just short of an acknowledged and definitive split. There is no longer much of a fundamental resolution of differences. In our view, the chances that such a split can be avoided in 1962 are no better than even.

 NIE 11-5-62, February 1962 1

[Ambassador George Kennan:] In summary, it seems to me that Chinese-Soviet relations bid fair to receive, in the coming months, a certain easement-. An environment of continued sharp, military bipolarity will leave the two partners little choice but to repress their differences and carry on. [Ambassador Charles (Chip) Bohlen:] I am inclined to agree with George . . . there is not the slightest sign that any adjustments of the basic elements of that dispute have been or are in process . . . .

 Comments on NIE 11-5-62, May 1962 2

The Soviet party is opportunist and revisionist; it lacks any deep knowledge of Marxism; its ideas about disarmament are absurd; peaceful coexistence could mean nothing, except as a tactical weapon to deceive the enemy; the Soviet idea of a division of labor among the countries of the socialist camp is wrong; and China must go her own way.

 Deng Xiaoping, November 1960 3

Once it was widely believed that the USSR and Communist China were firm allies acting in concert to spread Communist influence everywhere they could in the world. In the early 1950s, there was much to support that image. Mao Tse-tung's regime had triumphed in China and then allied itself formally with the Soviet Union. Communist North Korea had invaded the Republic of Korea. Communist China had intervened massively in that war. The USSR had provided its Communist allies with military assistance, including Soviet-piloted MiGs. The trouble was, among US policymakers such an image of Sino-Soviet solidarity persisted long after the Moscow-Beijing relationship had in fact begun to fray badly.

Furthermore, that image persisted long after officers from various CIA units had begun to alert consumers that a Sino-Soviet break was definitely developing. 4 Not all CIA officers were of one mind: some remained reluctant to change their long-held view of Communist bloc solidarity. All in all, however, the dominant voice of CIA analysis was out in front of the rest of the Intelligence Community (IC) in trying to alert policymaking consumers that the United States might someday face a significantly changed strategic situation.

This article treats the highlights of that Sino-Soviet story: the judgments CIA officers made in the years up to 1963, by which time estrangement between Moscow and Beijing had become publicly evident; why these CIA officers came to hold those particular views; what they were up against in trying to promote their heresy amidst many policymakers who remained true believers; and the impact these CIA officers' judgments had--or did not have--on policymakers.


Judgments at CIA

. . . 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.

 NIE 13-60, December 1960 5

From the outset of Stalin's 1950 alliance with Mao Tse-tung, and continuing for the better part of a decade, those analysts who were convinced that bitter differences underlay the Sino-Soviet relationship faced tough hurdles. One involved the outward appearance of Russian-Chinese cooperation and a widespread belief that the West was under attack, worldwide, by a monolithic Red bloc. Another hurdle was America's domestic fixation on Communism. For years, most senior US Kremlinologists and policymakers remained hesitant to accept intelligence judgments that Sino-Soviet discord was growing. Central to such hesitance was the fact that, until about 1960, there was little hard evidence to back judgments that seemed to many to be based heavily on tea-leaf interpretations of what Soviet and Chinese media were saying.

The Sino-Soviet heresy in CIA ranks began as early as 1952, at a time when the United States was fighting Communist bloc forces in Korea. One of the earliest CIA publications mentioning differences between Moscow and Beijing was published jointly by the Foreign Documents Division (FDD) and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), on 30 April 1952, titled "Propaganda Evidence Concerning Sino-Soviet Relations." That study briefly identified two chief areas of differing Soviet and Chinese propaganda: Soviet aid to China's war effort in Korea, and China's status in the Communist orbit. 6

In 1953, FDD published the first major analytic study alerting readers to Sino-Soviet differences, "Chinese and Soviet Views on Mao as a Marxist Theorist and on the Significance of the Chinese Revolution for the Asian Revolutionary Movement," by Philip Bridgham, Arthur Cohen, and Leonard Jaffe. 7 It stressed two Chinese claims, voiced in June 1951 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party: that "Mao had made a new contribution to Marxist-Leninist theory in his ideological writings on the Chinese revolution," and that "Mao's theory, generalizing the experiences of the Chinese revolution, was applicable to the colonial revolutionary movement as a whole." 8 After pointing out how the Soviet response had been remarkably cool to these claims, the authors concluded that, "Differences in viewpoint on these questions may represent latent, but nonetheless vital, tensions in the relations between Soviet and Chinese Communist leaders. In fact, a deterioration in Sino-Soviet relations, for whatever cause, may quite probably be signalized first in divergent assertions regarding theoretical matters." 9

These first appearances of any thought of significant differences possibly developing between Moscow and Beijing were no clarion calls, but their messages were nonetheless heretical at a time when the dominant view was definitely one of Sino-Soviet solidarity, voiced by some at the time as, "If you've seen one Commie, you've seen them all."

The next notch in Sino-Soviet propaganda differences identified by FDD and FBIS officers followed the death of Stalin. In May 1954, in a study titled "Some Aspects of Sino-Soviet Relations Following Stalin's Death," they pointed out that Beijing was systematically building up Mao's international doctrinal stature, a move which "attested to the political strength and liberty of the Chinese Communist Party." In the authors' view, this indicated that Beijing had assumed the right to devise Communist programs and strategies in Southeast Asia, an area which for decades had been the "exclusive authority of Moscow." 10

The word "conflict" in Sino-Soviet relations first appeared in November 1954 in an FBIS study, "Points of Sino-Soviet Conflict on Far Eastern Policy." This piece identified two areas in which Soviet and Chinese propaganda "persuasively suggest longstanding and still not entirely resolved divergences on policy in the Far East." The two principal such issues: the rate at which the Chinese economy should be industrialized and socialized (and thus become independent of the USSR); and the degree to which Moscow should support China in opposing the West in Asia. 11

Thereafter, FBIS authors, under the direction of Paul McPherson, continued to alert readers to slowly growing signs of Sino-Soviet discord. By 1956, these had become much more apparent. In April 1956, FBIS alerted its readers to a Beijing People's Daily article that attacked the USSR's "cult of the individual" and certain "important mistakes" Stalin had made: an excess of zeal in eliminating counterrevolutionaries, lack of vigilance before World War II, failure to develop agriculture sufficiently, mistreatment of Yugoslavia's apostasy--and, most notably, "crudely" applying his directives concerning China. Then, after attacking the "cult of the individual," this Chinese article showed no embarrassment in hailing Mao as "our great leader" and lauding his "all-out defense of the theories of Marxism-Leninism."

