SOVIET CAPABILITIES AND PROBABLE SOVIET COURSES OF ACTION THROUGH 1960

Created: 5/17/1955

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

A*

7l-t

#x

C/f> haTIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

kuhbsr u - 3 - 55

SOVIET CAPABILITIES AND PROBABLE SOVIET COURSES OF ACTION0

(Advcnce Copy)

Suboitted by the DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

'The following intelligence organizotiona participated in the preparation of thia eatinote* The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Depcxtner.ts of State, the Amy, the Navy, the Air Force, The Joint Staff, and the Atonic Energy Comission.

Coacurred in by the

HWELLIGEilCE ADVISORY CCMMITTEE

on Concurring vere trie Special Assistont,Department of State; the Assistant Chief of, Department of the An.ry; the Director of Navalhe Director of Intelligence, USAF; the Deputy Director forThe Joint Staff, ond tbe Atonic Energy CormiBSicn Representative to the IAC. Tho .Assistant to the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, tlie subject being outside of

its jurisdiction.

cenan intelligence agency

5

: SOVIET CAPABTXTTips AND PROBABLE SOVIET coursesCTION'0

conclusions

Gor-oral

he totalitarian character of the Soviet political ays torn ia unlikely to ba altorod in any important respect during the period of this estimate. It appearstruggle for peraonal pener, probablyontort of differences over policy, has been going on within tho saall ruling group and is as yet unresolved. Although thia struggle uv be sharpened during thai period of this estisiatc, we continue to believe that it will be confined to the small group at tho apex of the powar structure, and Till not result in open violence involving the police or military forces. )

3, The relations betveen the VSSR ond Communist China ore probably nov conducted as between allied powers having coiacon interestsommon ideology, but also separate and potentially conflicting national objectives. Despite the possibility of some frictions betveen the tvo countries, they vill almost certainlyelationship' of close alliance throughout the period of this estir-ete. The continuing dependence of Communist China on. the USSR for. support of its military ond economic programs gives the USSR great influence over Chinese policy, but this vould probably not be decisive in matters vhich tbe Chinese believed involved their own vital interests.^'

C. Soviet economic policy during tha period of this estimate vill almost certainly be directed primarilyontinued rapid growth of basic aconomic end military strengths and the maintenance

1/ Tbo representatives of the Director of Naval Intelligence and the Deputy Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff, consider that tbio paragraph overstates the degree of independence vhich Communist China enjoys in matters of major policy. They believe, therefore, thnt the last clause should be deleted, end the folloving substituted: "We believe therefore that the Soviet leaders vould almost certainly be able to apply sufficient pressure, including the curtailment, and if necessary the withdrawnf economic and military aid, in order to obtain Chinese conformity to Soviet views."

of high peacetime levels of military production. Heavy industry will continue to be the primary focus of Soviet economic activity.

rate of growth of tho Soviet economy hasln recent years nnd will continue to decline duringof this estimate. Wo estlaato that the ancoaj increasegrose national product (GNP)0 will probablyless than five poreant, comparedevenb. Although abaoluto defense expendituresto increase markedly5U, we believe thatprobably increase hencoforthlower rate and will beporcont higher0 than

expansion of agricultural production and theof foodstuffs for the cltloa aro nroblcms which willplague Soviet leaders during tho period of this cstinato. the more recent agricultural measures liko tho new landsthe corn cultivation campaign appear to be less raalistlcmeasures announced earlier. Although the- results achievedcortainly fall far short of planswe estimate that, with average weather conditions thoro

rill bo0 percent increase in agricultural production0u. Par capita consumption trill probably rise, althoughote far more modest than that hold out to the people inthe govermcnt's statements U1)

that0 Soviet GNP will be roughly two-

fifths that of tho US, as compared with about one-thirduj however, the US economy will probably continue to draw ahead in absolute terns, tho dollar gap betT/een thoconomlos increasing8 billion to9 billions. The USSR allocates on exceptionally large voliaae of resources to investment and defensein the caso of investment about four-fifth and ln dufonse about one-half tho amounts allocatod to those sectors in Ihe US economy.

0. The Sovlnt regime will. In thu pursuit of its objectives, continue to face difficult choices in resource allocation. On tho one hand, increasingly heavy Investment outlays will bo needed in order to maintain high rates of economic growth. On the othor hand, military requirements constitute the chief competitor for tho resources on which investment must draw. Consequently, If the

Soviet regime should choose to increase military expendituresate substantially higher then we have estimated inreduction.in-the rate of growth of the economyhole and in consumption levels would result.

Military

H. We believe that, generally speaking, the personnel strength of Soviet and other Bloc forces will remain substantially unchanged during the period of this estimate. However, the over-allof these forces will increase, mainly because of the following

factors;

>**

n. Introduction into the Soviet Air Force during the present year of supersonic interceptors, jot heavy bombers, and four-engine turbo-prop aircraft, possibly heavy bombers. An increase in the number of all-weather fighters and jet_ medium bombers;

great increase in numbers of nuclear weapons,the range of yields derived from these weapons;

great increase In the number of long-range submarines;

d. Generally iniproved and modernized weapons available to Soviet rpround forces, together with changes in organization and tactics designed to adopt theso': forces to nuclear warfare.

