SOVIET PREMIER KOSYGIN'S FOREIGN POLICY ROLE (RP/77-10256CXM)

Created: 10/3/1977

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AlCRO ONLYj.

Central Intolligonce Agency Dlrectorato of7

Soviet Premier

Foreign PolicyRole

Summary and Conclusions

Soviet Prime Minister Alckscyposition has slipped considerablypast ten

retirement or ouster

from the leadership may be In the offing. until now, he has ey Soviet policymaker. Although he was supplanted by Brexhnev as the Soviet Union's principal foreign policymaker over seven years ago, he remains actively involved in formulating apd executing Soviei decisions on the international scene.

In general, Kosygin's foreign policy views correspond fairly closely with the prevailing leadership consensus. He is, however, an independent

xhie research paper analyses soviet Prima minister alokeey koeygin'e role and influence on soviet foreign polioy. it dieauoaoe hie vicua on soviet polioy tooarde tho us, china, the hiddln eaot and eastern europe. Comments are

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thinker and has at times stakedosition ahead of or at variance with others in the leadership. He was the first Soviet Politburo member toimitation of strategic arms. He has on occasion sharply disagreed with leaders such as Suslov about the historic direction of Soviet-American relations, emphasizing that thehas moved from one of confrontation to one of negotiation and detente. His opposition to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia8 and his reluctance to criticize or even speak out on problems inelationship with Western Communist parties, haveomewhat greater tendency toward moderation than is characteristic of many of his Politburo colleagues. On issues such as the Middle East or China, however, there appears to be little substantive difference between Kosygin and other leaders.

If Kosygiu should leave the leadershipnext six months or so, his departure wouldnot have an immediately visible effect onpolicy positions. Brezhnev has, in mostendorsed Kosygin's viewpoint onand would probably have sufficientto continue the main lino of currentin this

Nonetheless, Kosygin's departure wouldenior leader closely identified with improving Soviet-US relations. It is not at all certain that any of the most likely replacements have the sameof commitment to this oolicy. Kosygin'swould thus be likely to have some affect upon marginal Soviet decisions regarding the US. In any case, where present leadership views on particular points at issue with the US may be finely balanced, and where some differences may exist within theas to the range of concessions to the US consistent with Soviet interests, Kosygin's departure could moan atlight hardening of the Soviot consensus.

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Kosygin's Influence in International Affairs

Premier Kosygin has had an active role in the formulation and execution of Soviet foreign policy From the beginning of the post-Khrushchev era. however, the two other members of the leadership troika, initially Brezhnev and Mikoyan and eventually Brezhnev and Podgorny, shared foreign policywith him. At first Brezhnev, as the party leader, concentrated on relations with allied countries in Eastern Europe; Podgorny, after assuming the presidency inocused on relations with Africa and the Middle East. Kosygin, on the other hand, paid particular attention to relations with South and East Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, end the US. He presided, for example, over Soviet efforts to mediate the Indian-Pakistan dispute

While this division of labor was highlyKosygin's image as Brezhnev's co-eaual duringyears of the new

f""_ ^their relationshipontentious one. On the one hand, Kosygin attempted to preserve public discussion of relations with non-communist states for himsolf. Brezhnev, on tho other hand, is known to have been dissatisfied with Kosygin's performance in international negotiationsfor example, in discussions with President Johnson at Glassboro in7 and with British Prime Minister Wilson in Moscow in He actively sought to limit Kosygin's authority and freedom to maneuver.

As Kosygin's political status in relation to Brezhnev declined, so also did his responsibility for the conduct of foreign affairs. Brezhnev gradually replaced him as the country's principal spokesman on foreign policy. Brezhnev now makes almost all of the prestigious foreign visits; Kosygin has not visited

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a major Western capital Brethnev also assumed responsibility for directing Soviet-US arras limitation negotiations; Kosygin has notoint communique on this subject since In addition Kosygin's stature was further diminished by the expanded foreign policy role given Podgorny. particularly in the Middle East and South Asia.

In spite of the decline in his foreign policy influence, Kosygin's governmental role confersforeign affairs responsibility upon hira. He still travels occasionally on important diplomatic missions. Moreover, he is frequently involved in high level negotiations in Moscow. ember of the USSR Defense Council he participates directly in formulating the USSR's ovorall defense ond strategic posture. Ho also still has principal responsibility on questions pertaining to foreign trade and economic relations. Thus, while he no longer rivals Brezhnev in influence on foreign policy decisionmaking or in the scope of responsibility in this area,ajor participant in the formulation and execution of policy.

Soviet-American Relations

Kosygin hasonsistent proponent of improved Soviet-US relations. He has particularly supported proposals designed to ease tensions and control the arms race between the two superpowers. While he has not stood alone within the Soviet leadership in advocating such steps, he probably bore much of the early burden in convincing others within the leadership to support this position. Ironically, as tho likelihood of roaching agreements with the US lncroasod nnd as Soviet support in principle for such accords grew, Kosygin was relocatedecondary rolo in promoting the Soviet position, while Brezhnev became its chief spokesman.

A consensus within the Soviet leadershipagreements with the.USide rangedeveloped only gradually. Kosyginconvinced shortly after the GlassboroPresidont Johnson and Secretary ofthat further Soviet-American effortsthe strategic arms race by mutualin the Soviet interest. told

that Kosygin,

atter nis loiurn to Moscow, naa orderedtudy on tho arms race in spite of military objections. Int the ceremony for signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and only one month after Foreign Minister Gromyko had broached the idea publicly, Kosygin'became the first Politburo member toolicy of socking an agreement on the "limitation and subsequent reduction of the means of delivery of strategic weapons" with the US. He repeated his endorsement on several occasions thereafter. Most other Soviet leaders remained quiet on the subject in this early period.

Kosygin's public endorsement of armscorresponded closely with the views he expressed privately. He discussed disarmament and armsat lengtheeting with formerof Defense McNamara ineeting requested by Kosygin.Kosygin, according to McNamara, showed far more interest in theso subjects than he had at Glassboroonths earlier. In hiswith McNamara he noted that disarmament was an "Imperative necessity" and tho only alternative to "insanity and war." He asserted that seriousto bringeneral lesseningradual solution to disarmament problems were essential. Ho.assured McNamara that the USSR would cooperate In trying to achieve these objectives.

Over the next six years, however, the strength of Kosygin's support for improved Sovlot-American relations varied considerably. Both domestic and international circumstances Initially made forceful

advocacy of improved relations politically sensitive. Some Soviet leaders, including Suslov, Podgorny and Shelest, appear to have been particularly suspicious of efforts to improve the relationship. In addition, Vietnam and the situation in tho Middle East created obvious difficulties for any such effort. Kosygin therefore appears to have become somewhat defensive about the US during thend very. In1 election speech, for example, he explicitly linked the failure to improve US-Soviet relations with US policies in Vietnam and the Middle East.

We cannot draw some kind of line between our bilateral relations and the aggressive policy of imperialist circles of the United States, the barbarity committed in Indochina by US troops, the disregard for other peoples, and the crude trampling of their lawful rights and interests. Soviet-American relations cannot but be negatively affected by such 8cts of the US as practical support for the expansion of Israel in the Middle East and opposition to the lessening of tensions in Europe.

Nevertheless, throughout tho difficult period92 he continued to advocate the needetter relationship with the US. "Goode said, "would correspond with the interests of peace^hole." In contrast, more ideologically-oriented figures such as Suslov tended to emphasize instead the "great danger" posed by "Americanhe need to "continuously perfect the defense of the country and arm the Soviet army and navy with the most modernnd the importance of continued vigilance against "perfidious imperialist plans."

2 on, the political atmosphere In the Kremlin changed dramatically, as the prospects for reaching agreement with the US on arms limitations improved. Kosygin's analysis of the international

(.'situation was no longer, soe becameroore optimistic about future relations with "the US and positive about the advantages of the improved -relationship. or example, he disagreed sharply with Suslov's characterization of relations wilh tne:West as "unceasing confrontation." On the contrary, Kosygin asserted that, there hadistoric:change in Soviet-American--relations from "confront iin to negotiation and detente." In Kosygin's view the improvement in Soviet-US relations, rather than being hindered by developments in other

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arts.of'the world, wasood environment or resolving international problems. "Were it not for the relaxation ofe noted, "events [the3 Middle East war] would only likely .havear more' dangerous outcome."

Although Kosygin has pushed for improved Soviet-US relations in their own right, he appears tothat improvement would be salutary for two reasons rolatcd to his oconomlc policy views. First, he apparontly favors the diversion of resources from military expenditures to the civilian economy. Ho has noted on mote than one occasion that the arms race has resultedreat waste of resources needed for social purposes. Without stable,relations with the US, however, any atter.pt to convince other leaders of the wisdom of shifting resources away from defense would bedifficult and politically imprudent.

