CURRENT SOVIET ATTITUDES TOWARD THE US (SNIE 11-9-69)

Created: 7/17/1969

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

9

,A HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED

Current Soviet Attitudes Toward the US

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Concur.od fn by m* UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD

Ai Indicated overleaf9

Authenticated-

j^nkUTIVE SECRETARy/ySiB

CONrffOUCD DIGfiCM-

The following intelligence organizations participated in tha preparation of this estimate:

The Central Intelligence Aoency ond iho hrolligence orgonitotloni ot rhoof Stole ond Defense, ond tha MSA.

Concurnngi

Dr.J. Smith, for the Deputy Direcior,ull'.gence

Mr,ughes, the Daotfor of Intelligence ond Research, Department of State

U. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, lhe Director, Defense Intetligenco Aoency U. Gen. Marshall S. Coder, the Direcior, National Security Agency Mr. Chorles A. Sommer, for tho Assistant General Manager, Atomic Energy Com-

A6sfaining i

Mr. Winiom O. Crogar, lor lhe Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the subject being outside of his (wlid-ciion.

,m IT HUNnformation ofteding the Notional Deteiio t- |pnnil lfln

sviihlni H] mi I l,

f which in any manner to an unauthorded person

srJm foj^gn (

aaxntatuforthrough tha HISIORICK. VTTZSM PHCGPAH ot NOcy.

CURRENT SOVIET ATTITUDES TOWARD THE US

This paper responds lo certain specific questions concerning US-Soviet relations posed by DIA on behalf of the Commander in Chief,ore comprehensive survey of the principal factors which underlie thc USSR's foreign policies and its International aims and intentions was issued eatller this year, "Basic Factors and Main Tendencies in Current Soviet Policy,'* datedECRET, CONTROLLED DISSEM).

That estimate concluded that, short of major changes in the Soviet system at home, the outlook is for chronic tensions in Soviet-American relations. It also concluded that Soviet policy toward the US would probably be crutractcrired by cautious opportunism and Lunitcdperhaps with some increased watchfulness against theof uncontrolled risks. We retain oar belief in the validity of both of these basic judgments. At thc same time, we note the development of increased Soviet alaim over the future course of relations withChina. This alarm is likely at leastime to have animpact on Soviet foreign policy overall: specifically, it tends toomewhat more forthcoming Soviet attitude toward relations with lhc US nnd toward particular issues affecting the relationship.

I. THE USSR'S BASIC STANCE TOWARD THE US

oviet hostility toward the US and thc West ir. general was bom with the Bolshevik Revolutiont was nourished by US participation in the Allied mtlitary intei vent ions which followed, and sustained throughy thc continuing struggle againsi "class enemies" at home and abroad It diminished during World War II, but thenigh point of sorts In thr, during the last few years of Stalin.

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2 With Stalin's death, official attitude* were tempered somewhat. Under Khrwihehev. thc notion of capitalUt encirclement was dbearded. Limited contacti with the outside world, including the US, were permitted, and thc line toward the West began to fluctuate in in tensity andotably ambivalent tone Thc US was stut evil, but 'sober' elements la il were capable. In cflcct, of good, the US icmained the hostile leader of lhc knperudiils. but it was not rvacetsarily seeking war; the USSR was still duty bound to defeat or convert the US. but world peace could somehow be assured if only the two countries could get together. And policies toward the US began to reflect the same kind of confusing miature. ranging in mood aodm lhe urgent and provocative to the related and conciliatory,

Khnnhchcvs more conservative successors have sought greater consistency and have lightened and toughened the approach. They emphasise that,angerous and devious adversary, the US is to be both distrusted and despised. Nevertheless. Ihey continue lo maintain that it Is oVsirable for the two powers to keep tines open to one another and. hie Khrushchev, they still hold out the hope thai mutual hostility aod suspicion might some day decline.

Thc cuiient altitude of thc Soviel leaders ate. of course, conditionedeneral set o( Ideas, many of them Ideologically predetermined.dogma affects the way in which these men analyze the problems that confront them and, in general, influences Iheir manner of regarding themselves, their soclely, und thc world at large. It reinforces their feelings of distrust and hot-tility toward thc US and severely limits their abilily to approach mutual problemic slblmood. Moreover, the Soviet leaders now believe themselvesariety of reasons to be on thc ideological defensive; this hasood of "fearful conservatism" which is likelyeet the tone of Soviet-American relations adversely for some time lo come.

