(i) The Chinese Communist threat. We would like an American assessment of the likelihood and implications of China obtaining a nuclear capacity, either under her own control or provided by the Russians. Recent Moscow statements appear greatly to increase the likelihood of retaliation in kind if nuclear weapons are used against China. If this is so existing S.E.A.T.O. military concepts (and possibly also the military plans of the United States itself) would be profoundly affected. S.E.A.T.O. plans assume that we will be able to knock out Chinese air capability at an early stage and that we will retain the capacity to reduce Chinese land forces to manageable proportions by nuclear attack. In the field of disarmament, the fact that China is not in the present inspection zone would be an added problem if she were in the possession of nuclear weapons.
[NAA: A1838, TS695/5/5]