SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE SUMMIT CONFERENCE (NIE 11-13-55)

Created: 10/4/1955

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5 4 October 5

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE SUMMIT CONFERENCE

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in by the IKTELLIGEHCX ADVISOR* COMMITTEE

ctober im. Concurring were the Special Assistant. Intelligence. Department ol Stale, the AinsUtnt Chiel ol. Department ol the Army, the Director ol Naval Intelligence; the Director of Intelligence, USAF; and the Deputy Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff. The Atomic Energy CommlMlo'i Representative to the IAC. and theDirector, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject being outside of Iheir Jurisdiction.

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SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE SUMMIT CONFERENCE

THE PROBLEM

To assess current Soviet foreign policy in the light of the Summit Conference.

CONCLUSIONS

Stalin's death, and especially sincehe Soviet.leaders have been increasingly active inradual reduction in the tensions of the cold war. At the Geneva meeting in July and since, thc Soviet leaders, whileno change in their positions onissues, have cultivated anof amicability. , 9)

e believeumber of factors have been at work to produce this change in the Soviet posture. One of these was the successionew leadership which apparenUy believed that Stalin's conduct of Soviet policy had hardened Western determination to resist furtheradvances andearmed alliance of the Western states. The fact that this process broughtove toearmed West Germany in NATO almost certainly gave the Soviet leaders serious concern and accelerated the change in Soviet conduct. Inwe believerowing realization of thc dangers of nuclear conflictthe Soviet leaders that it wasto mmimize risks of general war, at least until they had narrowed thc gap in nuclear warfare capabilities. At the

same time, the great cost of modern weapons was apparenUy forcing difficult choices in the allocation ol resources so that if the USSR did continue heavyexpenditures, as it could do, it would probably have torice in reduction of the high rates of economic growth which haverincipal aim of Soviet policy. Finally, the Soviet leadersbelievededuction intensions would open up rifts in the West andecline Ln the Western defense effort.)

e conclude that the Soviet leaders have not abandoned their long-range aims. During the current phase,they have embarkedolicy aimedeneral easing of cold warand apparently pointed toward these main objectives:

reduce the threat of nucleararising from continued tensions,during the period of theirinferiority;

give time for the USSR toits military build-up and toits economic problems; and

o

To open new opportunities fortbe Western Powers, undermining Western strength, and extendingpenetration of the free world.

nature of the motivationsabove suggests that thehave adopted the newhort term tacticalpolicy has in the past,itself capable of suddena reversal could again occur ifpolicy failed to achieve itsresults, or if it led toto Soviet interests. Onwc are inclined toit

"is the "present" iritcn lion of the Soviet leaders to continue their current policy for'some time.

the coming Four PowerUSSR will probably try to conveyof flexibility on the issuesdiscussion without makingfrom its present positions. In

order to mask the rigidity of its position on Germany, the USSR will almostattempt to focus attention upon thc question of European security. The Soviet leaders mayillingness to compromise on thc formecurity agreement, but the purpose of any Soviet proposal would be to bring about the collapse of NATO. On disarmament, the Soviet leaders, without themselvesto unrestricted inspection, willtry to commit thc West to fixed levels of armament and, by continuing to pressan on nuclear weapons, will try to limit Western freedom of action tosuch weapons. They may, however, agree to tentative and exploratory steps to test the cficctivencss of inspection in limited areas. They will make much of the issue of increased contacts between nations, mainlyiew toWestern trade controls and tosupport to the general propaganda line of their present policy.

DISCUSSION

THE RECENT "CONCILIATORY" TREND IN SOVIET POLICY

ince ihe death of Stalin, Uie Soviet leaders have been Increasingly active inradual reduction In the tensions of thc cold war. The latest phase was Initiated In5 with lhe USSR's sudden change of policy with respect to an Austrian peace treaty. After Hulganin's favorable reaction In March to the Ideaour Power meeting of heads of government. Uie USSReries ofgestures. They included anwillingness to accept some importantot the Western position onarked decline In Uie use of hostile andbuilding themes in domestic andpropaganda,ore normal handling

of diplomatic contacts. In addition, the USSR attempted to Improve its position with respect U> individual countries, as in the re-establish-ment of "normal" relations with Yugoslavia Hy the time of the Summit meeting, even the special abuse reserved in Soviet propaganda for US motives and policy had virtually ceased

espite Uie atmosphere of amicability which Uie USSR cultivated, the positions on substantive Issues whichut forward at the Summit meeting revealed no significantfrom those previously held. On thc major Lssue of Germany, the long-sustained pretense Uiat the USSR desired German unity al an early date was frankly abandoned. In the discussion of European security, Bulganin made clear Soviet insistence that securily