5 But despite Ihe undeniable effects of doctrine, notudeolog-ical ronriiirratsora ate playing an mcreasingly important role in the formulation ol Soviel foreign poliries. The USSR tends to behave moreorld power than ai tlie center of Ihe world revolution. Thus the Soviets are inclined to establish inlematlonsl priorities in accordanceore traditional view of Russian security interestsore realistic view of ibe pmsihililses for expanding their influence. The USSRhrusting and ambitious power, concerned to enlarge its world position But it tempers its ambitions with estimate? of opportunity and controls its hostility wiih measuremenls ol power and risk. These opportunity/riskarc illustrated by thc USSR's conduct in ihree areas which have figured prominently In Soviet-American contrnhon in recent years. Korea. Vietnam, andk East.

orea Moscow has for some time sought loNorth Korearo-Soviet stance In the Sino-Soviet dispute. This has involved fairly frequent visits to

NO FoyTGN OISSEM

Pyongyang by 'op Sovicl leadersubstantial Soviet military aidt hai not. however, caught thc Soviet! up in any direct support of adventurous North Korean tactics against the ROK and against the US. On the contrary, we believe that the Soviets have counseled Pyongyang to proceed with caution. Piovoeativi North Korean behavior not only raises iIkt risk of war on thc USSR's doorstep, but complicates Soviet policies toward the US, Japan, andn any event. Pyongyang's relations with die USSB remain somewhat drained, and Pyongyang's aspirationsls the South are not of prime importance to the USSR.

here have been reports of Soviet colluiion with Pyongyang in tlie seizure of the Pueblo and the shootdown of the Americane do not Snd tliesc reportsuchould be contrary lo general Soviet interests, as described above. It would also seen, in view of the large sole Sovietcollection effort in International waters.mid air space, contrary toSoviet interests as well. We have, in any ease, reviewed the evidence specifically concerning the USSR's attitudes and policies toward these incidents and have concluded not only (hat Moscow was not Involved its planning them but that it witnessed both affairs with some considerable discomfiture and

ietnam. The role played by the USSR in the Vietnam war5ore striking and more important example of Soviet Opportunity/riskThe opportunityby eaterun've material support to Hanoi, to help bringerious revcise for the US and at the same time to contest Chinese in-

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NODISSEM

NO FORfjfBN DISSEM

In Vietnam arid elsewhere io Southeasthe risk was not only oipotable iJTned encoanter wiih the US in the area hut aboadicalof relations with thc USevelopment which might bringcosts and risks at other points of coa/rontatioa Throughout the Vietnam war the Soviets haveareful hoc. They have given material and political support to Hanoi in ways which they believed would minimize thc likelihood of dangerous US responses. While until the opening of the Parts talks theyharply hostile tone toward thc US, they also refrained from provoking any crises elsewhere* and were willing to pursue negotiations with the US on such issues as KPT. Since the Paris talks began, they haveone which evidences their hope of persuading the US thatto Hanoieneficial effect on tlie negotiations of oilier Soviet-American issues

Middle East. For Ihe last dozen years or so the Soviets haveMiddle East as an area of confrontation with the Western Powers, Inthe US, but they abo probably saw it as an area offering muchopportunity than of risk. Their ties with and material support to thestates were aimed al using these States as Instruments toinfluence an thehe likelihood of any direct encounter withseemed slight. With thc AiaWlscaell war of7 and theof their clients, the Soviet', appear to haveharpenedthe risks of Iheir policy. Even now, however, they probably are lessabout the likelihood of direct confrontation widi the US than Iheytheir considerable investment and Influence will he jeopardized tidierArab-Israeli hostilities or by untoward political developments withinstains, especially Egypt. Their moves to work with the USan attempt to contain these risks, though tbey clearly do not Intend tocompetition for influence in the area.

II. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AffECTING THE RELATIONSHIP

USSR's calculations of opportunity and risk, lit general concernsa world power, and even its appiehemaons about the securitySoviet homeland, have been greatly complicated by the leadership'swith the problem of China. Indent, there Is good reason lo believe

' Soviet military aituUnre lo Konh Vietnam begaoarge icele, in IKS and lime, then hai totaled anillion. It reachedpeak textafia the inrairi of USbout

'M, uw USSR hii pouted. Or hai promised le pour, file lit* area vnneilittM

In economic axtita-iee aod roughlyillion In military aid. Of (hear amouiili. lhe ihre*

principal rtUcal Arsb itatci -thr UAR. Syria, aadimKrd or Lata mW ewe

tltrao) ol V* rrononr aid and overercentCthon) otdltaiy

Meat ol tbe bitince hit fjone in Inn, Turkey. Yemen, lhe Sudan, and Algeria. All fijurci

SECF

NOISSEM

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that the Soviet leaden bow tee China aa theit most pressing internationaland axe beginning to tailor their polleteither Issue* accordingly. They have begun publicly to luggest the need for tome form of collective security arrarigcmeot In Asia, largely, apparently. In order lo contain China. And they have, in addition, taken Ihe position thai, because of tho China problem, the USSil ihould generally seek lo avoid provoking unnecessary difficulties with the US.

