Created: 9/1/1957

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TITLE: Comparative Survey of Soviet and US Access to Published Information

AUTHOR: Joseph Beclcer




A collection ol articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol

All statements oi' fact, opinion or analysis expresseddies in Intelligence arc ihosc ol

ihc authors They do not necessarily reflect official posilions or views of (he Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Governmeni entity, pasi or present Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.



*Joseph Becker

In Intelligence we are not often able to catch the Soviets red-handedit of deception behind the scene. This occurred, however, earlyhen the Library of Congress discovered, attachedook which It had requested from the Tashkent Institute of Railwayopy of an Internal USSR Government memorandum signed by the Deputy Chief of Foreign Relations, Ministry of Railways, to the Chief of the Tashkent Institute granting the latter permission to send the book in question to the library of Congress, but suggesting that he request, inublication which the Institute needed. It further Instructed the Tashkent Institute tothe Administration of Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Railways concerning future requests received fromlibraries as well as the kinds of technical literature exchanged.'

Insignificant as this bureaucratic oversight was in the total scheme of things, It did tend to highlight the fact that the Sovietsontrolled program for requesting publication exchanges with the US and also revealed their interest In acquiring and using US publications-

Any US publication available to the American public Is also obtainable by the Soviets with little effort. During the lastears various committees within the US Government have tried to Introduce controls over unclassified information likely to be of strategic value to the USSR, but as yet no practical system has been developed which effectively denies US publishedto the Soviets while making the same data available to US

' CIA., Interest of the Ministry of Railways Of thein the Exchange of Technical Literatureontrolled Basis, IS AprU (Confidential)


researchers and schofcrs^and to^ur allies. On the other hand, Soviet publishing and distribution Is maintained under centralized control hihe Soviets classify, orlimit to administrative channels, much Information which the Free World normally releases In the public domain. This has naturally given rise to pressures in the US to Imposecontrols; but, thus far, no solution has been offered which does not also carry with it the stigma of censorship. The idea ofoncerted program forbidding publication of all but prescribed information in the US has been patently rejected as being in conflict with traditional American concepts of free exchange of Information.

Whereas in the US publishing is decentralized within the commercial book trade, Soviet publications are printed and distributed under direction from Moscow. Current Soviet publications are listed in the Enizhnaya UtopLf. The Utopis' itself was denied the US9nd only recently were we able toet for these years by means of anbetween the Library of Congress and the Lenin State Library. Priced publications listed In the Utopis1 can beby US purchasers, but there are other items which are footnoted as not available for export. Roughly half of thescientific and technical papers which relate to military defense or new technological processes are classified by law and therefore do not even appear In the Utopis'. Western students of Soviet affairs have long believed that such securitymay indeed have hampered the quality and progress of scientific research within the Soviet Union. The fact that over-classlQcaUon caneterrent to useful dissemination of Information has. In the past year, become apparent In the pronouncements of various Soviet leaders who have called upon both scientific and technical administratorsore rational approach to security procedures within the USSR Bulganln emphasized this in his report toh Partywhen he advocated that the Sovietseduce secrecy

'CIA,ystemBoo* Supply to Soviet Ltbrarla, (Unclassified)


measures toreer exchange of scientificopinion."

In addition to security considerations, many Sovietscientific and technical Journals are publishedimited number of copies and these rarely leave the USSRsometimes not even Moscowsimply because of the shortage of paper and printingopyussian report sent abroad may mean that some Soviet researcher will goopy.