. IT T

arrangements, to be satisfactory to the USSR, must eventually bring about the dismantling of NATO and thc withdrawal of US power from Europe. On disarmament, the USSR in effect stood firm on its proposal ofay. The Soviet delegates made It clear that, while theyore normal relationship with the Western Powers, they wished to achieve this on the basis of recognition of thc status quo in Europe and without settlements ofissues which would require majorconcessions. They bluntly rejected any discussion of the status of thc Europeanor of International Communism. They did implyajor improvement ln thc International atmosphere could leadto settlements of presently insolubleand in particular they seemed to regard the issfle of disarmamentering some prospect for agreement.

he argument which the Soviet delegation advanced at the Summit meeting wasolution of substantive issues might be found in due course provided that "mutual trust" between East and West was first established. The phrase "mutual trust" seemed to be thc principal slogan of the new Soviet policy, and was represented al the Summit meeting not onlyeans to an end, but as an end dc-sirnble in itself. As portrayed in Sovietthe significance of the Summit meeting depended not upon any advance which it registered toward substantive agreement, but upon the degree to which it brought about this atmosphere of "mutual trust" In brief, the Soviet delegates appeared to wishcgularization of relations on the basis of the status quo in Europe might be mutually beneficial.

n thc post-Geneva period, the USSR has sought energetically to sustain what it defines as the "spirit ofhat is, anof mutual confidence between thepower blocs. Soviet propaganda,more critical ol lhe US than during the Summit Conference, has continued toa lone of calculated optimism. It has handled old controversiesew civility, and has responded with relative mildness to voices in the West which it said were depart-

ing from the "spirit oflans for visits of statesmen, for broadening cultural and economic exchanges, and even fortourism have been projected at least

the USSR has thus sought toan amicable posture, lt has alsodemonstrations of firmness onIssues, and has taken otherto strengthen its positionWest Thc Soviet leaders have sought,an air of self-confidence andto underline the firmness of theirand in conversations withthey have stressed Sovieteconomic strength and their beUef Invictory of Communist doctrine.recent meetings with the Germanand with East Germany, theIts position lhat German unityin the first Instance upon abetween the two parts of Germany,indicated that itividedfor some years to come. In thethe USSR has since April pursued apolicy, notably by offeringto certain Arab states. In thethe Communists since January havetheir pressure in the Formosathey have continued to build up theircapabilities and have not modifiedon basic issues. Theplans to reduce the Soviet andforces, and the decision to returnnaval base to Finland, whilealtering Uie general militaryhave provided the USSRasisthat the West should take

MOTIVATING CURRENT SOVIET

POLICY

he impression left by the recent Soviet posture is that while the USSR's basic position on major issues remains unmodified, theof its foreign relations hasotable change. The Soviet leaders probably recognize that thc USSR's impact on the Western world Is determined not only by thc substance ot thc Soviet position but by the

manner of Soviet conduct asumber of factors have worked together to produce the change In the Soviet attitude.

The mere fact of the appearanceew leadership In the USSR following the death of Stalin ls one Important factor. While It Is possible that some similar changes would have come about even if StaUh had not died, nevertheless there is much about thc style of present Soviet policy, which probably would not have been possible under hbn. Stalin's passing released Soviet policy from theimposed by his personality. Thc new leaders have even indicated, largely byand innuendo, their realization that Stalin's conduct of Soviet policy wasin Uiat it had Isolated the USSR, hardened Western determination to resist further Communist advances, and thusthe Western alliance. Much of their current behavior is clearly intended to undo these errors. In addition, the "collective"of Uie new leadership appears to have broughtore relaxed behavior among the top leaders themselves, and may have ledore realistic appraisal of the USSR's Internal and external situation.