If the USSR in fact develops the guided missiles which we estimate to be within its capabilities, these willignificant increment to over-all Soviet military offectiveness.

I. At present the noin Soviet offensive strength lies in the capability to mount large-scale; ground attccks against Western Europe, together with air attecks against Western Europe and the UK and an extensive submarine campaign to disrupt the flow of reinforoementa and supplies from North Aneriea. During the period of this estimate the additions to Soviet air strength

listed above will increase very markedly the ability of the USSR to launch air attccks against distant targets, including the continental US. The growing submarine force will alsoreatly increased threat to allied naval forces and shipping.

)

J, During the period of this estimate the Bloc air defenseill probably bo substantially strengthened by greater operational cxperionco nnd bv the introduction into operational units of new fighter types (includingow antiaircraft weapons, improved early warning and CCI equipment, and guided missiles. However, in view of tho increasing capabilities of offensive vraapons and improved technioucs in countermeasures, Soviet air defensewill probably romain inad_au3tc to prevent attacking forces from reaching critical target areas ofthe USSR. )

K, The chief limitations on Soviet armed forces arc likely to arise from the vast size of the USSR, the groat distances from main interior sources of supply to several raair* operational areas, the relatively inad_quatc road and rail nct-;ork, and the acute shortage of Bloc-registcrod shipping, Tho Soviet rail system wouldvulnerable to air attack in gon&ral war, and Soviet armed forces would eventually suffer logistical difficulties, and especially in operations in the Far East, Other-deficiencies during the period of thia aatinato vill probably bo in experience -nd training fornge air operations, and in certain equipment for air defense.

together with lack of capability for long-range amphibious and surface naval operations. The questionable politicaland relatively low combat effectiveness of many of the Satellite forces uil continue to limit their usefulness to the USSR, especially for offensive operations.

Probable Courses of Action

L. Wo believe that the principal, immediate objectives of Soviet external policy during the period of this estimate willo promote the political end economic instability of non-Coeraunist states, ond to render them incapable of decisive action by fostering and exploiting neutralism end dissensions within and among them;o bring about the withdrawal of US power from its present advanced bases around the periphery of the Bloc;o impede or offset the rearmament of West Germany ond its association with the VIestern Powers; ond (k) to detach Japan from the sphere of Western influence and encourage its closer association with thec. At the same time the USSR will continue to pursue Its fundamental aim of expanding Communist Influence and? as;opportunities develop, of extending the area of Communist control. )

M. Tlvo Soviet leaders probably now believe (l) that general war would prosent formidable horardfl ta the survival of their system,hat they can mke progress toward their objectives byaction, nnd in some cases by localised military action. Therefore, wo believe thnt during the period of thia estimate the Kremlin will try to avoid courses of action, and to deter Communist China from courses of action, which in its judgment would clearly involve, substantial risk of general war. The Soviet leaders are unlikely to bo Hove that Sovlot, Corxjunlet Chinese, or European Satellite forces can be used in open attacks acroou recognized state frontiers during this period without runningisk. However, the JJSSR or one of the Sino-Soviet Bloc courrtrlos night engage in Indirect aggression ar tako action which wouldituation in which tho US or Its allies, rather than yield an Important position, would take counteract ion which could lead to cental war. We believe, moreover, that the Kremlin would not bo deterred by the risk of general eer from taking counteractioneatern action which it considered on icnlnent threat tc Soviet security. This, general war might occur during the period of this estimate as the climaxorios of actiona and counteractions, initiated by either side, which neither side originally Intended to lead to goneral war. )

S. We believe thct the USSR will, despite the growth of its nuclear capability during the period of this estimate, continue to try to avoid substantial risk of general war, since the Soviet loaders will probably still not be confidant that they could attack the US with nuclear weapons without exposing the USSR to cn oven rtcre deyas-toting counterblow. However, os thoir nucleor capabilities crow, Soviet leaders tiay cone to ostinote that the US, because of fear for itself or for its- allies, or because of pressures exerted by its allies, will be increasingly deterred froa initiating the devastation entailedull-scale nuclear war. Thoy my therefore cods to believe that local wars will ba lass likely than at present to expand into' cenernl war, and thus thct superior Bloc ntlitcry capabilities ln certain local areas can be exercised without substantial risk of provoking general war.