Second, Kosygin favors expansion of scientific and technical cooperation and trade with developod industrial countries, particularly the US. Kosygin believes the economy must be modernized and labor productivity improved. In his view, improved economic relations with the West, would assist both objectives.e remarked that "no single country can develop in isolated conditions without extensiveand scientific and technical exchange in various spheros."* Subsequently, in his meeting with

*Thia atatonent uao made onlyaye afterhie initial supporttrategio

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McNamara in November he expressed particular interest in obtaining the assistance of US firms in expanding Soviet truck production capability.

Obviously, however, problems have occurredhome and abroad which have inhibitedeconomic ties. Within the Soviet Union theseeking expanded economic ties generallytechnology specifically has beenfor example,.in the springith Kosygin'se argued thatobviously underestimate the achievementsthinking in our country andsocialistt the same time,overestimate the achievements of sciencein the capitalist world." Kosygin,of this rebuke, was undeterred. isitingsome

"old timers" in the USSR diuf orthe need for international industrial cooperation. In5 election speech Kosygin himself alluded more in sorrow than in anger, to US trade laws that discriminated against the Soviet Union and hindered the developmont of'economic relations. Despite these difficulties, Kosygin has continued to insist that the problems encountered in Soviet-US economic dealings could be overcome and that detente was the key to achieving this objective. "The relaxation oftensions is contributing to the development of the USSR's economic, scientific, and technical cooperation with the countries of the capitalisttable economic^ scientific, and technical links are making it possible to utilizeide scale the advantages ofjthe international divisions of labor in the interest of. the national economy."

Even though Kosygin supports improved Soviet-US relations in general and strategic arms constraints in particular, it is not clear how much movement from the current Soviet-position he would advocate to reach anThere is no information about his views on specific- issues being negotiated at SALT. He has for some years argued, like Brezhnev, that agreements should be based on the principle of

equality, providing neithor side with unilateral advantages. While there is insufficient evidence to judge how he would apply this ambiguous criterion in varying circumstances,,it seems likely that he shared the general Politburo reaction to the7 US SALT proposals as being "unequal" and unacceptable.

Sino-Soviet Relations

The Soviet leaders haveough stance toward the People's Republic of China during the Brezhnev period. They have been uncompromising in their refusal to acknowledge the validity of any Chinese charges against them. At the same time, they acknowledge their desire for more normalif the Chinese become more cooperative and from time to time make gestures such as halting their polemical attacks against Peking.

Kosygin has supported this position faithfully. He has, however,ore temperate tone in his public discussion of the Chinese problem than some other Soviet leaders. While-reciting such standard Soviet charges against the Peking leadership as anti-Sovietism and anti-detente policies, he has usually avoided personal denunciations of Chinese leaders or the threatening rhetoric employed by some in the Kremlin hierarchy. Moreover, he, like other Soviet leaders, has customarily voiced the professed Soviet desire toolution to the border problem and normalize state-to-state relations.

The Chinese have asserted that Kosygin actually made concessions in meetings with them9 which Brezhnev subsequently vetoed. There is no evidence to support the Chinese contention. In fact, the Chinese have consistently misrepresented Kosygin's negotiating posture of moderation to embarrass and attack tho CPSU and specifically Brezhnev, the chief Soviet spokesman on this question.

Kosygin's public moderation should not be

C ^. There is no indication that he disagrees with the prevailing leadership consensus. Hewould oppose, however, policies that could heighten tensions and lead to military conflict.

Soviet Policy in the Middle East

Kosygin has been closely involved with the formulation and execution of Soviet policy in the Middle East. He has visited most of the major countries in the area. Moreover, heoviet trouble-shooter during73 Arab-Israel wars. During7 war, he was involved with Brezhnev in hotline discussions with President Johnson; later he personally presented the Soviet position during the UN debates on the problem. 3 heasty visit to Cairo to persuade Egyptian President Sadat toease-fire.

Yet Kosygin's role and influence on Middle Eastern policy generally declined as Brezhnev's foreign policy stature rose. During3 war, for examplo, Brezhnev clearly emerged as the principal Soviet leader--undertaking tho main initiatives, arranging vital meetings, and supervising most policy discussions. Nevertheless, Kosygin has remained actively involved in this foreign policy area. He visited Libya5 and Syria and Iraqountries which had assumed increased significance for the USSR as Soviot-Ugyptlan relations deteriorated. It then became Kosygin's task to voice Soviet discontent to the Syrians over the Syrian intervention into the Lebanese civil war.

