SOVIET REACTIONS TO POSSIBLE UNITED STATES ACTIONS ON ANTARCTICA (SNIE 11-3-58)

Created: 2/11/1958

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER

SOVIET REACTIONS TO POSSIBLE UNITED STATES ACTIONS ON ANTARCTICA

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DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

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SOVIET REACTIONS TO POSSIBLE UNITED STATES ACTIONS ON ANTARCTICA

THE PROBLEM

To estimate Soviet present intentions and their reactions to:

The assertion of US territorial claims in Antarctica accompanied orS callonference of interested states to discuss andreatyultinational regime for Antarctica.

A US call foronference, without assertion of US claims.

ASSUMPTIONS

the US mayerritorial claim to the unclaimed portions ofand reserve its rights and possibly make claims in other areas.

That the US may invite other states having an interest in the Antarctic (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, UK and USSR) to join inegime in Antarctica for:

and facilitationcooperation in the fieldactivity for the maximumof mankind.

development,conservation of the naturalthe region, in the general interest.

c. Insuring through effective measures that thc region be used for peacefulonly.

To this end, and without prejudice to any claims asserted by claimants, the US mayonference of the states listed above to draft in treatytatute for the proposed regime. Signature of this treaty would not prejudice existing claims, or oblige signers to transfer full sovereignty to the regime. However, it might be proposed to freeze thc status quo to the extent of prohibiting changes in exisUng claims or the assertions of new claims. The resulting regime would assume jurisdiction and control in the fields provided by the treaty, and submit reports from time to time to appropriate bodies of thc UN. With respect to the

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of economic and scientificit would be provided that thc regime would treat member stales and non-member stales and their nationalsasis of equulily.

ublic announcement of the proposed actions would be made around the mid-

dleo enable interested countries to make plans for the period following the International Geophysical Year (IGY) within the frameworkommonIt is contemplated that such anwould be preceded bywith non-Bloc countries and organizations.

SUMMARY

current Soviet effort in theis impressive in size. We believe the program isariety ofpolitical and psychological, as well as economic andajor interest, however, is scientific, and is part of the long established and long-range Soviet program of research in the earth sciences. It is also specificallyto current problems in such fields as electronic communications, weather forecasting and control, etc. We believe the Soviets will remain in the Antarctic after the IGY.

We believe the USSR, following its established policy, would not recognize any US claims, whether or not coupledallonference toultinational regime for the area. We think it unlikely that the USSR willa specific territorial claim, preferring the freedom resulUngeservation of all rights.

If the USlaim and the USSR had not, the Soviets probably would not accept an invitation toonference, particularly if the proposal attempted to freeze out further claims. Thc Soviets mightroadened conference, or, more likely, propose UN discussion,they could get some support from

nonclaimants. The chances of the USSR accepting such an invitation would beif it too hadlaim.

a conference were proposedhad been made by either the USUSSR, we believe the USSRattend, although theof any proposals regardingwould presentUSSR might alternativelydiscussion. The prospects ofactually taking part in athe area would depend on thewhich it was satisfied in its desiresaccess andtatusit could fully protect itsSoviets would not make theirononference ora regime on the basis ofrelating to the Antarctic alone,the basis of much widertheir posture and objectivesEast-West ncgoUations.

The USSR would probablyegime established without itsjust as it has ignored past claims, and would conUnue its activities.

We believe that thc Soviet leaders may feel that their interests in Antarctica would be best served by taking theand callingonference with a

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membership and agenda of their own more likely if they became aware of the choosing or proposing UN consideration nature of discussions in the US and else-of the Antarctic. Such action would be where.

DISCUSSION

PROBABLE SIGNIFICANCE OF ANTARCTICA TO THE USSR

Introduction. Current Soviel activities In thc Antarctic arearger scale than those of any other country except the US. They maintain five bases and are establishing one more during this year. (See attachedhc Soviet program, while identified wtth the International Geophysical Yearumber of scientific fields outside the IGY program, such as geology, mineral exploration, mapping, navigation studies, etc. From established bases and by ships, exploration of wide areas of theIs being undertaken. The scope and size ot the Soviet effort Is greater tlian would be required by such traditional interests as economic, political, and direct military needs. We believeajor concern is thcof scientific dataide variety of fields, including basic research.

Scientific Interests. The USSRong established and highly developedfor accumulating scientific data In all thc earth sciences including the geophysical fieldsrogramultitude of observationsong period and over wide areas. We believeajor cause for the extensive Soviet Antarctic activity is thc acquisition of data for this program while at the same time serving political and prestige needs. The results of such scientific research arc importantariety of fields of vitalto the USSR. For example, themay be an Important factor in global weather, including that of the Northern Hem ispherc. Long range forecasting Is ofto the Soviets as It relates to such matters as agricultural production inlands and the availability of the Northern Sea Route. Antarctic activities might also contribute to studies of weather control, in which lhe Soviets are taking an active interest.

Thereumber of other scientific fields ln which wc believe thc Sovieis will develop interests in the Antarctic. Including studies of thc upper atmosphere, of problems involved in electronic communications, and observations of satellite vehicles. The Soviets are planning to fire high-altitude rockets in the Antarctic for scientific research,cosmic ray observations. In connection with all the scientific efforts, we believe that the Soviets see major advantages in having their own observation posts in the Southern Hemisphere.

Strategic Interests. We have no evidence of current Soviet military Interest In thcbeyond the potential military value of the scientific and other data obtained. We do not know of any Soviet submarine or other military activities in the Antarctic area either In connection with the IGY program or" dependently. While it is possible that thewill develop an interest in using thefor missile testing, submarine andbasing, or as partilitarynet, we believe such possibilities to be unlikely. There Is also the possibility lhal the area will be of value in monitoring earthand space vehicles used forand other military missions

Economic Interests. Thc Soviets have been whaling in Antarctic watersnd this activity will Increase as new whalers and auxiliary ships now under construction are completed. In addition, results ofprospecting for minerals may possibly lead to increased Soviet interest In Antarctica. However, the difficulties of access, extraction and production are great. We do not believe that economic Interests will be an Important factor in Soviet decisions affecting the area.

olitical Interests To dale the USSR has neither made any territorial claims northc claims of any other power. The

official Soviet political position on Antarctica is embodied in Soviet notes to Norwaynd to the US, UK, France, Norway, Australia, Argentina, and New Zealandn which the USSR refused recognition of anyclaims, reserved its rights on theand asserted Its right to participate ln any political settlement, based on thc alleged discovery of the continent byoviet comment hasto these notes as evidence of their long interest In Antarctica, and now theand establishment of stations in the post two years can also be cited by them as evidence of their right to participateoliticalAll the Soviet stations are ln theclaimed by Australia, and exploration has to date also been concentrated there.future Soviet explorations in other areas, particularly on the coast of the unclaimed sector, are planned. The USSR has ignored the Australian claim, and asserts that thc "sector" principle which it applies in thcis inapplicable in the Antarctic.

IB. Extent of Recent Exploration. Thehave engaged In widespread exploration beginning inerial mapping and landings of smallandings) have supplemented the major landand the extensive sea explorations The SovieU are planning in the current year to explore along the shores of the unclaimed sector. Land expeditionsailed lo reach the South Geomagnetic Pole and the "Pole of Relativeulhave recently reached the formerand they are now en route to the latter, to establish bases atajor part of lhe current Soviet effort is the making of oceanographic and hydrographic surveys of the coasts of the continent.

resent USSR Intentions. Existingfor thc Interest of the USSR Inwill not end with the 1GY and It isthat Soviet activities in the area willinthcr than decreasen several occasions, including discussions of post-IGY activities. Soviet officials have stated thai thc USSR intends to remain active in Antarctica and to maintain at least some of Its present stations It seems clear thai the

USSR at present believes that its interests and prestige require It toosition in Antarctica at least equal to that of any other country.

is some evidenceossibleintention loermanentoperations. The Soviels have laidlaim by reserving their rights,lo recognize claims of otherand by their recent activities Inand settlement. Nevertheless, wethere Is little likelihood that theto make territorial claims underconditions. Soviet assertion of claimsareas in which they are operating,-claimed sector, would upsetquo under which currentproceeding harmoniously, and wouldimmediate dispute with Australia andother interested powers. Sovietof claims in the unclaimed areasndlongiludewould likewise probablythe harmony of the presentthe USSR has as yet nobasis for claim in the unclaimeddiscovery, exploration, orUSSR probably considers thc mostposition to be one of assertingclaims and reserving all Itssphere of operations would not beby its own actions and it woulda flexible position from-which itas its own immediate needs required.thus avoid and exploit disputespowers, while maintainingajor world power withbut no territorial aspirations in

II. ESTIMATE Of- PROBABLE SOVIETTO PROPOSED US INITIATIVES

the light of the above, wc believeSoviet reaction to any US moves onwould be determined both by adesire to assure theirlo the area, primarily for scientificand by considerations of generalpolilical posiUon. andThus Uieir reactions could beby events and situations wholly dis-

sociated from tho Antarctic. They might wish not to appear unreasonable in this matter lest their conduct prejudice other and morenegotiations. For example, it isthat the Soviets would modify an initial intransigent stand In order to heighten the picture of willingness to go half-way toward reducing possible East-West conflicts. In any event, for reasons of prestige as well asopportunity, the Soviets will continue to refuse to accept anything less than equal status in the Antarctic.

Soviel estimates of Western intentions will, in any case, be weighted with suspicion, particularly if Uiey leurn that priorhas been limited to Western countries. Furthermore, wc believe that the Soviets will be alert to seize opportunities to exacerbate Free World differences over Antarctica. The Soviets would estimate that the reactions of both claimant and nonclaimant countries to any proposal would provide somefor exploitation.