0. We believe that Soviot diplomacy during the period of this estinato will not be directed,eneral settlement between the USSR and the West. It will almost 'Certainly continue to conbine moves intended to ease international tensions with otherhich increase such tensions, ond with political warfare pressures calculated

to play upon tho non-Ccacunlst world's fear of war. At present the USSR Is ongAged in voiy active diplomacybcr of wrtant issuesAustria, disarmament, Yugoslavia, Japan and has made important concessions, though no apparent important sacrifices as yet. Wc bcliovo that tha current Soviet diplomatic efforts aro dircctod primarily toward preventing the rearmament of Qcrmany in closeth the Test, and that the ground is being praparnd Cor. now Soviot proposals on this subject, perhaps at Four Power mootings during thi3 summer. Wc also believe that inith the forthcoming peace treaty negotiations with Japan tho USSR is likely to make soae concisions in the hopo of promotingtho relation* of Japan with the US andpancse

P. It is Dosslble, however,That the Soviot loaders alsoubstantial an^ orolorgcd reduction in international tanaions that would not only prevent Oerman rearmament but ilso further their other objectives, including US withdrawal from advanced baseseduction of tho incentivo for tho West to maintain ita present dofonso of forts.

-

The Soviet leaders may also feel thateduction oftensions is desirable because of the pressure of thoir own Internal problems.

Q. The principal objective of Soviet policy in Europe is toolution of the German problem favorable to Soviet interests. Prevention or slowing down of West German rearmament end blocking the development of West Germany's ties with the NATO powers have first polarity. To achieve these ailfls, Soviet policy will almost certainly make great efforts to influence the situation in West Germany itself. The Soviet leaders probably calculate that by sedulous encouragement of German hopes for unification tbey can,imited time, Increase neutralist feeling in West Germany, complicate tbe relations of the West German Government with its NATO partners, and undermine unity of purpose within the NATO allianae. Tho settlement of tlie Austrian problem, together with the recent Soviet proposals on disarmament and the current advances to Yugoslavia, mayovietin the course of further negotiations, to give up control of East Germany in exchangeuaranteed neutralization of united Germanyoviet share in international control over German armament. Wo

-

believe that the chances ofevelopment ere less than even., lu2)

R. If such measures did not, in the Soviet view, succeed in countering the developing thrent of West Oerman rearmament, ue.that the_USSR would turn to more rigorous policies,harp build-up of Soviet ond Satellite military capabilities. They might also adopt more threatening courses of action against berlin, or* in the Par Heart, or* clstndtere', with the purpose of arousing fear of nuclear war in the West and causing Western peoples to del-end that their governmentsautious policy. We bclievo that even nt thJjS- stage tbe USSR would still avoid courses of action which ln its judgment clearly entailed the probability of general war.

2/ The Special Assistant, Intelligence, Department of State, believes that tbe estimate contained in the Inst sentence of this paragraph should read: "We believe that the likelihood ofevelopment is small, primarily because it seems to us that Its uncertainties and disadvantages, from the Soviet point of view, would forits advantages."

r

3. We believe that the USSR is ia substantialChinese Communist objectives to destroy theGovernment oad to cite control of oil territoryit. Tbo primary Soviet interest in issues arising in the areaFormosa Strait is to exploit then inay as to sowof tha US among neutral nations and toaximumbetween the US end its allies. We believe thatsee cortuln advantages in clashes between Chine soUS forces, provided it believed that the clnshos wouldand localised. However, we also believe that the USSRto restrain Pelplng froa adopting policies which in thecarry grave risks of ncjor hostilities between thoCofxunist China since the Soviet leaders probably believe thct

such hostilities would also entail grave risk of Soviet involvement,)

T. Tho Soviot leaders probably consider thnt if nnjorbetween Coonur.ist China and the US should occur, tho USSR wculd be presented with extrooely grave choices. Thoy would probably give tho Chinese Coraunists support ln weapons and material, and the scale of this aid vould probably increase in proportion to the threat to the Chinese Cocojnist regime. As hostilities expended

- It

and the tlirect to the- ChinasQ Communist regime increased, they would probably engage Sovlot forces in defensive operations, to he extent that they felt they could plausibly deny such Should the conflict progress so far that destruction of the Chinese Conawuist reglDo appeared probable, we believe that the Soviet leaders would recognize that open intervention on their part sufficient to save the Chinese regime would Involve extremely grave risk of general war- with tbe US with- its consequent threat to the survival of the Soviet system. In decidingourse of action, the Soviet leaders would have to weight the strengths which they could

bring to bear ln the struggle against those which would be opposed

.fit-to them, and the dangers to their own regimeossible global

war with the US cgoiost the strategic and psychological consequences to them of destruction of the Chinese Communist regime. We "believe, on balance, they would conclude that loss of the Chinese Comuuist regime would be sufficiently damaging end final to cause then toto open intervention to save that regime.^ )

lie Director of Naval Intelligence, and the Deputy Director forIntelligence, The Joint Staff, believe that tlie lost sentence overstates tho willingness of the Soviet leaders to risk their own regime ond would substitute for the last sentence:

"On balance, we believe that they would not consider tha elimination of the Chinese Communist regime sufficiently damogiag, or final, to warrant the risk to their regime which openwould entail."

-

U. Southeast Asia vill clncst certainly appear to the USSR to be the oost profitable field for the extension of DomoJliistot least during the early period of this ostiurtc. The Soviet leaders vlll probably continue. In concert with Cccxamist China, to support CooDunist subversive activities, end possibly localized ailltory action if circuzj6tances are favorcblo.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA