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Gen. Vernon Walters on: Intelligence Estimates of the Chinese Communists
Gen. Vernon Walters WALTERS: In the summer of 1950, before I went to Korea or Wake Island, my job was to get all the intelligence briefings for Mr. Harriman and give them to him in shorter form than he would have to read 20 or 30 pages. And every day I would brief him on what I had been briefed.... It indicated that the Chinese were building up on theYalu the capability to intervene if they decided to do so. In early intelligence, the key piece of intelligence is not what do they have, it's what do they intend to do? And only human intelligence will give you that.

Q: The Russian Ambassador in Moscow said that he didn't think that the Russians were going to intervene. Didn't you have a sense at the time, there had been the signing of the Soviet pact just a few months before, did you have a sense at the time that the Chinese might act independently or if the Russians didn't want to intervene, that that meant the Chinese....

WALTERS: What we were afraid of is that the Russians would want to intervene with Chinese troops. So if the worse came to the worst, they would not be the target of the immediate reprisal. Regimes like that are very generous with the blood of others. But all the intelligence indicated, in fact, Mr. Truman began his discussion with MacArthur by saying, "All of our intelligence indicates that the Chinese are about to intervene."

Q: Are about to intervene or have the capability to intervene?

WALTERS: Are about to intervene.

Q: So we had some idea of their intentions at that point?

WALTERS: Well, you don't put 400,000 people somewhere and feed them and move them and supply them.... You know Chairman Mao's son was killed in Korea. He was one of the soldiers that was there. He was an officer but he was one of the ones that was killed. When you see the kind of buildup in the bases to fire these 156,000 shells a day, it's pretty indicating to you that they've just about made up the decision. They haven't given the word, but they've made the decision. When you see the artillery supplies being piled up, the food supplies being piled up, all the other supplies that an army needs to fight a war, when you see them being piled up close to the area, you've got to estimate that it's a serious possibility that they may use them.

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