MARCH CRISIS 1948, ACT II

Created: 4/1/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

STUDIES IN

INTELLIGENCE

A collection ol articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.

All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence arc those of

the authors They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be conslrued as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations.

No Fore*

A Soviet exception operation fails, and VS. intelligence relapses into departmental ism.

MARCHCT IIarris

While VS. intelligence agencies hammered out unanimous no deliberate-war estimate* on Marchhus laying to rest tbe scare robed by Ceneral Clay's "blockbuster" cable ofnd closing down the first act of thehe Soviets were nearing the operational stageeception plan on whichad been working since at leastot many facts are Icnown but some inferences can be made about this planning for what became the crisis' second act1

The Preparation

Itnown that since at least7 the Soviets had been toying with the Idea of ousting the Western powers from Berlin. After the breakdown of the London Conference of Foreign Ministers inf not before, they made tbe definite decision. The ouster was evidently planned to follow tbe coup in Czechoslovakia that was duly effected in late February and more immediately the one in Finland that aborted prematurely in mid-March, and it was to precede and exert Influence on tbe Italian elections in April which Togbatti hoped to win. Detailed planning was presumably doneeries of conferences in Moscow to which some key figures were recalled in January:erin from Prague, at about this time appointed Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman,Chairman, of that experiment in intelligence organization called the Komitet lhformatsii; Minister Alcksandr N. Abramov, on the pretext of ilinen, from Helsinki; and Marshal Sokolovskiy bom Berlin. Major General P. M. Malkov, deputy to tbe commander. Lr, Ceo L. A. Malinia. of the MVD (Interior Ministry) security forces in Germany, bad already been recalled, late in December, when

' Fornd rafartnee to aoorcaa. aaa.

be returned to Berlio In March tt would be with operational orders for bis troops.

Tbe Soviets expected to drive the West era powers outtaged show of airoop maneuvers and tedeploymenti. coupled with alarming indications for the benefit ofar scare and demonstrate their readiness to enforce crippling restrictions oo access to Berlin. In January they tested their ability to halt Allied surface transportatioo to the city, demanding inspection. military freight train entering their rone on the 6th and then forcing the removal of German passengersritish military train onh. Also in January. General Zhukov arrived, presumably to oversee the military preparations. He would stay in Cermany. except for quick visits to Moscow, until the troops began to move at the end of March.

By early February tho Soviets bad ceotrallxrd their inteUigence organization in Cermany under the control of Colonel Genera) B. Z. Kobulov. former bead of the MCB (State Security) ForeignDirectorate. While MVD and Red Army troops, assisted by German police forces, would execute the field operations planned for March, it was probably hohulov who was in charge of deceptive mdications, alarming reports, and false confirmations for Alliedlt ii possible that one of the brains behind the Soviet deception plan was an MCB colonel in hisall aod lanky Armenian named Ivan Ivanovich Agayants wbo in more recent years has built an entire dcxin/oerrurfjiya department in tbe KCB; but no definite evidence of his involvement has turned up. Topside eoordi-natjoo may be seen in the visits made to Berlin la March by Zona biding tbe Bush of his Cxech triumph under the cover namend by Beriya himself.

In the aftermath of Prague, the March curtain-raiser, the Finnish coup, failed. On the 9th "flying squads" of communists canvassed Helsinki newspaper offices warning them not to printariation oo the flying-squad tactics so successful in Prague the month before. Tbe coup may have been planned for the time when many of the more prominent non-communist Firms would be tn Moscowriendship TreatyMarchr shortlyBut oo Marchhe patriotic coenmunist Yrjo Lemo. Minister of the Interior, disclosed the plot to Ceneral SuVvo, Chief of the Ceneral Staff, who placed tbe Finnish Army on alert and brought reliable troops into Helsinki The failure, for which Central Com-

10

mittee Secretary A. A- Zhdanov and his rubordinite A. A. Kuznctsov would in good time be publicly blamed, thus came one day before the first signew crisis in Cermany.

The Berlin operation was going to have tooor man'sexpensive movement of new troops and materiel intoIt had to simulate preparations for an assault on Western Europeeriod which long-range plans had designated for an over-all reduction in Red Army strength on the orderen. Although figures on order of batde at the time are far from certain, they suggest that the contradiction was solved as follows. The Army forces In Europe suffered their share of theebruary, fromoen; but thewas uneven. Possibly moref the troops in Eastern Europe, excluding frontal Germany-Austrw-Czechoslovakia, transferred back to the Soviet Uoloo for denwbiliration or awaited assignment to the frontal areas.f the Air Forceleft the European theater, but none of it from Germany, Poland, or Austria until after March. Andf the Navy personnel left Eastern Europe, some rcturiiing to the USSR and others shifting to Austria.

