THE EFFECT OF THE SOVIET POSSESSION OF ATOMIC BOMBS ON THE SECURITY OF THE U.S

Created: 6/9/1950

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FOR THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR REPORTS AND.ESTIMATES

THE EFFECT OF THE SOVIET POSSESSION OF ATOMIC BOMBS ON THE SECURTTY OF THE UNITED STATES

Reportoint Ad Hoc Committee

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THE EFFECT OF THE SOVIET POSSESSION OF ATOMIC BOMBS ON THE SECURITY

OF THE UNITED STATES Reportoint Ad Hoc Committee

THE PROBLEM

I. The problem is to estimate the effect of the Soviet possession of atomic bombs upon the security of the United States.

he possibility of US or Soviet development of hydrogen bombs has not been considered.

DISCUSSION

Enclosure A,

CONCLUSION

Soviet possession of atomic weapons has increased thc military andcapabilities of the USSR and the possibility of war. Accordingly the securityUnited States Is In Increasing Jeopardy.

Pursuant lo the undertaking in Uie Foreword ol. this estlmalc hasoint ad hoc commlltcc representing CIA and the intelligence agencies ofor Stale, the Army, thc Nary, and the Air Force. This estimate Is limitedIt does not deal with all controversial aspects otagreement existing

with respect lo this much of the subject, however, the committee (excepting the Navyhas recommended IU publication without further delay pending furtherof the bioad aspects of the problcm.

The intelligence agencies or Uie Departments of Slate, the Army, and the Air Force have concurred In Uiis estimate. For the dissent of the Office of Naval Intelligence see Enclosure II.

The dale of the estimate is

I

ENCLOSURE A

EFFECT OF SOVIET MILITARY CAPABILITIES

oviet possession of atomic weapons hasthe military capacity of the USSRto that of the United States and Hs allies.

success of an atomic attackfour baskdequateof atomic bombs; (b) adequate means(c) sound selection of targets;effectiveness of delivery.

USSR will be able to developstockpile of atomic bombs.of the Soviet stockpile isas follows:

20

45

90

ell-founded estimatebe made, and even forherearge degree of uncertainty. For planning purposes, however, an estimate forombs is suggested on the basis that plant capacity may be increasedercent

USSR has and will continue toofmaritime,of carrying its entireatomic bombs.

must be presumed that the USSRof compiling an effective target list.

flL Soviet achievement of thc fourthofdepend primarily upon thc defensive capabilities of the United States and Its allies.

USSR could inflict critical damageUnited Slates through atomic artack.

oviet capability for direct attack on the continental United States has existed since the USSR acquired long-range aircraft and long-range submarines. Addition of atomic bombs to Soviet armament gives the

USSR the additional capability of Inflicting concentrated destructioningle attack and of denying areas within the United States.

o. The maximum threat to the United State of Soviet possession of atomic bombs is the possibility that the USSRingle surprise attack on the United States and its foreign Installations could seriously Limit the offensive capabilities of the United States, possiblyritical degree.

preparationingle Sovietthis scope would obviously faceroduction of anumber of atomic bombs to covervital targets and yet allow forfaulty functioning, andand,esserof sufficient means of transport toof those targets,of those targets the destruction ofmost seriously limit the offensiveof the United States^ Each ofdifficulties, however, can be resolvedby Uie USSR.

the USSR will have anto deliver bombs on target, if notthe extent of destruction thatcould Inflict on the United Statesprimarily on the defensivethe United States.

USSR could more readily inflicton the North Atlantic Treaty alliesUnited States through atomic atiack.

THE EFFECT ON SOVIET POLITICAL-SUBVERSIVE CAPABILITIES

povvossion of atomic weaponsthe ooisibility that Ihe USSR will beweaken seriously the power position ofSlates without resorting to direct

a. Soviet iwsscssion of atomic weapons indoes not increase thclready

lTc RET

TOP SEC

to the USSR for the extension of Its political control by means short of an all-out military conflict. But Soviet capabilities ot extending political control will be enhanced to the extent that Soviet possession of atomic weapons weakens the will ofto take adequate and timely counter-measures, and strengthens the determination and self-confidence of thc Soviet Union.