By 1958, FBIS's analysts were highlighting Moscow's cool reception of China's commune and Great Leap Forward programs; by 1959, FBIS was also focusing on East European and North Vietnamese praise of the Great Leap Forward. This unprecedented Soviet satellite independence was unacceptable to Moscow. By September 1960, FBIS was pointing to some specific Soviet "intensive pressures" on China: the first warnings that China might face exclusion from the Communist bloc; demands that bloc members subordinate their "national interests"; increasingly explicit charges that "dogmatists" were engaging in divisive activities that endangered world Communism; and an implicit call that the Chinese Communist Party recant. 12


Special Studies Group

In 1956, meanwhile, following Chinese media criticism of the USSR's squashing of uprisings in Poland and Hungary, CIA made its first formal organizational attack on the Sino-Soviet question. This was the establishment within the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI) of a Sino-Soviet Studies Group (SSSG), commissioned to examine Chinese leadership questions and Sino-Soviet relations. That same year, the SSSG published its first major study on Sino-Soviet differences: The Chinese View of Interbloc Relations. 13 Organizationally, the SSSG drew in Chinese and Soviet experts from OCI, FDD, FBIS, and the Office of [Economic] Research and Reports (ORR). SSSG's specialists included Walter P. (Bud) Southard, Philip Bridgham, Arthur Cohen, Harry Gelman, Set Mardirosian, and Donald Zagoria. 14

The Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) was perceptive in establishing this group. With the advantage of hindsight, numerous scholars now date the beginnings of Sino-Soviet estrangement to differences that developed in 1956 over how best to build "Communism" in states already ruled by Communist parties; what the relationships should be among Communist parties; and how best to exert Communist pressures against the West. We now know that, by that year, Sino-Soviet discord behind the scenes had become bitter. For example, Mao's minutes of a conversation he had with Yugoslav Communists in September 1956 are replete with criticisms of Stalin for having seriously injured the Chinese Communist Party over the years. Beginning in the 1920s, wrote Mao, "These mistakes originated in Stalin," and in the course of signing the Sino-Soviet alliance pact in February 1950 "I became even more disgusted [with Stalin]; I quarreled a lot with him in Moscow." 15

Together with studies on other questions, the SSSG's officers created a special series of major examinations of Sino-Soviet discord. Titled Esau studies, the group chose that name explicitly to reflect the younger brother's undercutting of the older brother's birthright. In mid-1959, the first Esau study, "The Soviet Attitude Toward Communes," chiefly examined Moscow's attitude toward the USSR's own experience with communes. 16 The SSSG produced five more Esau studies in 1959. All focused on China's launching of its own (ill-fated) commune program. And all emphasized Moscow's ignorance of that program's inception, its sharp critiques of China's communes, and the fact that the Soviet and Chinese parties by 1957 had begun making "diametrically opposite" interpretations of supposed international Communist Declarations. 17 In 1959, the DDI also established a special interoffice committee, chaired by R. Jack Smith, a member of the Office of National Estimates (ONE), "to survey the assets of DDI components for investigating the question of the Sino-Soviet relationship and to ascertain what is being done in terms of collection, analysis, and production." 18

In 1960, the SSSG produced four more major Esau studies. Pointing out how Sino-Soviet discord had become more acute during 1958-60, these pieces emphasized how Soviet spokesmen were now severely criticizing China's commune and Great Leap Forward programs, how differences had escalated concerning the best ways to build Communism at home and to spread it abroad, and whether China's commune program should be a model for other societies in Asia. These studies also pointed up how China's commune program--to the disgust of Moscow--had found warm reactions among certain of the USSR's satellite regimes. In addition, they noted that Mao was insisting much greater risks should be taken in pushing the West, now that the USSR had developed ICBM capabilities. By 1961, Esau studies were able to detail how a flood of Soviet and Chinese documents, clandestinely acquired in 1960, clearly established that Moscow and Beijing were openly quarreling and acknowledging that their relationship had become badly estranged.

There was a much broader readership of SSSG's findings in 1962, when Princeton University Press published The Sino-Soviet Conflict, written by one of the SSSG's officers, Donald Zagoria. This was a perceptive, unique work, widely accepted since that time as one of the first publications that spelled out in unambiguous detail the causes and character of the Sino-Soviet conflict. The book's strength lay in the fact that in writing it, Zagoria had borrowed heavily from the work he and his SSSG colleagues had been doing for some time. 19


More CIA Heretics

Meanwhile, several members of ONE's staff had begun to join the ranks of the heretics arguing Sino-Soviet discord. These officers included Chester Cooper, Richard Shryock, James Billington, John Whitman, Louis Sandine, and myself. The most senior, Cooper, took a leading role: as early as 1954, he set up meetings of ONE and SSSG officers to discuss Sino-Soviet differences, 20 and he was later instrumental in urging CIA's analysts to focus more effort on the Sino-Soviet estrangement, and in particular on how it might affect US interests. 21

Along the way, in a memorandum on "The Big Commune Heresy," written in November 1958, Shryock pointed out how China's leaders were trumpeting their commune program as a momentous event in world history, whereas high-level Soviet officials were completely ignoring it. Shryock concluded that "whether deliberate or no, the Chinese have started something too big to be long ignored." 22 Billington wrote that by 1959 the alleged common ideological bond between Moscow and Beijing had become of "minor importance in the relationship and is likely to become increasingly so", and that the Chinese consider that "the papacy has moved to Avignon; they are in a stage of development which needs a myth of infallibility; and they do not, moreover, feel themselves implicated in past Soviet mistakes." 23

In 1959, I stressed interacting discord existing within both the Chinese Communist Party and Sino-Soviet relations; the fact that Beijing "is now very much on the make in world politics at a time when Soviet leadership has apparently decided that there is much to be gained by resort to seductive, less crude methods of conquest"; and that differences over China's acquisition of nuclear weapons were apparently becoming an increasing point of discord both within China and in its relations with Moscow. 24 In the early 1960s I argued that "deep-seated differences over China's acquisition of nuclear weapons were central to the initiation and aggravation of Sino-Soviet discord," though that discord was the product as well of competing revolutionary strategies, theological pretension, struggle for supreme Communist authority, and fundamental disagreement over whether Stalin should be praised or buried. 25 Radio Moscow later confirmed that there had been serious Sino-Soviet differences over nuclear weapons:

The Chinese leaders have been at great pains to obtain possession of nuclear weapons. They strenuously tried-this is no secret-to get the Soviet Union to give them the atomic bomb. The CPSU and the Soviet Government naturally could not consider this, since it might have led to the most serious consequences. 26

By 1960, ONE's front office had become supportive of the positions those ONE staff members had been taking. In May 1960, ONE's Acting Director Abbot Smith wrote DCI Dulles that Soviet detente tactics toward the West had provoked "the bitterest and most fundamental Chinese Communist disagreement with Soviet policy yet evidenced." 27 Later that year, ONE Director Sherman Kent wrote, "The Sino-Soviet dispute is genuine, bitter, and covers a broad range of fundamental policies." 28