Thore appears to be little substantive difference between Kosygin's views concerning developments in the Middle East and those of his colleagues. He almost certainly supportod the increased Soviet military and political involvomont In tho avea following7 war. He has alsoolitical solution to the

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Arab-Israeli dispute. Like his associates he insistsolitical settlement include withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Arab lands, guarantees of security for all states in the region, andof the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

Evenonoral leadership consensus exists on the major issues, there is some evidence that Kosygin and Brezhnev have at various times in recent years been less inflexible and somewhat less ardent in support of Arab interests than their former colleague, Podgorny. Since the3 war, both lenders have supported the Palestinians' right to their own state, but only some months after Podgorny first broached the idea in Kosygin, inhas acknowledged more explicitly than any other Soviet leader that Israel would have to receive border guaranteesolitical settlement.

In spite of the serious difficultieshas encountered in the Middle East inthere is no indication that Kosygin favorsshift In that policy. He has, however,frustration, laced with bitterness, aboujin the region. He thus acknowledged

last year that the US had

ga"ined the upper hand in dealing with Egypt, the former cornerstone of the Soviet presence in the Middle East, and blamed Egyptian President Sadat for this turn of events. Kosygin apparently hopes that this reversal can be offset by strengthening *ies with Syria, Libya, andolicy he hasajor role in Yet, the unhappinoss oxprossod by Kosygin over the deterioration of relations with Egyptthat he, and probably other Soviet leaders, are* convinced for the present that Soviet interests have not been well served by this arrangement.

Soviet Relations with Bastern Europe

The original division of labor among Kremlin loaders as well as Kosygin's Institutionalhave combined to limit his involvement with

ruling and non-ruling Communist parties. Yet, in some areas at least, he hasignificant role. He has been responsible for coordinating bilateral economic relations with the East European states and has also been concerned with CEMA In addition, he has occasionally become directly involved in political issues affecting Soviet relations with various Warsaw Pact countries. Inor example, he was involved in Soviet attempts toolitical solution to the growing Czechoslovak crisis; later he helped to negotiate the treaty which provided for the stationing of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia. His contacts withof nonruling Communist parties, on the other hand, are virtually nonexistent.

Flexibility and pragmatism characterise Kos/gln's general approach toward relations with Eastern Europe. While ho has on occasion discussed the importance of unity within the "socialist community" and even attacked the Chinese for attempting to split it, Kosyjjin has not given great attention to this problem. Moreover, he rarely uses the term "proletarianode words intended by conservative idealogues like Suslov to signal Moscow's continuing ambition to dominate as much as possible of the world Communist movement.

Kosygin's reaction tozechoslovakia8 reflects his basically moderate viewpointMoscow's relations with Communist states. The docision to invade Czechoslovakia in8 sharply divided tho Soviet Jeadcrship. Although the position of some Soviet leaders on this question remainsthere is little doubt about Kosygin'she was firmly opposed to military intervention. Prior to the invasion,voided any mention of the burgeoning crisis. Hisublic discussion of the issuo contained no threatening or hostile rhetoric about developments in Czechoslovakia. Rathor,ews conference in Sweden ino emphasized that he was confident that the Czechoslovak Communist Party would yield its loading role to no one and that

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the Czechoslovak people and Communists wouldattack on the socialist character of the state.in contrast, only one week

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tressed precisely whatindicated wasroblem; namely, theof the party was endangered and socialismwas being threatened. After theKosygin reportedly remonstrated tothe intervention had succeeded primarilypopular unity in Czechoslovakia,implying that the unity was based on Kosygin also appears to have hadin the Czechoslovak leadership thanhis associates.

he hadriendly, relaxed relationship witli Czechoslovak Premier Oldrich Cernik, who was arrested by the Soviets during the first hours of tho invasion. This personal relationship with Cernik continued even aftor the invnsion. Moreover, even as latewo months before First Secretary Dubcek was removed fron office--Kosygin was reliably reported to have privately described him to other lcodorsgood socialist."

Kosygin, therefore, cannot be closely identified with the prevailing leadership view concerning relations between the USSR and Eastern Europe. While he may haveoderating force at times, his influence has clearly been limited. He has traditionally deferred to Brezhnev's leadership in this area. At the same time, Kosygin has not had an active role in monitoring oviot relations with non-ruling Communist parties. Nevertheless, just as he indicated opposition to the invasion of Czechoslovakia, so he has also indicated by his silence--in sharp contrast to Podgorny and Suslov--his reluctance to ondorse the tough line taken recently by the Kremlin toward Eurocommunism. In neither case has ho evidently had sufficient influence to prevent the formationeadership consensusarsher policy than he thought advisable.

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