In spite of the Inherent limitations of the Sovietthere hasoticeable effort to disseminatepublications abroad in the interest of gainingprestige. Another reason for the Increase infor export is simply that the Soviets arepublications. Good evidence of this exists in theand technical fields:0 the Sovietsscientific serial titles, whereas5 the figureto

Intelligence analysts use Soviet publications actively in their daily work. Restrictive as Soviet publishing has been, its products have alwaysource of reasonably accurate'and current Information about the Soviet Bloc. The value towhich derives from exploitation of Soviet literature runs extremely high. It is estimated that roughlyoercent of our total economic, scientific, and geographic knowledge of the Soviet Bloc Is based on analysis of open source material. Knowing what the Soviets tell their citizens,and administrators greatly assists intelligence officers to measuring the main stresses, strains, and vulnerabilities of the Soviet system. In general. US open source publications provide the Soviets with certain types of military intelligence and other valuable scientific and technical Information, while Soviet publications provide the USeliable Index to the over-all development of the Soviet systemultiplicity of facts about its current status.

toh Conpess of theoint Pros Rtadine Service. SecUoo B.S.. njncla^lflcd)

pedtfa. vol. Prchar SSSR. PecKaC SSSR. ItSS. (UncJiKlBed)

: Steps have therefore been, taken within the intelligenceto make the flow of publications from the Soviet Bloc moreLess emphasis has been placed on USand more effort expended on better acquisition of Soviet publications in order to increase net advantage to the US. Exchange procedures, controlled within the US Government, have produced needed Soviet publications in return for US publications requested by the Soviets. Under" CIA, In collaboration with other agencies, has beenIn adopting further measures, as follows:

a Arranging direct and third countryof Soviet publications considered to be of intelligence value

other federal agencies of whatfor in exchange when they receive arequest

with other federal agencies insubject areas of interest to thestatements of research resultsreceive some kind of US

other federal agencies Inflow of Soviet publications to the USand open as possible

hrough the Inter-Departmental Committee n Internal Security and, later, via the Office of Strategic Information in the Department of Commerce, supporting an Inter-Agency agreement to establish an Exchange Clearing House at the Library of Congress forUS-Soviet exchanges, with particular emphasis on intelligence and defense needs. This Clearing House Is fnncUonlng today. CIA employs three main sources to obtainhe State Department's publication* procurement

'NSC. NSCIDoreign Language


officers in Moscow, Berlin, andhe domestic .

foreign commercial book trade,xchangemade via the Exchange Clearing House at the Library ol Congress, The "take" has risen sharply during the past few years.or example, the Library of Congressreceipt0 Soviet Items;his figure hadimilarly. Library of Congress exchangewith Soviet libraries and research institutions expandedontacts during theears.

Under CIA sponsorship, the Library of Congresscatalogs andonthly List of Russianin English, which indexes all Soviet books and periodicals printed In the Russian language which are received byooperating US libraries. This publication is unclassified and therefore is of use not only to the intelligence community but also to researchers in the academic world.

Two other unclassified bibliographic tools are deserving of special mention, namely:

The Current Digest of the Sovieteeklyof the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies containing translations of selected articles appearing In SovietItuarterly subject Index to theseand to English language periodical articlesIn the USSR. Although highly selective, theDigest is one of the more useful bibliographic tools because It Is the only English language guide to the Soviet press which is adequately Indexed.

The Cyrillic Union Subjxtard Index to the Cyrillic language book holdings of the Library of Congress and cooperating libraries throughout the US. Citations are given in English and In transliterated form. The Catalog containsuthor-and-tltle cards andubject cards. CIA Library has the only duplicate collection of subject cards available outside the Library of Congress.


A complete summary ol the major US Government andindexing and abstracting services can be found in CIA's Selected Reference Aids to Cyrillic Alphabet Materials?

Exploitation of Soviet publications to meet classifiedrequirements is performed by CIA's Foreign Documents Division in the Office of Operations which last year9 Soviet newspapers, periodicals, and books forbased on requirements submitted by various agencies. The Air Force Is also engagedarge-scale exploitationTo serve Its technical and intelligence needs, Itunits in Washington and at the Air TechnicalCenter In Dayton, Ohio, which examine and translate Soviet publicationside range of Air Force interests. The products of both the CIA and Air Force exploitation efforts are disseminated to analysts of the IAC agencies.

Policy with respect to the procurement and use of Soviet publications for intelligence purposes Is formulated by the Advisory Committee on Foreign Language Publications. This Committee was established to assist the Director of Central Intelligence in carrying out the provisions oft Is composed of representatives of the IAC and insuresof exploitation, reference, and publication procurement activities within the intelligence community.

