REVIEW OF SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE GENEVA FOREIGN MINISTER'S C

Created: 12/6/1955

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER 5

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REVIEW OF SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE GENEVA FOREIGN MINISTERS' CONFERENCE

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REVIEW OF SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF THE GENEVA FOREIGN MINISTERS' CONFERENCE

THE PROBLEM

To assess current Soviet foreign policy in the light of the Geneva ForeignConference and recent Soviet moves in olher areas particularly in the Middle Kasl

THE ESTIMATE

stalemate al the Geneva Foreign Mm istirV Conference, taken together with recent Soviet moves in the Middle East and South Asia, has been widely interpreted in thc Free World as evidenceenewed hardening of Soviet policy. Sovicl policy has been seen as turning its back upon the prospects ofsettlements opened by the Summitand launching Itself again upon the path of Intensive cold war. Wc shall examine In this paper whetherhift in Soviethas in fact taken place, and the motiva-lions for recent Soviet behavior

I. THE USSR'S DEFINITION OF THE "SPIRIT OF GENEVA"

Inquiring whether Soviet policy shifted between Uie first and second Geneva meetings, it Is Important to be clear on what significance the Soviet leaders did and did not attach lo thc Summit meeting and thc series ofmaneuvers which preceded it. We have previously estimated, and still believe, thai thc Soviet leadership actually desires the "reduction In inlernational tensions" whichas proclaimed as Uie object of its policyreduction ln international tensions" the Soviet leaders meant Uie establishmentclt understanding that issues in disputethe Bloc and Uie Wesl would not be

allowed to leadeneral East-West crisis involving serious danger of general war.'

3 The Soviel leaders almost certainly did not expecteduction In tensions and the "spirit of Geneva" which was liswould bring about an early settlement of major issues between the Bloc and the West. Our previous estimate made It clear lhat no concessions by the USSR on such vital Issues as Germany and disarmament would beand stressed that Uie main aim of Soviet policy in the negotiations would be lo insure continuing acquiescence in thestatus quo in Eastern Europe At the same time. Uie Soviet leaders gave noat the Summit meeting that Ihey would abandon the pursuit of their own objectives, whether in Europe or elsewhere On thethey made it entirely clear lhat Ihey would permit no discussion of Inlernational Communism or of thc status of Uie Satellites, and that the USSR would persist In Its effort to obtain withdrawals of American power nnd

Influence.

' We Dclleve lhat the motive* forattitude dn-ciused InS were correct and that Ihey are sUil operative See especiallyT ofSoviel foreign Policy in the IJghl Of the Summit5

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intransigent stand which Molotov took at the Foreign Ministers' meeting did not represent any departure in substance irom positions which were implicit at the Summit meeting. The Heads ot Government did not explore these positions to the point where they were fully exposed, when this was done at the second Geneva meeting thc USSR's basicwere revealed to be unchanged from what they have been for some years past. The fact that the stubborn personality of Molotov was associated with the presentation of the Soviet stand perhaps heightened the impression of intransigence. In fact,the essentials of Soviet policy wereon thc two occasions, and the widespread impression that Soviet policy had hardened was due in Lhc main to unwarranted popular expectationsoftening trend which did nut develop.

Thc more active Soviet policy which was developed in the Near and Middle East and South Asia in recent months, in particular in connection with the sale of arms to Arab states and the attitude and statements of lhc Soviet leaders during their current trip in South Asia, has also been seenetreat from the "promise" of the Summit meeting. However, nothing Lhal was said by Lhc USSR at thc Summit meeting gave any promise thai the Soviet leaders would abandon their elforl to combat Western influence in areas touching Soviet interests, and in fact there is hardthat deals such as thc Egyptian arms deal were planned prior to the SummitPrevious estimates have slated Lhal the USSR would step up its activity in the Middle Easi in response lo Western moves lo organize defense In lhat area From lhe Soviet poinl of view, the progress made by tlie Northern Tier concept since the spring5 hastimulus lo Soviet intervention. Theform this intervention has taken was not foreseen in previous estimates. We still believe that the USSR dues not intend lo push thai intervention lo the poinl ofajor crisis wiih lhc Western Powers, bul ils actions have already gone far loward proajor crisis within the urea, and

have strained relations between the major Western Powers and certain Middle Eastern slates.

II. SOVIET TACTICS AT GENEVA

6 Our previous estimate anticipated more flexibility in Soviel negotiating tactics at the Foreign Ministers* meeting than was actually shown. The eflect of such flexibility would have been to avoid quite soetback to the "spirit of Geneva" and to have blurred the impression of intransigence which thenegotiators did in fact give. Except for some effort by Molotov to avoid the more bitter recriminations which marked previous Big Four meetings and some attempt at the end lo save lhc conference from the appearance of complete breakdown, the Soviets did little laestern belief in thc USSR's desire to end the cold war.

e believe that the Soviet leaders had some positive reasons for wishing to make aof firmness at the recent negotiations. Tney apparently feel that, although they do have some internal problems, these areand present no compulsion fortheir stand on issues in dispute with the Wesl. On the whole, the Soviel loaders probably regard lhe fuiure course of lhe world slrugEle wllh confidence. They came away from the Summit meetingthat the West does noi Intend toIts power to force Sovicl concessions, and Ihey believe that in lhe absenceilitary showdown the general development of lhe world situation will be favorable to them. Given this confident slate of mind, theywished lo make il entirely clear, especially in view of the wide speculation in lhc West about their Internal weakness, that there can be no progress toward settlement of outstanding issues if II requires them to make any significant concessions Tliey probably also felt under some necessity lo make clear to the Satellite regimes, especially lo East Germany, Lhat the' existence ol these rCBimcs woulde endangered for the sake of an agreement with the Wesl.