Meanwhile,0 Army troops, including selected Mongols, Kalmucks, Tartars, aod Siberians, were readied for transfer to the well-observed frontal areas. In addition,0 MVD troops were shifted from the USSR to Cermany, so as to increase border security and obstruct tbe work of Allied intelligence. In short, while tbe Soviet armed forces in Eastern Europe declined by more0 men, those in tbe frontal areas increased byhus net Soviet strength in Europe was reduced by0 menanner suggesting mobilization for war.

First Action

Onmmediately after SokoJovskiy returned fromalong with Generals V. M. Sharov and P. M. Malkov. deployment orders were issued to German police. Red Army, and MVD troops. The directive to all commissars of the German police in the Soviet Zone read as foUows:

Untilpril lOtS, the entire polios force, especially in the bolder area, will be reinforcedegular police combat force which will be able to ftrtfce out to <aae of any emergracy, no matter what power will attempt to

Tbe uatguin.nl at omw crnourl to Individual MHaM wfll be oruWd and carried out by the SUA ISeMM MJ.ni> Adaussstratto tn Cennaayl.

All pottce pcnoonel are asbfsel la the eoeunand of Use Sovieteffectiva Ibe day ot thisbe assiranrnt olpenoooel to individual ttabonebe carried out by tbe Sovietup

Martha!oholovikiy

Tbe MVD and Army deployments were also designed to reach lull strength oo

Tbrse orders were of course oot known at the time to the Western powers, but two days latex.he figurative first shot was. fired, when Sokolovildy and the entire Soviet delegation walked' out of the Allied Control Council Western officials were not completely surprised, having been tipped off before the session that the Russians had prepared no post-meetinghree-year caviar and vodka tradition. Later VS. mtelhgence learned that the disruption of the Council had been decided oo by Marchnd that after the break Soviet Commandant Major Ceneral A. C. Kotikov remarked. The battle for Berlin has begun."

Ont was later learned, several of the more trusted members of tbe Carman party's Central Secretariat were briefed at the private residence of Wilhelm Pieck by Pieck and Ulbricht. who in turn had been briefed, apparently too reassuringly, by Zhdanov. Pieck said the Soviet Union "would carefully avoid being frightened into war by the aggressive policies of theUlbrlcht deprecated the Soviet war of nerves as "churlish" andchicanery."

Onnder authority of Marshal Sokolovskjy's order of tbe loth. Red Army. MVD, and German troopi commenced the field exercises and border activities planned. German policemen ofana known pobfical reliability were placed oo Alert Status III. the highest stage of readiness, and sent to border regions, while less trusted recruits replaced them In their villages and towns. Ceneral Malkov of the MVD declared that tbe entire border would be tightly closed as of Aprilew combat troops having joined his men already on duty oo the renal boundaries. The Soviet troops established guard postsard intervals all along the US. zone frontiers. Tbe German border police were now placed under newly-arrived Soviet officers; all were armed. At the Austrian zonal border Soviet reinfor cements restricted international transit, and along tbe border between Cxecbodovakia and the US. zone of

Germany there waseavy Increase" in the Dumber of border patrols, "fn many cases armed, for the first time, with automaticravel by Germans within the Soviet zone had been curtailed by new regulations onhese and new restrictions now imposed on Ceneral Hess and his officers at. Military Mission in Potsdam reduced the Bow of dependable intelligence about Soviet military activities.

Deihiforrnalsi^a

Besides trying to reduce the Bow of independent Allied intelligence, the Soviets utilized their knowledge of Allied intelligence practices to feed deceptive information into tbe system. It wasecret, for example, that the Cehlen Organization headquartered in PuIIachareful watch on military activities in the Soviet zone, and it was generally known that in times of trouble. Army's CIC increased the frequency and vigilance of border patrols. Among the mote ostentatious border activities arranged for the benefit of such intelhgence collectors during the two weeks after Marchere tbe following:

A thorough survey of troop billeting faculties within five miles of the biz one borders, mcluding all schools, hotels, and dance halls in the border region.

Warnings to local Germans that Soviet troops should be expected to require particularroops would have to be accommodated in each border village, it was reported at Manns-bach, for example.

Systematic daily kidnapping of German civilians from upards witbin. zone for intensive interrogation. troop strength, personnel, and disposition, followed by release at the zonal border.

An increase In tho number of intelhgence agents sent illegally into the US. and British zones, bringing various planted reports.

Encouragement of war rumors among the German civilians and wholesale Sights to the Western zones inconsistent with theSoviet border security, so that the number of refugees known to have entered. zone during March roseore than twice the average for the preceding year and exceeding the February count bynd that for April.

The issue of weapons to all border personnel; issues of full Geld ^equipment, blankets, and several days' supply or rations.