Soviet reactions to US claims accompanied or followed by the callonference. The Soviets would probably believe lhat the US was attempting both to expand andits position in Antarctica, and to minimize or possibly terminate Soviet activity in the area. The assertion of US claims woulda reversal of US policy ofof claims und probably would beby the USSRhreat to Its own freedom ofS claim, whether or not accompaniedallonference, would be portrayed by the USSR as anof American imperialism and disregard for the rights of others. Moreover, if the call for the conference came some time after the US had made its claim, the Kremlin would try to make il appear lhat the US hadunder Soviet pressure.

In cither case, the USSR would almost certainly not recognize the US claims, would reassert its refusal lo recognize all other claims, and would at least reserve its own rights. It is pouible that the Soviets wouldormal claim, probably not specifically to contradict thai of the US, but to demand and establish iccogmtion of its status as a

claimant. Any such Soviet claim would at least embrace all areas ll has explored to date (see attached map) with reservations of rights In all other areas. However, the advantages of non-recognition of all claims, and consequent lack of any recognized limits to Sovietwould probably lead the Soviets toto avoid any specific territorial claim.

Uie US hadlaim and thenot. the Soviets would probably notparticipate in thc conference lest theyto acquiesce in thc claims of Uieejection would be almostIf Uie callonferencereeze on claims In eitherUSSR would probably makereaUy broadened conferencelikely,N discussion based onof the non-recognition of allSoviets probably could marshalAsian and African opinionfrom such neutralist countries asfor the view Uiat nonclalmants werediscriminated against.ndiathat "The Question of AntaTcUca"on the provisional agenda of UieAssembly. The matter was notthat time, but India might be glad tosuch an item again to8 UNGA.

In the unlikely event that the USSR hadlaim prior to the call for aUie likelihood of Soviet participation would be considerably greater. Nevertheless. Soviet conduct atonference would probably be obstructionist unUl and unless it achieved the safeguards noted below asfor its participationegime.

Reactions to the proposalonference and international regime, without declaration of American claims. If thc conference were proposed without US assertion of claims, and with one of its stated objectives being the military neutralization of the area, the USSR might recognize the sincerity of the USand conclude that the West considered it impossible entirely to ignore thc Sovietin the area. In these circumstances, we believe the USSR would probably agree in principle to the proposal and attend thein thc belief lhat Its freedom of action

would not be impaired. The Soviets might, however, make the alternative proposal ol UN consideration ol the whole Antarctic question. An attempt to define neutralization either in thc proposal or in the conference in terms of the purposes for which military weapons, equipmenl, or personnel could be introduced would probably lead to protracted discussions, particularly if presented inay as to arouse Soviet suspicions of USowever, the Soviets might acceptunction of thc regime would be to determine from time to time whatwould be prohibited within the concept of neutralization.

rospects for the USSR actuallyegime would depend upon the extent to which the charter met their desires, especially those relating Lo sovereignty, the method of making decisions, and rights of access.sovereignty, thc USSR almostwould not agreeegime in which ittatus less than that of thc sevennow making claims. It would probably seek either recognition of its statusf it had made claims) or more probably the nullification of all claims.

'The Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, believes that the pc-nulUmate sentence should be replaced by the following: "Should an attempt be made, and persisted In, to modify the principle ofmilitary neutralization, as for example by an exception for weapons of primarily defensive characteristics, the USSR would undoubtedly suspect Western intentions and believe that the West meant loasis for introducing military forces into the Antarctic. II would so claim in iL' propaganda, and would Intensity Its UN or other international efforts In which It would expect to find stronger support. It would probably refuse to join the regime, and it Is at least possible that It might, inase,to develop military elements In Its own Installations similar to those It claimed the US intended to develop "

The Soviets would be most reluctant to agree to majority vote of the regime members, and would probably insist upon unanimous decisions. However, if the Soviels considered that their actual operations would not beto conirol by the regime, and particularly if world public opinion strongly favored the proposed regime, thc USSR might agree to participation eveneto right. Thc Soviets would probably have no problemaccess, since the regime wouldfreedom of access to all countries. In addition, thc Soviets would believe that there was little likelihood that any regime would attempt to eject them by force.

Soviet actions in the event of USSR non-participation in the international regime. The Soviets have ignored claims In theirin Antarctica, and will continue to do so after IGY. (The Australianastily offered after the Soviets expressed thc Intention to establish stations in their claim secior. was ignored by thef thc regime were established without Sovietit is probable that. In thc absence of effective regime sanctions, the Soviel Union would maintain bases, continueand carry out any operations which they thought important. They would! however, try to conceal any activities which might cause an adverse reaction in world opinion.

III. POSSIBLE SOVIET INITIATIVES

believe that the Soviet leadersthat their Interests in Antarcticabest served by taking theonference wtth aagenda of their own choosing orUN consideration of the Antarctic.would be more likely ifhe nature of discussions in theelsewhere.

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