Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maoist China viewed by US Intelligence, 1948-1976


National Intelligence Council Declassified Materials

This collection of declassified National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) is the first such release of analytical products exclusively on China. The inspiration for this undertaking came from National Intelligence Council (NIC) Chairman Ambassador Robert Hutchings and Herb Briick of CIA's Information Management Services (IMS). Upon reviewing outstanding requests for NIC documents received through Freedom of Information and Executive Order channels, both noted a critical mass of requests on China. The 71 documents in this collection—37 are available on this site as selected NIEs and all 71 are on a companion compact disk in their entirety—also include some Estimates which have been previously declassified and released either to individual requesters or as part of periodic voluntary releases undertaken by CIA's Historical Review Group.

The production of the collection was a joint effort by the NIC and IMS. Beginning in early 2004, a small team was formed on the staff of the DCI's Information Review Office. The team included three editors, all with analytic experience on China, who reviewed, selected, and declassified the documents, assisted on a part-time basis by two experts on the declassification process and a specialist on the electronic management of documents.

During the period 1948-1976, some 240 Estimates dealing in some degree or another with China were produced. Owing to time and space constraints, the editors made a representative selection from this total. The largest category not chosen was Estimates on the Communist Bloc as a whole. Most of these Estimates were devoted primarily to the Soviet Union, and many of them had already been released.

The editors' aim was to include Estimates that tracked the general trends of China's internal politics, foreign relations, national economy, and the growth of its military establishment. They also sought to cover the drama of the final stages of the Chinese civil war and the establishment of Communist rule in 1949, the new regime's first Five Year Plan of 1953-1957, Mao's principal ideological campaigns—the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—and the Sino-Soviet split. Aside from those on the Communist Bloc, only the most redundant or tactical Estimates or those on issues peripheral to China itself were not included.

Purchase a Hardcopy of "Tracking the Dragon: Selected National Intelligence Estimates on China, 1948-1976" (including the companion CD)
(GPO stock number 041-015-00239-2)

Visit the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Web site - China Collection for the full text of the 71 declassified China NIEs.

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