Thereorresponding effort on the part of the Soviets to acquire and exploit foreign literature; this has been especially true for scientific and technical materials. One Sovietagency aloneThe Four Continent Bookin New York Citypurchased0 worth of US scientific and technical publicationshe All-Union Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of theof Sciences, USSR, regularly screens and abstracts0 foreign scientific and technical titles of Journals.ercent of which derive from US and UK sources.' The Instl-

D-s. Selected Reference Aids to CyrillicJ. (Secret!

' CIA.oviet Mechanization of Information Procenet, is (For official use only)


tute issuesbstract periodicalsulletins based on this literature to0 Soviet Individuals and scientific and industrial bodies. GreatIs given to prompt dissemination of foreign technical data. For6 "express-information" bulletinussian language article. Illustratedhotographs, on computer mechanisms In the radar-warning system SAGEbased on material which had appeared In the US publication Aviation Week of

The Soviets' Intense Interest in the exploitation of foreign technical literature seems toatter of policy. Bulganln.peech made at the Plenary Session of the Communist Party Centralaid,'

reat harm is being done to the cause ofprogress In our country by the fact that many heads of ministries and departments, workers Inestablishments and planning and designingand executives of enterprises underestimate the achievements of science and technology abroad- The task of learning and utilizing all that Is best and most advanced in the sphere of technology In otherhas been neglected in the last few years.esult, some research Institutes and designhaveonsiderable amount of time and money in research on and the creation of what has already been published In the foreign press and isin use.

Some of our personnel have formed wholly erroneous views on the study of foreign experience. Thesebelieve that the study of foreign experience is of no use to them. Actually, such people only reveal their ignorance by arrogant phrases.

"Report on Industrialurrent Digest of the Soviet frets, vol.4 August 1SSS, OJoelasslfled)

Such views and wrong attitudes regarding problems of studying the achievements of science andIn other countries must be denounced. Every-


thing new being created by world science andmust be constantly studied. Scientificinformation should be improved: relationsresearch establishments and progressiveforeign countries should be expanded; theforeign technical literature and Its publicationUSSR should be increased; the work ofin ministries and atbe improved; and the exchange ofshould be well

Prom the viewpoint of military planning, the background data contained in US open sources probably supplies thewith a* much information as they require for strategic purposes Given the freedom of the US press and theform In which its information appears, the Soviets not only receive sound indications of the present scope, site, and rate of progress of major US military programs but they can also re-create with reasonable accuracy US estimates of Soviet capabilities.

A continuing analysis, for example, of open source trade publications and scientific periodicals alone could provide the Soviets with fairly accurate Information on the status of the US guided missile program. This Is borne out by the fact that the Soviets have published unclassified articles on the program which are detailed as to type, characteristics, and names and locations oloviet open sources have also contained location and construction details of such strategic projects as the St. Lawrence Seaway, atomic reactor andpower Installations, rail and highway tunnels, and other critical aspects of US power and transportation systems. Just one report, such as the Organization of the Federalfor Scientific Activities published by the National Science Foundation, can give theomplete, authoritative account of the scope and emphasis of the US Government's scientific research and development programs.

Vovroty ttaketnoy Tekhntkl. Sborntkbeorov Ino-itrannov Periodtcheskoy Lileratury. Moscow. (Unclassified)



Scicnhfic mteUJgence specialists'-believe that information eleased through US publications on such subjects asscatter propagation of radio broadcasting by cloud rcfloc-

lone (Ustancc transmission aU re-

sulted in triggering Soviet interest and research. Since the results of comparable scientific development wort are the USSR, there is, of course, no chance for toe US to obtain reciprocal advantages. Also, there seems to be good evidence that the USSR is relying on US technical

S0Victin research and development and shortening the time requirement tonew products.imple and inexpensive way of in-

berercent was adopted in the USSR shortly after it was described in US published material Other patented developments are obtainable by the Soviet through the US Patent Office for paymentmall le7

There are several historic cases where the US probably pave away more informationpecific detailed nature than was necessary or advisable. Notable among these were-

The MIT Radiation laboratoryublished in the, which gave the world most of the results of US wartime research and development on radar.

The Smythe reportwhich containsdetail to enable an expert to avoid blind alleys of expensive atomic research. There is posl-Uve evidence that the Soviets used information from this report in setting up their own atomic research program.

Benefits accruing to the Soviets from aerial photoeranhs maps, geodetic studies, and gravimetric data ^paSS great and are significant in that most of thispenly available to them whereas the Sovlet^blSnTmSrial

?dcnkd *for^some voU unlary tightening up within the US Government (for example

programs, little can or has been done to control this situation because it is recognized that in most instances indirect protuS


merithird party can be accomplished by the Soviets with very little trouble. When one considers how much time, effort, and money the US spends to locate fragmentarydata about the USSR, It is frustrating to think that they can so readily obtain in the US, for example, any number of large-scale maps and charts from which to position principal US targets for Soviet missile weapons systems.

Our government has found information in Soviet open sources to be of considerable value. In fact, many agencies maintain full-time staffs to examine Soviet literature, and extensive translation facilities have been set up throughout the government for this purpose.esser extent Industry is also interested sit Soviet publicationsi and nmny finny hire Russian language specialists to screen the literature in search of useful technological data.

The production of economic intelligence on the USSR is largely dependent upon published open source RussianThe statistical handbook entitled The National Econ-omy of theater supplement, have been invaluable in assessing the Soviet economy. In addition to the statistical compilations issued by the Soviets, various technical Journals in the fields of Industry, agriculture, and finance, as well as those dealing with theoretical aspects of the Soviet economy, are in daily use by our economic analysts.

Potential gains in the review of Soviet published material may be even more significant For example, Soviet theoretical mathematics leads the world and is freely published; this knowledge of new mathematical functions Is important to the long-range advancement of US science. One Soviet paper in which mathematics was applied to an electronics problem, and which was available In this country, could have savedUS experimental research time and effort had the paper been discovered and exploited promptly. Soviet open sources have also Indicated the areas in which the USSR is ahead of us, such as the development of ceramic cutting tools and of electro-spark and ultrasonic equipment.

oviet publication can be of direct aidrime example of how Intelligence can


benefit from an openly available publication Is the use to which the Biographic Register, Office ol Central Reference, put1 Moscow telephone directory. Hie Register transliterated, codified, consolidated, and punched the contents of theinto IBM machine cards. The information was then organized into three separate lists, by name, by address, and by telephone number. Since In many Instances Russians engaged In key research projects work and live together for security reasons, this rearrangement gave CIA some veryleads In Its Intelligence operations and substantiveintelligence research. Later, the Leningrad telephone directory was treated In the same way.

US gam lies, therefore. In making the most of what IsIn Soviet published material. Through effectiveintelligence caneliable yardstick with which to measure the "state of the art" in various fields of Soviet endeavor as well as to evaluate significant military anddata whenever they appear.reat deal depends on the comprehensiveness of US acquisition programs and on the thoroughness of exploitation and translation activities

There Is an underlying difference between the publishing systems of the two greater quantity ofappears publicly in the US than is the case In the USSR. This condition exists because the Soviets have considered it "normal" to classify much scientific, technical, and otherInformation as If It were military In nature. however, there have been signs that these stringent security practices may be relaxed. Both the volume and the quality of USSR publications available for export havesteadily over the past five years and this trend is likely to continue. Short of some form of censorship orcontrol, there Is little the US can do to prevent the Soviets from acquiring those US publications which receive publicThe ways and means by which the US canits yield of Information from Soviet publications are to continue to acquire as much as possible, toreater influx of published Soviet material, to improve and expand


translation and exploitation serriccs, to strive for netto the US in ail exchanges, and to capitalize on anyto obtain those Soviet publications not normallyfor export.

Original document.

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