Thc change in Soviet conduct was almost certainly accelerated by Uie ratification of the Paris Accords. This eventeriousfor Soviet policy, which for years has had as one of its major objectives Uie prevention of West German rearmament under NATO. While the short-run menaceearmed West Germany may not have seemed very great, the long-run prospectubstantial further increase In NATO strength, together withas to the effect which Germanmight eventually have on NATOtoward the Bloc, has almosi certainly given the Soviet leaders serious concern. Once tho Accords were ratified, it probably appeared imperative to the Soviet leadersew course be taken.

he Ana! stage In the West's decision toa rearmed West Germany in NATO coincidedrowing crisis In the Formosa Strait. We are unable to estimate what eflect this situation or other unsolved problems In

Asia had on the Soviet leaden' view of their posiUon. They may have genuinely feared an outbreak of hostilities between the US and Communist China which would have carried serious risk of Soviet Involvement. They may have decided, perhaps in concert wiih Uiethat Communist aims in Asia would be more effectively achievedhase ofmaneuver basedconciliatory" line. In any case, whatever Uie precise motivation, we are inclined to believe that the situation in Asiaart In Uie calculations which led the USSR to adopt its present course.

Soviet concern over West Germanand over tensions In Asia was probably heightenedrowing realization Uiat any serious risk of war, given Uie probability that lhc US would make large scale use of nuclear weapons, had become unacceptable. Probably Uie USSR's own progress In nuclear weapons ln recent years, togetherreater heed possibly given to professional miliiary views in policy deliberations since Stulin'a death, contributed to this realization. In any case, we believe that concern over the danger ofwar has been one Important factor In the USSR's current desire to reducetensions. The USSR Is probablyconcerned over its presently inferior nuclear capabilitiesis Uie US andwishes to minimize risks of general war We believe that one of Uie importantfor current Soviet policy may be Uieto gain time to narrow lhe gap In nuclear warfare capabilities.

Economic considerations have almostbeen another factor in the Soviel policy change. While we believe that Sovietare adequate to conUnue building up the USSR's military strength, the effort forces upon theeries of difficult choices in the allocation of resources. Besidesits traditional emphasis on heavythe USSR is currently engagedast effort to increase agricultural production by expanding cultivatedrogram whicharge-scale Investment. In addi-Uon. the rate of increase In Uie size of thelabor force, on which Soviet Industrial growth has been largely based, Is declining.

This factor, together with declining rates of increase in labor productivity, will require heavy Investments in further mechanization, automation, and replacement of machinery if Soviet Industrial output is to continue to grow at high rates. The desire to "catch up" to the West in basic industrial power certainlytoeading Soviet aim. The USSR is also under some political compulsion to assist in the Industrialization of Communist China. At thc same time, the enormous cost of the modern weapons which the Sovietwill wish to acquire over the next few yearsin air defense, in strategic air capability, in modernization of ground and naval forces for nuclear warfarewill probably press hard on thc economic programs mentioned above. Accordingly, it seems likely that the Soviet leaders would welcome the opportunity to stretch out their military programs and thus to make additional resources available forexpansion. We believe, therefore, that the Soviet moves to ease Internationalwere stimulated in part by Lhe desire to reduce the burden on their economic

U the problems and concerns described above would be eased If the West could beto cooperate in promoting aofe believe that the Soviel leaders estimate that, while the Western alliance grew in strength and unity so long as Soviet policy continued an aggressive and hostile tone, it inighL prove vulnerable if the USSR persistedonvincing demonstration of peaceful intentions. Thc USSR appears to have concludedess provocative posture on its part might be rewarded by theof rifts in the West andecline in Western defense efforts. If such results are oblaincd, the Sovicl leaders will expecttouch greater latitude of diplomatic maneuver which might enable them to undermine the effectiveness of NATO and other free world alliances, and thus move toward one of Iheir principal objectives, thc political and military isolation of thc US. They may also calculate that, as thegrows in the free world that thestales do noterious threat, the

Communist parties will be able to break out of thc Isolation Into which they have been forced, particularly In Western Europe, and will become more effective Instruments ofpolicy. The present Soviet line probably springs therefore not onlyesire to ease certain problems with which the USSR is confronted, but also from the expectation that the new tactics can bring positivetoward Soviet objectives.