efforts to confuse and divideopinion in non-Communist countriesfrom Soviet possession of atomicMoscow's current campaign touse of atomic weapons and to attachand legal stigma to their use lsby the fact that the USSR can poseto accept the same restrictions thatof other countries. Byuniversal fear of wareans offoreign support for Soviet policy,may be able to influenceIn some countries to Induce thetoosition lessthe security Interests of the United States.

rowing disparity betweenSoviet military power, and fear ofIn any case, may Influence thcof the United States to refrainthis country inoreposition against the USSR.

of American publicmay conceivably become less willingmore positive USthe USSR

USSR, accordingly, will be In ato exploit non-Communist hesitationto resort to strongThese conditions would facilitateextension of Soviet politicalso much of Eurasia as virtually toUnited States without resort to directaction.

EFFECT ON THE POSSIBILITY OK WAR

ho possibility of direct miliiary conflict bc-Iwean tho Soviet Union and the Untied States is increasedesult of Soviet possession of atomic weapons.

a. The basic objective or Soviet policy is clearly the attainmentommunist world

under Soviet dorruhation. In pursuit of this objective the USSR regards the United States as Its major opponent and will wage against

elentless, unceasing struggle ln which any weapon or tactic is admissible which promises success in terms of this over-allobjective.

the continued development ofatomic stockpile and Sovietagainst atomic attack, thesuperiority in total numbers ofwill no longer In itself bo ato war.

Its doctrinaire concepts ofbehavior and its hypersensitivity overthe USSR may Interpret asfuture steps which theand Its allies may take to Improveposition against the threatm Soviet military power. Similarly,efforts to increase militaryresponse to Soviet moves in theituation in which theestimate that thc Western Powersto prevent any further spreadby military action againstIt Is always possible, therefore,USSR would initiate war If Itestern attack was Impending.

the Soviet military potentialto that of the United States andtlie USSR will doubtless be willinggreater risks than before In pursuitaims. Although the USSRthe capacity and determinationnon-Communist powers to takethe Kremlin nevertheless maythc cumulative risk Involved Inaggressions. Accordingly It mayon action which in itself appearsto lead to war, but which, whenall previous Soviet aggressions, mightan issue out of proportion to itsand thus precipitate war.

after Soviet attainment of astockpile, US defensive andwere to remain so limited asa Soviet belief that the USSRa decisive attack on the Unitedrelative impunity, there would beof such an attack

ISSENT BY THE OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE

ONI dissents fromecause lt believes that this estimate Ls too narrow and limited In Its approachroblembviously Involves considerations ofbroad scope andnd thus ls subject to serious urports to discuss Soviet possession of the atomic bomb In relation to its effect on Soviet political-subversiveand military capabilities, and itthat there has been an increase in theseonsequent increase in theof war and an increasing Jeopardy to the security of the US.iscussion soIn scope and so limited with respect to the factors discussed docs not, indeed cannot,how much Increase has occurred nor what basic situation existed from which thc Indeterminate Increase can be measured. The reader Is actually led to infer that the only factor under Soviet control wliich woulda decision tourprise and crippling atomic attaek onsof what they estimate toequisite number of atomic bombs to accomplish the task. It is inconceivable that the Soviets could arrive atecision without regard to political or economic factors and all the

oilier military factors, offensive and

he security ofs affected byobjectives and intentions as well as ca-

' Quoted from CIAeptember IMS- to IAC aeenetM requnUnead hoe committee on recent atomic development*.

pa bill ties, since lt is the combination of these factors that produces the end product,courses of action. Soviet objectives and Intentions stem principally from political, ideological and economic factors, historicaland aspirations. Only when weighed together In thc light of objectives andwill totaleconomic andtothe probable course of action which must be correctly estimated In order that proper steps may be taken to Insure the security of. While many considerationsthe Soviet objectives and intentions arehese considerations are, In this case, the vital issues In the problem. Their omission from the estimateatal error.

ONI believes that our bases forSoviet objectives and intentions are at least as well founded as our bases fortheir capabilities They arc, therefore, entitledull consideration in the estimate, particularly in view of the uncertainty which must be expressed regarding quantities, dates of availability, and characteristics of Soviet atomic bombs

The position set forth above is the one ONI has maintained throughout theconsideration ol this problem. ONIof the publishing of this paperlt believes that the limited discussion, by avoiding the vital issues, does notsupport the conclusion, does notthe problem, and could be misleading.

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