Cautious NIEs

CIA officers also played leading roles in producing the IC's authoritative judgments on the state of relations between Moscow and Beijing. The views of these coordinated National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) concerning the degree of Russian-Chinese discord lagged behind the judgments of the individual CIA officers. Up into the early 1960s, however, NIE views were definitely ahead of the still-dominant image among policymakers of Sino-Soviet solidarity. The IC had addressed the Sino-Soviet relationship as early as 1952, at a time when most observers considered China to be a tool of the Soviet Union, and concluded that Beijing, unlike the USSR's East European satellites, was not "directly and completely controlled by the Kremlin," and retained "some capability for independent action and a capability to exert an influence upon the shaping of Communist policy in the Far East." 29

By 1956, the IC agreed that certain difficulties did exist between Moscow and Beijing, but concluded, "Although potential conflicts of interest exist, we believe that common objectives and mutual advantage, and Peiping's continuing dependence on Moscow, will serve to prevent any significant weakening of Sino-Soviet ties at least through 1960." 30 In 1957, the coordinating process kept the IC's judgments similarly cautious; NIE 13-57 concluded that conflicts of interest would "probably" arise between the two powers, but that it would be "highly unlikely" that either side would "permit such conflicts to impair Sino-Soviet solidarity." 31 The following year, NIE 13-58 made similar judgments. By 1959, obvious Sino-Soviet differences had arisen concerning China's commune and Great Leap Forward programs; China's instigation of the Quemoy-Matsu offshore island crisis; and whether the USSR's acquisition of nuclear weapons meant that greater, or more cautious, risks should now be run against the West. In 1959, the IC admitted the presence of numerous differences in the two powers' relationship, judging that "the reconciliation of Sino-Soviet interests will probably become increasingly difficult," particularly with respect to "nuclear weapons, attitudes and tactics toward the West, and patterns of economic and social development". Yet that NIE still concluded that Moscow and Beijing would find "no feasible alternative" to maintaining their alliance. 32

The final text of the next NIE on the subject (100-3-60) was much less firm about a possible Sino-Soviet rupture than many of CIA's analysts (ONE's included) had been championing. The NIE did state that there had been a "sharp increase in discord" in the Sino-Soviet relationship and that it "is not a monolith." But, after judging that that relationship contained "elements of both cohesion and division," the Estimate concluded that the cohesive forces "will remain stronger than divisive forces at least through the period of this estimate [five years]." 33


A Different NIE Tune

The message of the next NIE on the subject (13-60, 6 December 1960) was substantially different, at last coming to the view that the differences between Beijing and Moscow were so great that "any resolution of the fundamental differences is unlikely." 34 Three reasons explained this changed, much more confident judgment. First, it was known that in July 1960 Moscow had suddenly and unilaterally ordered its experts in China to leave, "within the month." Second, it had become known that during the year Chinese and Soviet spokesmen had angrily confronted one another in a series of international Communist gatherings of unrivaled bitterness, climaxed by the CPSU's 22nd Congress in November. Third, and most important, an unprecedented breakthrough had occurred in clandestine collection regarding those encounters: the foreign and domestic intelligence services of the United States and of several friendly countries obtained copies of many of the angry letters the Soviets and Chinese had distributed. Among this new evidence documenting Sino-Soviet bitterness was a denunciation Khrushchev had made of the Chinese for being Trotskyites and "madmen" who were seeking war. 35

By 1963, when the Sino-Soviet estrangement had become widely evident, the IC at last agreed that the "basic issues" behind that discord were "incompatible national and party interests," and that "the Chinese Communists show no signs of relenting." 36 In focusing on competing national interests as the basic source of Sino-Soviet discord, the IC at last validated what many CIA analysts had long been stressing.


CIA's 1960 NSC Briefings

Meanwhile, by 1960, the much firmer evidence being received had enabled senior CIA officers to keep the National Security Council (NSC) well informed of the growing discord in Moscow's relationships with Beijing. As early as December 1959, Deputy Director for Plans (DDP) Richard Bissell was assuring the NSC that the IC "is unanimous that [Sino-Soviet] strains are genuine and not a fabrication." 37 In April 1960, DCI Allen Dulles told the NSC that three questions principally marked the Sino-Soviet dispute: whether war was inevitable; whether the West was increasing preparations for war; and whether peaceful coexistence was possible. 38 When Acting DCI Charles Cabell briefed the NSC in August 1960, reporting that Khrushchev had said "only madmen and maniacs regard war as inevitable," Vice President Nixon asked Cabell whether he was "completely sure" that there was a real difference of view between the USSR and China; General Cabell replied that "in his opinion there were real ideological and policy differences between the two countries." 39

In September 1960, DCI Dulles told the NSC that CIA had "a great deal of documentation" on the Sino-Soviet dispute, and that among this evidence was an 84-page Soviet directive to all Communist parties informing them that China had better shape up, or Soviet aid to it would be "reduced or eliminated." 40 In October, Dulles told the NSC that the Soviets were apparently working to confront the Chinese with the unanimous condemnation of all the world's Communist parties. 41 And, near the close of 1960, Dulles informed the NSC of what CIA had learned concerning the just-completed 22nd Congress of the CPSU, stating that from their study of the manifesto published by that conference "CIA experts have isolated 17 issues dividing Communist China and the USSR"; also, that the chief Chinese delegate to the conference [Chou En-lai] "was said to have made a four-hour speech attacking Khrushchev personally." 42

All in all, 1960 was a good Sino-Soviet year for CIA: the collection of evidence had been excellent; the heretical views long held by many of the Agency's analysts had at last begun to become canon; and the DCI and other senior CIA officers had become convinced of the extent and genuineness of Sino-Soviet discord and had passed on those conclusions to the government's top policymakers.


Sources of Sino-Soviet Discord

I will never forget that night in Nanking, when the Chinese Communists' liaison officer, Huang Hua, told me over and over again how much he hated the Russians' guts.

 Walter P. (Bud) Southard 43

With occasional exceptions, until the windfall of clandestine reporting occurred in the 1960s, the principal source materials demonstrating growing Sino-Soviet discord had been the many (unclassified) broadcasts, speeches, and articles that Beijing and Moscow had published over the years, haranguing one another indirectly by criticizing third parties or citing supposed historical precedents. The analysts out front in appreciating this growing estrangement were those officers who immersed themselves in this vast body of materials and were able to decode the respective polemics. Some read these materials in the original Russian or Chinese; others relied on the excellent publishing by FBIS (and the British) of daily translations and occasional analyses.

But knowledge of Chinese-Russian history was the primary factor convincing these analysts that a break was brewing: they recognized that the Chinese Communists had come to power largely unaided by Moscow and, at times, despite it. These officers' conviction that China was a wholly unique phenomenon within the Communist world stemmed from their appreciation of the many clashes of interests that had marked Chinese-Russian relations over the years.

Continuing Chinese anger at Russia for having taken enormous territories from China in years past was central to Sino-Soviet controversy. CIA's heretics were aware that there had been numerous border wars beginning as far back as the 17th century; that tsarist Russia had acquired over 500,000 square miles of territory claimed by China and that this had dismayed successive Chinese officials--imperial, Nationalist, and Communist--who alike referred to the Russians disdainfully as "long noses"; that after Russia's new Bolshevik government had in 1919 disowned previous unequal treaties, it had proceeded to make Mongolia a Soviet satellite, a territory of more than 1 million square miles; and that at the close of World War II the Soviet Union not only had regained East Asian assets it had lost to Japan in 1905 (Port Arthur, Dairen, and railroad rights in Manchuria), but also had then looted Manchuria and heightened the USSR's covert influence in China's northwestern province of Sinkiang. 44 Chinese anger on these scores was mirrored in 1954, when China published a geography book showing Mongolia as still part of China and picturing the huge areas Russia had wrested from China by "unequal treaties." 45

Another prime source of discord, known to those familiar with Russian-Chinese history, was the disdainful manner in which the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) had often treated the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over the years. Trying to fashion the CCP in its own image, the CPSU had pushed the fledgling Chinese Communists into disastrous urban rebellions in the 1920s and early 1930s. Mao later claimed that, as a result of those disasters, the Chinese Red Army, "which in 1929 was comprised of 300,000 fighters, was reduced by 1934-35 to 25,000, and the territory which made up the (Communist) regions of China was reduced by 99 percent." 46 In addition to suborning Chinese Communist officers, Moscow had purged Soviet officials believed to be too close to the Chinese. The USSR had lent the CCP some support over the years, but it had given Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese far more military assistance than it had provided to Mao's forces. Chiang's Whampoa Military Academy had depended heavily on Soviet advisers. And the operational leadership of Chiang's subsequent triumphant northern expedition in the mid-1920s was "almost completely in the hands of [Soviet] General Bleucher." 47

By 1940, in China's war with Japan, thanks to active Soviet military support of Chiang, Soviet pilots destroyed 986 Japanese planes. According to Soviet author A. A. Martynov, "more than 100 Soviet hero-pilots . . . were killed in these battles." 48 At the close of World War II, the Soviets did turn over great quantities of former Japanese arms to the Chinese Communists, but in 1945-46 Chinese Nationalist forces acquired far greater quantities of captured Japanese arms--twice as many rifles, six times as many machineguns, and 10 times as many artillery pieces. 49 Stalin had been far more concerned with the strategic security of Siberia than with brotherly ties to the CCP. At Yalta, the Soviet Union bound itself by formal treaty to Chiang Kai-shek's government, and then continued its diplomatic recognition of that government until the Soviet treaty with Mao was signed in early 1950, four months after the People's Republic of China had been created.


Bitter Negotiations

Considerable friction had surrounded the consummation of the 1950 Soviet-Chinese alliance. The negotiations were long and bitter; the Chinese resisted some of Moscow's demands, and Stalin treated Mao badly. In January 1950, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson told the National Press Club that the USSR was trying to annex parts of China. 50 A few days, later Acheson noted privately that in Moscow Mao was said to be "highly dissatisfied with attempted exactions on China"; that it was rumored that Chou En-lai had told the Soviet delegation he "would resign rather than accede" to Russian demands; and that the Kremlin was seeking to introduce Soviet "advisers" into China whose real aim would be to penetrate the CCP and bring the "Chinese party and government apparatus completely under Stalinist control." 51

Since that time, considerable testimony has verified the view that those negotiations were indeed bitter. N. T. Federenko, Stalin's interpreter, recalled that "The very room where the talks were held was like a stage where a demonic show was being acted out. When Stalin walked in, everyone seemed to stop breathing, to freeze. He brought danger, an atmosphere of fear." 52 And we now know Mao complained in 1956 to P.F. Yudin, the USSR's Ambassador in Beijing, that for some time during his stay in Moscow in 1950:

 Stalin refrained from any meetings with me. From my side, there was an attempt to phone him in his apartment, but they responded to me that Stalin is not home. . . . All this offended me. . . and I decided to undertake nothing further and to wait it out at the dacha. Then an unpleasant conversation took place with [I.V.] Kovalev and [N.T.] Federenko, who proposed that I go on an excursion around the country. I sharply rejected this proposal and responded that I prefer "to sleep through it at the dacha." 53

CIA's heretics had noted many signs of growing Sino-Soviet discord well before the receipt of excellent clandestine reporting in the 1960s. Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Beijing published Maoist pretensions to ideological and policy leadership of the Communist world. 54 In 1956, Chinese anger was evident concerning Khrushchev's de-Stalinization and the USSR's suppression of Polish and Hungarian protests against Soviet rule. In 1957, one reason Mao's "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom" experiment proved so brief was that it produced widespread, embarrassing criticisms of the Soviets. It was likewise known that, by 1958-59, numerous sharp differences of view had arisen on a number of subjects: Beijing's commune and Great Leap Forward programs; China's shelling of the Nationalist-held offshore islands, undertaken without Moscow's prior knowledge; possible Chinese acquisition of nuclear weapons; Khrushchev's beginning moves toward better relations with the United States; and, especially, Mao's boast that China could survive a nuclear war. In May 1958 Mao said:

 If war breaks out, it is unavoidable that people will die. We have seen wars kill people. Many times in China's past half the population has been wiped out. . . . We have at present no experience with atomic war. We do not know how many must die. It is better if one-half are left, the second best is one-third. . . . After several five-year plans [China] will then develop and rise up. In place of the totally destroyed capitalism we will obtain perpetual peace. This will not be a bad thing. 55

For US intelligence analysts, awareness of manifold Sino-Soviet differences became much clearer in 1960, when the USSR suddenly pulled out all its advisers from China, over and above the breakthrough in documented evidence of sharp discord. Thus, by the end of 1960, the long-held views of CIA's heretics had at last begun to be verified. The journey there had not been an easy one.


Internal Disagreement

This staff [OCI's SSSG] compiled the data that permitted CIA to lead the way-against furious opposition elsewhere-in charting the strategic conflict between Soviet and Chinese styles of dictatorship and doctrine that was basic to the definitive split in 1960.

 Ray S. Cline 56

By contrast with those officers steeped in Chinese history, some other CIA officers maintained that the indirect indications of Sino-Soviet discord should not be overestimated. These officers tended to be either those steeped in the study of Communist theory and the USSR or certain senior generalists whose broad responsibilities prevented them from immersing themselves in trying to decode Sino-Soviet polemics and who were reluctant to go out on a limb against what had long been conventional wisdom, including the wisdom of some of the country's most respected senior experts on Communist affairs.

CIA's Young Turks found themselves occasionally frustrated by conservative pressures within the Agency. In most cases in the late 1950s and early 1960s, these took the form of senior officers watering down drafts, leaving little in the way of sharp messages to consumers that Sino-Soviet discord was mounting. 57 Nor were bureaucratic pressures absent. The SSSG's Philip Bridgham told the author of this article that on one occasion, a senior person in a competing office had sought unsuccessfully to have the SSSG disbanded. 58 According to another interviewee, an analyst who refused to recant his Sino-Soviet heresy was given a negative fitness report and left that office. 59

Nowhere in CIA were opposing views on Sino-Soviet relations more sharply exchanged, however, than those between a small special group of senior analysts chosen by the DCI explicitly for their knowledge of Communist theory and Soviet affairs, and a few heretics from OCI, ONE, and other offices. In one such meeting in 1960, the exchanges back and forth across the table took the following form.

The senior experts on Communism:

"You guys who think there's a lot of growing Sino-Soviet discord simply have 19th-century minds."

The heretics:

"What do you mean by that?"

"You think the matter between the Soviet Union and China is one largely of clashing national interests."


"Well, you're wrong. You don't appreciate the fact that in Communist theory a differentiation is made between what are considered antagonistic contradictions and nonantagonistic contradictions. What we have in the present Sino-Soviet case are non-antagonistic contradictions. That's why you guys with 19th-century minds are wrong."

"Well, at least that's better than having 13th-century minds." 60

As we all subsequently learned, in 1969 these supposedly nonantagonistic contradictions came to include firefights and loss of life along China's borders with the USSR. 61

For some years beyond 1963, a few CIA officers still held that Sino-Soviet discord was a fraud, deliberately orchestrated by Moscow and Beijing to deceive the West. Most of those officers were members of CIA's Counterintelligence Staff, whose chief, James Angleton, had been convinced of such a view by a Soviet defector, Anatoly Golitzyn. That view nonetheless remained a minority interpretation within the Agency.


External Resistance

The most difficult hurdle for CIA's double demonologists was outside the Agency: it was the proclivity of many senior policymakers to brush off intelligence analyses of growing estrangement as being too theoretical, too inferential, and, for some years, too contrary to continuing outward signs of cooperative Soviet and Chinese policies. There were notable exceptions within the Department of State, some of whose officers argued themes similar to those of CIA's analysts. These State officials included Allen S. Whiting, Counselor; 62 Assistant Secretary of State Roger Hilsman; 63 Herbert Levin; 64 and Ambassador Marshall Green. 65 For the most part, however, policymakers lagged several years behind them and CIA's heretics. Here are a few examples of what the heretics in CIA and State were long up against:

  • Walt Rostow, 1954: We see no signs of incipient Titoism; we see much that makes it most unlikely in the foreseeable future. 66
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Walter Robertson, 1958: Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese Communist leaders are wholly dedicated to the cause of international Communism under the leadership of Moscow. They slavishly follow the twists and turns of Moscow-directed orthodoxy. 67
  • Vice President Nixon, 1959: The Vice President asked whether there was any dissenting opinion in the IC on whether there was a real strain in the relations between the USSR and China. Was there, for example, any opinion that Khrushchev might be seeking to build up the appearance of differences between the two countries? 68
  • President Eisenhower, 1960: [President Chiang Kai-shek] said it is impossible for the Chinese Communists to split from the Soviet Russians. He stated emphatically that the Communist bloc works as a bloc, pursues a global scheme, and no party to the bloc can take independent action. . . . President Eisenhower rejoined that he found nothing in President Chiang's exposition with which he differed. . . . President Eisenhower said that during the past seven or eight months he had made several trips and had talked with a number of world leaders. He said that that none of them sees a split being created between Soviet Russia and Communist China. 69
  • Vice President Nixon and Defense Secretary Thomas Gates, 1960: The Vice President asked whether [DDCI] General Cabell was completely sure there was a real difference of view between the USSR and Communist China. Secretary Gates wished to make the same inquiry . . . 70
  • John McCone [Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission], 1960: [Mr. McCone] said that he took the schism between the Chinese and the Russians with a grain of salt. 71
  • Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, 1962: Though I agree with the basic line of NIE 11-5-62, I believe it somewhat exaggerates the likelihood of a Sino-Soviet break, and I consider this borne out by events since the paper was written. Similarly, I believe it underestimates the possibilities of at least temporary accommodation between the two parties. 72
  • Cable from Ambassador George Kennan, Belgrade, 1963: [Marshal Tito] stressed tremendous importance in his eyes of assuring that international Communist movement should not come under influence of Chinese whose position on problem of war and coexistence he described as literally insane. . . . In general he professed inability understand our underestimation of momentous importance of Chinese-Russian rift . . . 73
  • DCI John McCone, 1963: Mr. McCone added that, although the differences between the Russians and the Chinese are very great, he did not think they were very deep or that a final break between the two powers would occur. 74
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Measuring CIA's Impact

The United States, in fact, owes the men and women [analysts] of the CIA an extraordinary debt-. See [the SSSG's] Harry Gelman, "The Sino-Soviet Conflict: A Survey," in Problems of Communism, March-April 1963, Vol. XIII; and [the SSSG's] Donald Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet Conflict, 1956-1961, Princeton, 1962, on both of whom I have drawn heavily.

 --Former Assistant Secretary of State Roger Hilsman 75

Until about 1963, most of CIA's double demonologists shared a general conviction that they were breaking their lances and that no one up the line was listening. But what I and many of the other CIA heretics did not know was that our products, plus growing signs of Sino-Soviet estrangement, were having a somewhat greater impact among upper-level CIA officials than we realized.

By and large, midlevel Agency officers were unaware that, by 1959-60, DCI Dulles and other top CIA officers were not only alerting the NSC that Sino-Soviet discord was for real, but also were standing their ground against lingering suspicions among some senior US officers that Sino-Soviet "discord" was an orchestrated fraud. Some of CIA's heretics were aware that, by the early 1960s, a few senior State Department officers had become convinced of Sino-Soviet estrangement. Some former State officers attest that they regularly read and were influenced by CIA's Sino-Soviet analyses and that they kept in touch with the Agency's authors. 76 In 1961, Roger Hilsman, at the time Director of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, set up a special studies group on Sino-Soviet relations. 77 Also in 1961, the Office of the Secretary of Defense set up a similar Sino-Soviet studies group and borrowed the SSSG's Philip Bridgham to serve as that unit's deputy director. 78 And in the spring of 1962, President Kennedy asked Ambassadors George Kennan, Chip Bohlen, and Llewellyn Thompson to comment on an NIE (11-5-62), which judged that Sino-Soviet relations were in a critical phase just short of an acknowledged and definitive split. 79

Despite those particular experts' doubts, by 1962 some policymakers were giving thought to how American policy might at long last take advantage of the historic break in Communist ranks. Roger Hilsman cites a record, written by James C. Thomson, of a Planning Meeting of the Secretary of State in January 1962:

 . . . all the powers of State appeared to focus for the first time on the reality of a permanent Sino-Soviet split. The impact on the minds around the table that morning was dramatic, and you could hear the ice of 12 years begin to snap and crackle as an intellectual thaw set in. I kept careful notes on that meeting and regard it as something of a turning point. One after another of State's operators and planners toyed with the new world of possibilities that non-monolithic Communism might offer the United States. 80

And, by 1963, public speeches of certain State Department officers contained signals of a possible US willingness to lessen the level of Sino-American hostility. 81

Those early initiatives came to naught at the time, due in important measure to the advent in late 1963 of a new US President, Lyndon Johnson, who quickly became overwhelmed by Vietnam. Before long, moreover, it began to look to many policymakers that China and the Soviet Union were cooperating in their support of Vietnam's Communists. This perpetuated the image of a monolithic bloc enemy and justified a central rationale for the US war effort: to stop "Communism" and so prevent an anticipated domino collapse of the rest of Southeast Asia. It was not until the late 1960s that top US policymakers (Nixon and Dr. Henry Kissinger) began taking major steps to exploit what had become an open Sino-Soviet split.

By 1967, Nixon had come to the view that "American policy toward Asia must come urgently to grips with the reality of China . . . We simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates, and threaten its neighbors." 82 But it took later empirical military evidence to demonstrate that the Sino-Soviet split was for real: armed hostilities in 1969 between Soviet and Chinese border forces, threats (or bluffs?) by Moscow that it might suddenly launch nuclear strikes to destroy China's nuclear weapons facilities, and the beginnings of a massive buildup of Soviet armed strength along China's borders. 83

If it took open hostilities between the Soviet Union and China to help move a White House to make a radical change in US policy, what may be said of the impact, if any, that CIA's earlier Sino-Soviet analyses had had? Clearly, Agency authors had been in the field first, followed by State, then by certain authorities from academia, 84 and finally by the military. Further, the causes and depths of Sino-Soviet discord these CIA authors had decoded--especially their insistence that the root issue was the clash of state interests--were later confirmed by events, particularly Soviet-Chinese combat. Those early CIA analyses cannot take credit for having killed the long-held certainty of so many officials that the United States confronted a united Communist bloc. In showing the way before 1963, however, CIA's heretics did help stir the beginnings of policy movement in the Department of State. And, at a minimum, they demonstrated the validity of patient analysis and the courage to contest conventional wisdom. Years later, CIA and other IC agencies were to make a more direct impact on decisionmaking through their all-source ability to document the buildups of Soviet and Chinese forces.

Overall, the Sino-Soviet story illustrates some facts of life ever-present in the intelligence business:

  • Policymakers carry their own NIEs around in their heads. These are experienced, often proud officers who are reluctant to give up previous assumptions and positions.
  • They can be especially reluctant to accept new images of reality on the say-so of midlevel officers from across the Potomac.
  • This applies particularly in situations where new intelligence judgments are not accompanied by hard evidence. In our case, CIA's heretics happened to be correct in their early analyses, but it was not until firmer evidence surfaced in the early 1960s that some impact began to be made; and it was not until a decade later that armed Sino-Soviet conflict convinced remaining doubters--all those, that is, except for a few true believers.
  • Intelligence analysis, even the reading of tea leaves, can nonetheless have some influence up the line in situations where staff officers have done their homework sufficiently well to gain their intelligence superiors' confidence and backing.
  • Despite the great improvements of recent years in collection and analytic methods, in situations where firm data are not yet available, decoding and discerning new trends will require officers steeped in knowledge of what has gone before on the given questions.
  • Perhaps most important, the interplay of intelligence and decisionmaking often occurs in a highly charged setting of competing policy demands and the politically possible. In our case, major changes in China policy did not occur until the once-overwhelming US commitment in Vietnam had begun to diminish, and a Republican White House could approach our former Chinese enemies more easily than the Democrats--politically vulnerable for having "lost" China and been "soft on Communism"--could have done.

Finally, our Sino-Soviet story has meaning beyond that of filling in some of the historical record. Its events may be a generation old and a world apart from ours, but they continue to speak to today's intelligence problems. Since 1950, China has passed from being an uneasy junior partner of the USSR, to an enemy of the USSR, to a burgeoning power cooperating with the new Russia in certain respects benefiting each side's interests. Their two presidents have met cordially, at least outwardly; they have jointly pledged to try to reduce America's influence in the world; and Russia now makes considerable modern weaponry available to China. These two powers are highly unlikely to become formal allies again, but they remain the two great entities that in the future could seriously menace America's security. Hence, developments in that Sino-Soviet future will continue to require close, high-priority intelligence attention, plus the courage, where applicable, to challenge any outmoded assumptions.



Harold P. Ford held senior positions in both the National Intelligence Council and the Directorate of Operations.




1. Political Developments in the USSR and the Communist World, 21 February 1962. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XXII, Northeast Asia, pp. 207-208. (Hereafter FRUS).

2. FRUS, 1961-1963, Vol. XXII, Northeast Asia, pp. 231-232. President Kennedy had requested their comments on the NIE. FRUS, p. 231.

3. From Deng speech, 14 November 1960, at the Moscow conference of 81 Communist parties. As cited in CIA/Office of Current Intelligence Special Report, "The Men in the Sino-Soviet Confrontation," 5 July 1963, p. 2. On file in CIA's History Staff.

4. Notably the Foreign Documents Division (FDD); the Analytic Division of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS); the Sino-Soviet Studies Group of the Office of Current Intelligence (later the DDI's Special Research Staff); the staff of the Office of National Estimates (ONE); and, most important, DCIs and other senior Agency officers who periodically briefed the NSC. In the late 1950s, the present author, then a staff member of ONE, joined the efforts of other CIA officers who for some time had been producing the heretical judgment that the Soviet and Chinese Communist Parties were out of sync.

5. Communist China, 6 December 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 740.

6. On file in the History Staff. The author is indebted to Avis Boutell, Janet Grefe, and Edith Ferrell for making available most of the FDD/FBIS materials cited in this article.

7. 6 September 1953. Bridgham, to author, 5 October 1996. On file in the History Staff. A revised version of this study was published in The China Quarterly (October-December 1972), pp. 670-698, under the revised title, "Mao's Road and Sino-Soviet Relations: A View from Washington, 1953."

8. The China Quarterly, p. 681.

9. Ibid., p. 670.

10. 17 May 1954. On file in the History Staff.