The Soviets do not, of course, contemplate any sacrifice of essential pes. lions or any renunciation of tradilional doctrines; they continue to view lhe US as basically their strongest adversary; Indeed, ihey fear lhat the US mightcome to work against Soviet Interests in collusion with China. But ihey clearly now believe lhal hostility toward Ihe US and Ihe West should be muted, at leas', as long as relations with the Chinese remain so lense

Thc Soviet attitude loward lhe new administration in the US re maimcircumspect Provocative acts and statements Iiave for the most part been avoided. There have been standard denunciations ol US policies and continuing attacks on "warmongers" In the US establishment, but the President lias been praised as well as critiorrd (though not harshly bynd it has been said thai there are reasonable men In the US who seek peace. Propaganda has on tbe wliolesrait-and-see altitude, perhapsildlyassessment of proipects for an improvement In the relationship.

Indeed, despite iheir many reasons for sober concern about their positionis the US, the Soviets seem now to regard this lalationship incautiously optimistic light. Their relative rmlj'ars strength, especially in strategic swapoos. lias greatly improved over the past sla or seven yean. Their influence us certain importanl counlries ofurd World has grosvn, and fear of Soviet aggressive ness has been declining, even- -despite tlie invasion of Cieehoslovakla in Wesl em Europe. During the same period, the Soviets have seen dorrsestic stability in the US tested by disorders aad severe political discord, and have observed increasing signs of public diserichant merit with the scope of tlie US role in internaffairs.

U. The USSB has alsoelatively restrained approach lo Western Europe We do not think that the current campaign for European security signals Moscow's intention to abandon previous positions On the contrary, the Soviets arc al least as aiudous as ever to gain recognition of the status quo.he division of Cermany and the exirleitreiegitimate Soviet sphere In Eastern Europe. Bul ihey do not now seem disposed to stress thc more controversial aspects of their position, nor do they appear ready lo drama Ine theit views through provocative acts, as for example, in Berlin. At the same tune, ihey no longer emphasize the notion that the US should stand clear of an ill-European settlement.

SEGftr

no foremen dissem

ha strongest and most emotional Languafr used by the Soviets li tttrm directed agamst China, noi tit* US and thc other Western powers. This shift In the intensity nf feeling about foreign adversaries seems to have been reflected lo thc USSR's apparently liKreailng wulingncss to discuss specific Issues with thc US. TTWs. though tbe Soviet view of thc US-USSB strategic reUUrjoship is ervcrriding. Moscow's current preoccupation with China has probably had some bearing on Its attitude toward thc desirability ol talks on strategic arms control. Indeed, problems witb Chin* may have encouraged the Soviets to look upoo arms control measures with growing interest, seeing ineans toitb tbe US and to bring additional pressures to bear on Peking.

n the held of stralegic armaments, thc Soviets now must ponder the effects of an arms control agreement in view of their improved position None of tlie courses open to them can bo wholly appealing. An effort to surpass, or even to keep pace with the US In tlse development and deployment of advanced weapons systems would require continued high eipeodituies. perpetuate the resource squeeze on thc civilian economy, and perhaps divert funds from other military programs. And in tlie process, Moscow could have no assuiancc that it would be able to compete wcessfully with US technological prowess. On the otheroviet decision not to try to keep pace with the US seems highly unlikely;ourse would surrender many of thc (mils of past Investment and allow the political perils of strategicthe Soviets conceive ofre-emerge.ecision lo seek serious arms control measures would not be easily reached. Tlie Soviet leaders arc ambitious, opportunistic, and suspicious men. They are unlikely lo concludetrategic arms agreement is acceptable unless they are ormvtnced that achieving anduperior position is not feasible in the future, and that ihe national interest could lie servedort of strategic stshiliration. On neither count does it scetn likely that all Hie leaders would reach full agree meet

t is still our belie! that the Soviets have strongperhaps stronger than everconsider carefully the whole problem of strategic arms control In the interim since our lasl estimates eonceTcing this subject, we have seen nothing winch would alter thisn lhe con-iiary, the USSR's approach to thc problem so for tins year tends to confirm it The Soviets have not concealed their suspicions of US motives. Nor have they hidden their discontent with certain US attitudet and statements, is particular US suggestions that there shouldinkage between arms control and other, broader issues. But they have abo sought to appear patient sbout the liming of arms control talks and have tried to convince the US thai ihey have retained anotin tlie negotiation of an agreement.

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SECRET. CONJKOLLtUE3 -Rant Faewn and Mam

in Currem SovietatedebruaryhCTtET. CONTROLLED DISSEM

se/et

NO FOREffN DISSEM

CENTRAL INTEUIGENCE AGENCY

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