Soviet Objectives in Ihe Current Phase

conclude that the Soviet leadersabandoned their long-range alms.the current phase, however, theyolicy aimedeneralcold war tensions nnd apparentlythese main objectives:

a. To reduce the threat of nuclear conflict arising from continued tensions, particularly during the period of their nuclear Inferiority;

o. To give time for the USSR to continue its military buildup and to deal with ils economic problems; and

c. To open new opportunities for dividing the Western Powers, undermining Western strength, and extending Communistof the free world.

nature of thc motivationssuggests that the Soviet leadersthe new policy as more than atactical shift. Soviet policy has inhowever, shown Itself capableeversal could againthe present policy failed to achieve itsresults, or If It led toto Soviet Interests Moreover, itpossiblehift within thecould bring to authority personsifferent internationalthe whole, we are inclined to believe thatthe present intention of the SovietconUnue Uieir current policy for somecare which they have taken lopolicy wilhin the USSR, and thus toamong the people Uie expectationperiod of relaxed international tensions,that they Intend to persist in theircourse. While wo believe thatolicy of relaxation at any

time, It Is possible that Ifong time, the present Soviet leadership would have to take Into account the domestic problems which mightudden reversal.

Sovicl leaders may regard theas only an Interim one to be usedthe gap between their nuclearand those of the US. They mayonce they haveoughnuclear capabilities, they can revert toaggressive policy, confident thai InIhey could outblufT Uie West.If the USSR docs catch up Inthe Soviel leaders could stillconfident thateneral war thewould escape nuclear devastationbe coming to feel that war In an agedevastation Involves whollyrisks and that therefore they mustto pursue their ultimate objectiveswhich so far as possible excludemajor war. Finally, the Soviet leaderstoisarmamentwould effectively eliminate nuclearnfler which they could again pursuepolicy without incurring

III. PROBABLE SOVIET TACTICS IN FORTHCOMING NEGOTIATIONS

we believe Uiat Uie USSRIts diplomatic and propagandato preserve what It calls the "spiritthc Soviel leaders havedetermination to maintain theirin forthcoming Four Powerprobably hope toeneralon the basisestern acceplanccstatus quo in Europe which wouldall Uieommunist regimes.lhat in East Germany, andtheir relations wllh the rest of thcThe USSR Is probablythe Western Powers will not be ableto bring such pressure on the Ulocforce acceplancc of Western viewsthey may hope Uiat Uie process ofitself will open fissures ofand among the Western states.

t will be evident from the foregoing that Lhe task which the Soviet leaders have set for themselves at the Four Power meetings will be to convey an Impression of flexibility on theunder discussion without makingdepartures from their present positions. That they have foreseen Uie difficultiesIs apparent from Uie strenuous efforts they made at the Summit Conference toa formula for the agenda which would permit them the greatest amount of leeway In guiding thc discussions into areas in which the appearance of agreements might be achieved without actual concessions. They achieved some success In subordinating lhe German question to lhat of European securily In the wording of the agenda, and undoubtedly hope by this device to mask Uie rigidity of Uieir posiUon on Germany. The complex topic of disarmament and Uie catch-all topic of East-West contacts will almost certainly provide the Soviet leaders opportunities to display thcof their intentions, without requiring them to make significant concessions, at least at the October meeting. They will probably seek to avoid showdowns and to contriveby provisional compromises.

lic Soviet leaders have already indicated thai Uiey will notermanon terms acceptable to Uie West. They foresee, of course, Uiat Uie brunt of Western diplomatic pressure will be focussed on this question, and that Uie atmosphere ofwhich they so carefully nourished at the Summit meeting could be Imperilled by their obstinacy on this issue. Even at this risk, however, thc Soviet leaders will almostrefuse to compromise Iheir position. The USSR has made clear Uiat it will notthe reunification of Germany unless the Internal political situation is so altered as to insureeunified Germany would not become either an open or secret partner of the Western alliance. The Soviet leadersbelieve that West German rearmament will notecurity threat to the Bloc foryears at least. In Uie meantime, they hopc lo discourage support for West German rearmament in Western Europeesl Germany itself. Believing that there will be