11. On file in the History Staff.

12. In particular, see FBIS's Radio Propaganda Report, "The Sino-Soviet Argument: Moscow Intensifies Pressure for Conformity; Peking Shows No Retreat from Basic Positions," 30 September 1960. On file in the History Staff.

13. Ray S. Cline, Secrets, Spies, and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA (Washington, DC: Acropolis Books, Ltd., 1976), pp. 149-151; and Walter P. Southard, to author, 27 December 1996 and 12 May 1997. Cline, the first chief of the SSSG, later became the CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence. Southard was the principal substantive officer of the SSSG and of its successor, the DDI's Special Research Staff.

14. Cline, Secrets, Spies, and Scholars, p. 151. Also Southard, to author, 27 December 1996 and 12 May 1997; Gelman, to author, 17 December 1996; Bridgham, to author, 5 October 1996 and 25 March 1997; Cohen, to author, 26 December 1996; and Chester Cooper, to author, 3 October 1996.

15. Mao Zedong waijiao wenxuan [Secret Diplomatic Papers of Mao Zedong} (Beijing: The Central Press of Historical Documents, 1933); as reprinted in "The Emerging Disputes Between Beijing and Moscow, Ten Newly Available Chinese Documents, 1956-1958." Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issues 6-7, winter 1995-1996 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), p. 151. (Hereafter Wilson Center).

16. Esau 1959, OCI No. 2769/59, 12 June 1959. All the Esau studies this article cites are on file in the History Staff.

17. Esaus II-1959 through VI-1959, passim.

18. Memorandum for [DDI] R. A. Amory, Jr., "Meeting of DDI Ad Hoc Committee on Sino-Soviet Relations," 21 December 1959. On file in the History Staff. That committee included representatives of the SSSG, ONE, FBIS, FDD, and ORR.

19. Zagoria shortly thereafter left CIA for a career in academia.

20. Philip Bridgham, to author, 5 October 1996.

21. As part of his efforts, in early 1961 Cooper arranged for an OCI and an ONE officer to accompany him on temporary duty abroad to compare CIA's Sino-Soviet findings with those of the intelligence services of two European countries. From the author's experience as the ONE officer who accompanied Cooper.

22. ONE Staff Memorandum No. 47-58, 20 November 1958. On file in the History Staff.

23. Memorandum for the Board, "Sino-Soviet Relationship," 18 September 1959. On file in the History Staff.

24. Staff Memorandum No 45-59: "Chinese Communist Politics and Sino-Soviet Relations," 13 October 1959. On file in the History Staff.

25. From manuscript, "The Separation of Soviet and Chinese Societies," prepared during a 1961-1962 sabbatical year at St. Antony's College, Oxford University. Part of that study was later reprinted in "Modern Weapons and the Sino-Soviet Estrangement," The China Quarterly, April-June, 1964.

26. 10 July 1964, as cited in Raymond L. Garthoff, "Sino-Soviet Military Relations, 1945-66," chapter in Garthoff (ed.), Sino-Soviet Military Relations (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966), p. 90.

27. Smith, "Sino-Soviet Discord on the Eve of the Summit," 10 May 1960. On file in the History Staff. Smith was referring to Beijing's historic Red Flag article, "Long Live Leninism," of 15 April 1960. Because that article criticized only Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito by name, many observers at the time doubted that the publishing of "Long Live Leninism" meant that Sino-Soviet relations had hit a new low. In his memoirs, published years later, senior Chinese official Bo Yibo states emphatically that the target of the article was the USSR. Reprinted in Wilson Center, p. 230.

28. Kent memorandum, "The Sino-Soviet Dispute," 9 November 1960. On file in the History Staff.

29. NIE 58, 4 September 1952, "Relations Between the Chinese Communist Regime and the USSR: Their Present Character and Probable Future Courses." On file in the History Staff.

30. NIE 13-56, Chinese Communist Capabilities and Probable Courses of Action Through 1960, 5 January 1956. FRUS, 1955-1957, Vol. III, China, p.232.

31. NIE 13-57, Communist China Through 1961, 19 March 1957. FRUS, 1955-1957, Vol. III, China, p. 498.

32. NIE 13-59, Communist China, 28 July 1959. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, pp. 579-580.

33. NIE 100-3-60, Sino-Soviet Relations, 9 August 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 704.

34. Communist China, FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 740.

35. As charged in subsequent [Beijing] People's Daily-Red Flag joint editorial of 6 September 1963, as cited in Harry Gelman, "The Conflict: A Survey," Problems of Communism, Vol. XIII (March-April, 1964), p. 9. John Whitman recalled that during 1960 excellent clandestine reports on Sino-Soviet differences hit his desk in ONE "almost daily." Whitman, to author, 4 February 1997.

36. NIE 13-63, Problems and Prospects in Communist China," 1 May 1963. FRUS 1961-1963, Vol. XXII, Northeast Asia, p. 366.

37. Briefing of 10 December. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, pp. 639-640.

38. Briefing of 28 April. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 663.

39. Memorandum of Discussion at the 448th Meeting of the NSC, 22 June 1960. FRUS, 1959-1960, Vol. XIX, China, pp. 690-691.

40. 7 September 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, pp. 719-720. As we have seen, in July the Soviets had already begun to pull their support experts out of China.

41. 20 October 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 730.

42. 8 December 1960. FRUS, 1958-1969, Vol. XIX, China, p. 742.

43. Southard to author, 12 May 1997. Southard was a Naval Intelligence officer stationed in China, 1945-1948. Years later, Huang Hua became China's foreign minister and its Representative to the UN.

44. "Because of Stalin's pressure, the Northeast [Manchuria] and Xinjiang became [a Soviet] sphere of influence, and four jointly owned and operated enterprises were established." From Mao's minutes of conversation with Soviet Ambassador Yudin, 22 July 1958, in which Mao told Yudin that "You [Russians] have never had faith in the Chinese people, and Stalin was among the worst. . . . Stalin. . . . opposed our carrying out the revolution. He made a huge mistake on this issue." As reprinted in Wilson Center, p., 155. Beijing later publicly accused the Soviet Union of fomenting large-scale subversion and sabotage in Sinkiang, and warned the Soviets not to "dare to stretch out their evil hands" to that province. Hsinhua News Agency dispatch, 28 April 1964; as cited in An Tai Sung, The Sino-Soviet Territorial Dispute (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1973), pp. 78, 232.

45. Harrison Salisbury, War Between Russia and China (New York: W.W. Norton, 1969), p. 132.

46. From Soviet Ambassador P.F. Yudin, record of conversation with Mao, 31 March 1956, as cited in Wilson Center, p. 164. Later in 1956, Mao made similar remarks to a Yugoslav Communist delegation, claiming that this disastrous course of the 1920s-early 1930s had in large part been the result of the then-dominance of the CCP by Wang Ming, whose policies, Mao told the Yugoslav officials, had "originated in Stalin." From minutes of Mao's conversation with those officials, September 1956, as cited in Wilson Center, p. 149. Wang Ming, known also as Chen Shaoyu, had spent considerable time in the USSR before returning to China in 1930, where he then became a leading member of the CCP. Mao did not come to dominate the Party until 1935.