ith respect to the first Item on theMinisters' agenda, the question ofsecurity andtalemate at this conference probably was seen by theleaders as advantageous. One of their principal current objectives Is to demonstrate to the West Germans that there can be no hope for fulfillment of aspirations forby way o! Four Power negotiations The Soviet leaders probably calculated lhat failure of this conference wouldong step toward convincing the West Germans, and the East Germans as well, lhat the Westernof strength" will noi be effective inSoviet agreement to reunification This they probably hope will have Ihc effect of impeding West German rearmament, and of persuading thc West Germans to enter Into separate negotiations with East Germany and the USSR which might lead to abandonment of their ties with NATO. Ultimately, the USSR hopes for reunification on terms which would be favorableommunist takeover.

the disarmament issue, il was made even clearer that thc USSR Is unwilling to accept any comprehensive inspection system satisfactory to the West, and Is particularly opposed to the President's proposal for aerial inspection. Thc Soviet counter arguments continue to rest on demandsan onweapons and for reduction to agreed force levels. However, the Soviet position on disarmament may not have been fully revealed al Geneva. For example, the possibility of disarmament and inspectionestricted area basis, as contained in the Eden plan, was not fully explored at thc conference. It is still possible that the USSR would findcheme acceptable, especially as it would, i! applied in Germany,acit Western acceptance for continuing the division of thc country. Aside from Ihis, however. Geneva showed that the Sovicl position had lo remain fixed because thc Sovicl leaders are unwilling to contemplate the kind ol comprehensiveupon which the West has insisted.

freedom of contacts, the USSR wasinterested iu brcnklng downtrade controls, while the Wesla comprehensive program for greater

freedom of information Some Westernthe USSR was certain to refuse, and did so. since acceptance would have involved steps toward ending the Isolation of the Soviet and Satellite peoples which the regime clearlyas essential. On other proposals, the USSR indicated agreement in principle orbilateral negotiations, but nowere actually concluded.the USSR showed itself prepared toand even expand the kind of controlled program of contacts by delegations whichropaganda purpose and acquireinformation. In short, while Soviel policy cannot accept Western principles of freedom in contacts between nations. It probably does not intend to return to the extremes of post-World War II isolationism

III. IMPLICATIONS OF GENEVA FOR FUTURE SOVIET POLICY

It is evident that the Soviet leaders have no intention in the foreseeable futureettlement of the major issues between them and the West They recognise lhat they could do so only by making tmpor-unt concessions. Tills they noi only feel under no compulsion to do, but in thc case o! Gennany almost certainly believe thai to make concessions would be dangerous to their Satellite empire The confidence which the Soviet leaders show In taking this position may be based in part on the impression of Western intentions they received at lhe Summit meeting. Then confidence must have been reinforced by their recent progress in the development of large-yield nuclear weapons

Unless there shouldajorof the international atmosphere, the USSR is unlikely for some time to presstoward resumption of Four PowerThere have been many signs,that it intends to direct intensifiedtoward bilateral negotiations with US allies and uncommitted stales in thc Middle Easi and Asia. The object of such efforts would be to work toward the sapping of Free World alliances and thc isolation of the US

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Soviet leaders may even believe that eventually the US itself will be willing to negotiate bilaterally.

The Soviet leaders probably recognize that to pursue such efforts successfully it will be necessary for the Bloc to refrain from major military aggression. Overtly, they willcontinue their efforts to demonstrate that the USSR's intentions arc peaceful white at the same time stressing that it is thePowers which are backsliding from the "spirit ofhile there will remain various points of critical friction in Berlin, the Taiwan Strait, and Indochina, andelsewhere, we believe on balance that the USSR docs not intend toeneral East-West crisis of major proportions to grow out of these

It is apparently lhe Soviet intention to give heavy attention to the Middle East and South Asia. The sale of arms and theoffers of technical and economic aid which have been made there are newfor Soviet policy, and demonstrate the flexibility of its current leadership. The BUx: has certain advantages in competing with the West for influence in these areas It can play upon the endemic suspicion of the former colonial powers and the widespreadfor thc rapid pace of Soviet economic development. II iselter position than thc West to absorb certain important raw materials exports of some of these countries, and presumably has ample stocks ofarms to provide one means ofIt is now offering credit on Cosier terms lhan the West finds feasible.

or not the Bloc can developprogramignificant scale willthe availability of resources withinfor which the economic developmentBloc, especially of Communist China,Bloc's military programs will beThe competitive challenge ofTcredWest will alsoactor, lt is loojudge how farrogram mayor even if the present offersfulfilled. We think it unlikely,the USSR is engagedof propaganda promises, and morelhat the Soviet leadersampaign of

IV. CONCIUSION

estimates have slated, andincluding the Foreignconfirm, that the objectives ofregime remain the same asits predecessorto increase the powerthe security of the Communistprevent the marshaling of thc Ftccagainst the Bloc, and to expandsphere. The present regimepolicies designed to achieveby means which arc lessthan before. It hopes therebyits reputation for peacefulthe Soviet leaders believe thatand vigorous diplomacy,economic penetration, andin areas where the Free Worldthey can gradually alter theof power and influence In their favor

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