ODoniit

enthusiasm In the West for an attempt to solve the German problem by militarythey probably expect to be able tothe status quo in Germany Indefinitely. They will therefore hold to thc line that the German situation cannot be settled untilof "mutual trust" haveuropean security

Under whatever form this latter project may be presented. Its purpose would be to underrnine NATO and bring about its collapse. European securityopic with manyimpinging upon all ol the other Issues under discussion. It Is almost certain that thc Soviet leaders will try to make this the central topic of negotiation because Its scope.and projected time range could provide endless opportunities for unavoidable and "well-meaning" delay. Tlie USSR may offer to accept the Eden suggestionecurity treatyew countries, but would notnified Germany Incheme, and would insist on Uie admission of Uie two Germanys. The USSR would hope Uiat some such limited security arrangement would at least commit the West to recognition of Uie status quo in Europe. It would hope Uiat mutual pledges of security between the two blocs would tend gradually to sap support in the Westustained defense effort by NATO. The USSR may also propose regional pacts, for example in the Baltic area or hi the Balkans, which would Include some Satelbte states. Finally, the return of Porkkala and Soviet statements on abandoning bases mayirm proposal for reducing Sovicl and American troops and bases in Europe, possibly dramatizednilateralof some Soviet forces from the Satel-htes.

Disarmament is another topic upon which Uie Soviet leaders have laid stress and for which Uiey havelausible and ostensibly negotiable position. Likesecurity, itopic of such scope and complexity Uiat negotiations on it can befor long periods The USSR will Insist that inspection and control berior agreement on reduction of

forces and prohibition of nuclear weapons. Its alms Ln Uie negotiations will probably be to commit thc West to fixed levels of armament and lo limit Western freedom of acUon to cm-ploy nuclear weapons without itself agreeing to unrestricted Inspection. To achieve Uiesc ends, Uie Soviel leaders will probably be will-ins to agree to similar restrictions on thcir own use of nuclear weapons and actually to undertake some reductions in Uie size of their own forces. The process of negotiatingimited disarmament agreement seems certain to be prolonged, however, and during Its course the USSR will hope by its generalto divide Western opinion on Uie Issue and toelaxation of militaryln thc Wesl. Eventually, the USSR may agree to tentative and exploratory steps to test the effectiveness of inspection in limited areas. This would probably not Involve any vitalsecurity loss and would enable Uie USSR lo keep thc issue alive while at thc same time permitting It to demonstrate "correct"to an agreement.

ll four powers agreed at the Summit Conference to take steps to eliminate barriers which interfere wiUi the flow of Information, persons, and ttade among nations. Thc USSR may be expected lo place stress upon thisnot only because of Its less controversial nature, but because It is one which can easily be exploited to present the face of Sovietwhich thc USSR evidently now wants the world to see. Quite aside from emphasizing this subject In the negotiations, where it will be used to support Uie "mutual trust" slogan, we expect Uie USSR to continue and expand the program of social and cultural exchange, tourism, and Uade promotion which it has launched In receni months This can be donenilateral basis and without risk since all such activities will on Uie Soviet sidelo be of an official nature andcontrolled. In particular, the USSR will attack Western controls as barriers to the free flow of International trade. The Sovietprobably count heavily on widenedand economic contacts to have aImpact on Western opinion ln support

ni

of their general policy line during the coming period.

IV. SOVIET POUCY BEYOND THE PRESENT PHASE Of NEGOTIATIONS

he policy which the USSR has unfolded over the past several months Is not limited to the preparation of negotiating positionsour Power Conference. Tactics toreduction ofnormalization" of relations which alms at transforming the Communist Bloc states Into respectable and accepted members of the world community, have been applied widely. By seeking to blur thc lines which have been drawn between thc Communist and free worlds, the Communists

hope to promote neutralism, to reduce the vigor of anti-Bloc alliances, and thus toore favorable climate for political and propaganda activity. This pattern of Soviet activities docs not establish that there has been any change In Communist Ideological or expansionist motivations, but It does suggest that the impulse toward the readjustment In Soviet policy which we have been witnessing sprang from considerations of broad political strategy in the world conflict. It alsothat the objectives of current Soviet policy extend beyond the present phase of negotiations, and that the USSR now intends to persist in its present strategy even if the October meeting of foreign ministers ends in stalemate.

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