47. James C. Bowden, "Soviet Military Aid to Nationalist China, 1923-1941," chapter in Raymond L. Garthoff, Sino-Soviet Military Relations (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966), p. 50.

48. Martynov, The Glorious National Liberation Army of China. (Moscow, 1957), pp. 6-7, as cited in Bowden pp. 54, 257.

49. Lt. Col. Robert Rigg, Red China's Fighting Hordes (Harrisburg, PA., 1952), p. 276.

50. The New York Times, 13 January 1950.

51. Cable to Ambassador David Bruce in Paris, 11 February 1950. FRUS, 1950, Vol. VII, Korea, pp. 308-309. See also C. L. Sulzberger, "Vast Issues Face Peiping, Moscow," The New York Times, 14 January 1950.

52. "The Stalin-Mao Summit in Moscow," Far Eastern Affairs (Moscow), No. 2, 1989, pp. 135, 137, 140; as cited in Sergei N. Goncharov, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War (Stanford University Press, 1993), p. 210.

53. From P. F. Yudin, record of conversation with Mao Tse-tung, 5 April 1956, as reprinted in Wilson Center, p. 165.

54. We have since learned that, according to the memoirs of Khrushchev, on returning from a trip to China in 1954 he warned his colleagues that "conflict between us and China is inevitable." From "Memuary Nikity Sergeyeicha Khrushcheva," Voprosy istorii 11-12 (1992), p. 66, as cited by William Taubman, "Khrushchev vs. Mao: A Preliminary Sketch of the Role of Personality in the Sino-Soviet Split." Wilson Center (Issues 8-9, Winter 1996/1997), p. 243.

55. Mao, "Second Speech to Second Session, Eighth Party Congress," 17 May 1958, as cited in Allen S. Whiting, "The Sino-Soviet Split," in Roderick Macfarquhar and John K. Fairbank (eds.), The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 14, The People's Republic, Part I, The Emergence of Revolutionary China 1949-1965 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 488-489.

56. Secrets, Spies, and Scholars, p. 151.

57. In late 1959, some of ONE's Board members were reluctant to buy the ONE staff's recommendation that new difficulties in the Sino-Soviet relationship warranted laying on an NIE on that subject, and in the subsequent interagency coordinating process insisted that the draft judgments of the Estimate (NIE 100-3-60) be watered down. The author was the initial drafter of that Estimate.

58. Bridgham, to author, 5 October 1996 and 25 March 1997.

59. That officer, to author, 28 December 1996. The officer transferred to another part of the Agency, where he was respected and given sensitive senior responsibilities.

60. The author was a participant. It is Chester Cooper's view that the above particular doubters had "a vested interest in holding the line on the world Communist threat," and for a long time the stand-patters held that Sino-Soviet discord was a fraud. Cooper, to author, 9 October 1996.

61. Nine series of armed clashes occurred, March to May 1969, along the Manchuria-Siberia and Sinkiang-Kazakhstan borders.

62. Whiting, to author, 19 October 1996.

63. Hilsman, To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc, 1967), pp. 355-356.

64. Levin, to author, 25 October 1996.

65. Green, to author, 24 February 1997.

66. The Prospects for Communist China (Published jointly by the Technology Press of MIT and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York: 1954), p. 216.

67. Robertson, Memorandum to Acting Secretary of State Herter, 1 August 1958. FRUS, 1958-1860, Vol. XIX, China, p. 36.

68. Editorial Note: From Memorandum by Marion W. Boggs of the 428th meeting of the NSC, 10 December 1959. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 640.

69. From Memorandum of Conversation, Taipei, 18 June 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 679.

70. From Memorandum of Discussion at the 448th meeting of the NSC, 22 June 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 690.

71. Editorial Note of the 464th meeting of the NSC, 20 October 1960. FRUS, 1958-1960, Vol. XIX, China, p. 730. Chester Cooper recalls that in the early 1960s, the SSSG's Bud Southard, ONE's John Whitman, and he briefed Ambassadors Llewellyn Thompson and Chip Bohlen on the growing nature of Sino-Soviet discord, but that these distinguished experts' response was that they were "not convinced." Cooper, to author, 6 December 1996. Former State Department Counselor Allen Whiting also attests that Ambassador Bohlen was skeptical of significant Sino-Soviet discord. Whiting, to author, 19 October 1996.

72. Editorial Note re Thompson telegram 3070 from Moscow, 26 May 1962. FRUS, 1961-1963, Vol. XXII, Northeast Asia, p. 231.

73. Telegram 15 March 1963. FRUS, 1961-1963, Vol. XVI, Yugoslavia, pp. 337, 338.

74. Summary Record of 516th meeting of the NSC, 31 July 1963. FRUS, 1961-1963, Vol. XXII, China, p. 373.

75. To Move a Nation, p. 357.

76. Amb. Richard Solomon, to author, 11 October 1996; Amb. William Gleysteen, to author, 24 February 1997; former State Department Counselor Allen S. Whiting, to author, 19 October 1996; Herbert Levin, to author, 25 October 1996; and Paul Kreisberg, to author, 26 October 1996.

77. Allen S. Whiting, to author, 19 October 1996.

78. Bridgham, to author, 5 October 1996. Bridgham later returned to CIA duty.

79. Earlier, according to Bud Southard, a study prepared by his SSSG, "The State of Interbloc Relations," was on President Kennedy's desk the first day of his presidency. Southard, to author, 27 December 1996.

80. To Move a Nation, p. 344. According to former State Department official Herbert Levin, "to State Department China types like myself, the ideas of a Sino-Soviet monolith and full cooperation between the USSR and the PRC were ridiculous." Levin, to author, 25 October 1996.

81. Amb. Marshall Green, to author, 24 February 1997. Roger Hilsman was a prominent actor in these respects; see his To Move a Nation, passim.

82. "Asia After Vietnam," Foreign Affairs, Vol. XLVI (October 1967), p. 121.

83. Soon after the 1969 firefights, both the USSR and China produced propaganda films giving their respective versions of those hostilities. CIA obtained copies of those films. It was difficult for even an American viewer (myself included) not to walk away from the Chinese version without harboring an intense hatred of the Russians; conversely, the same for the Russian version-disturbing confirmation, for any latter-day doubters, of the reality and intensity of Sino-Soviet discord.

84. Prominent among these were M.I.T.'s William Griffith, the RAND Corporation's Alice L. Hsieh, and British authors G. F. Hudson, Roderick MacFarquhar, and Edward Crankshaw.



Historical Document
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