130 Joint Intelligence Committee Appreciation 5/1949

Extracts [1] MELBOURNE, 15 July 1949 [2]



INTRODUCTION As requested by minute dated 16th May, 1949, we have prepared for the information of the Joint Planning Committee an Appreciation on the above subject.


2. To determine the most likely employment of Sino-Soviet forces in south-east Asia in the event of war.


3. The whole of China is under Communist control.

4. The U.S.S.R. is the only major power with whom the Western Powers can

become involved in war in the foreseeable future.

5. The aim of the U.S.S.R., unlike that of Germany and Japan in the late war, does not necessarily envisage territorial or economic gains as final objectives, but as stepping stones for the promotion of world communism.

6. The U.S.S.R. will not resort to military action as long as her aims continue to be accomplished by the exploitation of indigenous communist parties, minorities, disaffected elements, and the manipulation of international organisations.

7. The Soviet's general war plan will be to fight a full scale aggressive war on her western and southern fronts with the object of overrunning Europe-including Great Britain-and the Middle East.

In the Far East, she win ensure the security of her Eastern and South Eastern frontiers using only the forces which can be made available without prejudice to her operations in the main theatres.

8. In war, Communist China will be an active ally of the U.S.S.R.


9. Chinese nationalism, while allied to the over-riding communist aim, also seeks to extend the sphere of influence of China throughout South East Asia.

10. In South East Asia, indigenous communist parties, certain schismatic nationalist movements, and the Chinese minorities overseas, will lend support to, and receive assistance from, the Communist cause.

11. The strengths of Communist forces, which are at present disposed in the Far East, will be those available for operations in this theatre.

[matter omitted] [4]


59. Primarily the Soviet's Far Eastern objective will be to ensure the security of her eastern and south-eastern frontiers. The Soviet leaders will consider that with the forces available to them this can best be achieved by [an offensive] [5] against Japan and the Ryukyus.

60. The requirements of her primary objective satisfied, any forces not required

for it, will become available for operations in South East Asia.

61. The Chinese primary objective will be the spreading of communism to, and

the increase of Chinese influence through, South East Asia. The Chinese leaders will consider that with the forces available to them this can best be achieved by an offensive southward from the southern Chinese border. This will fit in with Russian ideas.

[matter omitted] [6]

74. The object of the Chinese land forces will be to overrun the mainland of South East Asia with a view to:

(a) setting up puppet governments sympathetic to Chinese Communism.

(b) disrupting the economy of South East Asia and cutting off rice supplies to India and other non rice areas.

(c) denying the bases and resources of South East Asia to the Western Powers.

(d) tying down Western forces.

[matter omitted] [7]

1 The extracts correspond to those sections cited by Moodie as being particularly objectionable to External Affairs opinion. See Moodie's minute to Burton dated 21 July 1949 in which Moodie notes also that the appreciation 'is being created purely as a service paper'.

2 The final version of the appreciation is dated 2 August 1949 and is on file AA:A816/27, 14/301/393.

3 The final version, has an additional sentence here: '(At best, she may remain neutral with a hostile bias towards the Allies)'.

4 The omitted material concerns the strengths of Soviet forces in the Far East and of Chinese communist and pro-communist forces in south-east Asia.

5 IN final version words in square brackets are replaced by 'attacks'.

6 The omitted material estimates the likely allocation of Sino- Soviet forces in south-east Asia.

7 The omitted material continues the estimate of allocation of forces and considers the likely use of fifth column forces in south-east Asia.

The appreciation was noted by the Joint Planning Committee on 18 July 1949 (minute 466) for use as a background paper in discussions on regional defence arrangements with the visiting UK planning team (see Documents 107 and 109). The Committee directed that copies of the appreciation be forwarded also to the heads of the UK and NZ liaison staffs, Pizey and Duff respectively.

[AA:A1068/7, DL47/5/1A]