Muchurom Intelligence review recalled theunng th* latter put of Much and Use first of April. Much peblkity sad ballyhoo wuto the requisitioning of pnvtir bomes and public building" throughout th*ith pirbcuUr etnphaul oo th* borderfeview ofaa failed Id unite* l* aay substantial increase la troop strength la wwJJets wtucfa wen reoutsucoecl oaring thiiere eveatuaDyithout bav.Bg bees occupied- The utter disregard (or aresiritv, the ackaar* aotlfieaboo of the expected arrival ofad theo thiaboleiate tnjuii:booing of bdbtsouse ipprrhemwo on the part of Allied iotaUlgeise* ageackta, when run onquickly of (mrriirieivlww between East aad Weal jajajjr-,

The alarminghe border regioni commenced on Marchud continued through the first week in April, troopincreased in magnitude fromh throughnd were probably held at peak capacity through Aprilhe main targets of the deception were thus the Allied military Intelligence systems, whose standard patterns of operation would be especially transparent in tbe German situation, where either side could procure large numbers of local agents at lowmoney, cigarettes, or coffee. The border activi*ies would have been designed mostly for collection by CIC and the British intelligence patrols, and troop movements through Berlin and Potsdam mostly for tbeystem, Ceneral Hen's Military Mission at Potsdam, and thenetworks operated by Ceneral Gehlen. Although the British were subjected to some of the provocative border displays, tt would appear that most of these were concentrated against the United States, which formed the backbone of the Allies' stand in Cermany.

The Soviets' stimulation of alarming reports was more successful than their effort to choke the normal flow of Allied intelligence by trebling the number of border troops. Hereinatal weakness in the deception operation, for tbe alarming material was inconsistent with order-of-battle, logistic, and other intelligence which continued to filter through tbe Soviet security system. Many of the alarming reports, to be sure, concerned futuredependentsIn tbe Soviet Union, including children whose school had closed on Good Friday,h. would not return to Austria or Cermany, that reinforcements were due from the USSR, or from Poland, or from Czechodovakia, that new aircraft were coming from tbe USSR, that requisitioned houses, hotels, dance halls, and schoolf would soon be occupied by newly-arrived tscops, that dvtlian traffic had been ordered off arterial highways in Eastern Europe to make

way for mflitary convoyi about to move lo the west. But most of these future events should have had current antecedents, antecedents inconsistent with reports that the situation In Poland remained staticen in the Soviet forces there, that movements of materiel westward through Poland were actually declining, that some of the forces In Eastern Europe were being demobilized, that port activities in the Baltic remained at normal levels, that no troop movements from Czechoslovakia to Germany could be ccmfirmcd, that no major training programs were under way In the Soviet home or Far East commands.

In addition to planting these reports that reirdorceroenti were due from the east, the Soviets utilized whit forces they did hive in Central Europe so as to create the impression that they were more numerous than they actually were, and they grouped them in asanner as possible. In these efforts they were at least partially successful. During the middle weeks of March Marshal Zhukov traveled along the frontal areas of the Soviet zone accompanied by his headquarters staff. After concentrating his inspection near Eisenach, where any rail or autobahn convoys from the US. zone would pass, he moved on to Magdeburg, through which any from the British zone would pass. Abouth of March he was seenaptainolonel at the border town of Wartha and was scheduledorthward inspection trip to Schwrrin. near. zonal border in Mecklenberg. On Marchs Soviet troops moved into the border staging areas, he flew back to Moscow, possibly accompanied by Beriya.

Between Marchnd Apriln conjunction with the movement to staging and maneuver areas close to the zonal borders, the Soviets moved many of their troops past the Allied intel!igeT.cc vantage points in Berlin and Potsdam. They apparently even used tbe old trick, according tofficials, of rear cling troops to march past known observers in slightly altered formations. Eucom'sintelligence officerlurry of reports of westbound troop trains; be sensed something peculiar about them at the time, but it was not until beetailedonth later that be came to the only explanation consistent with traffic patterns and rolling stock supplies: the trains were being circledas at least temporarily convinced that the Soviets had moved0 troops into their zone of Germany when in fact they had moved. Allf their divisions In Germany were on alert status, some deployed to forward areas where they maneuvered

EI

Crisis II

gelber as divisions to, according,arled departure from lire usual small-unit training phase prescribed for the winter months."

By Easter Sunday,oviet intelhgence undoubtedly had feedback oo the mounting alarm in the West;. Air Force and some of the Scandinavian armed forces bad been put on alert. On Mondayigh Sovietto have been Foreign Ministerin Berlin with new instructions for Marshal Sokolovskiy. The next evening Sokolovskiy'* deputy, Ceneral Dratvin, sent bis Westernotification that all Allied traffic through the Soviet zone would be reouired,.efJective at rnfdnighMmo submit to Soviet inspection. This was the climaxonth of mounting tension in Moscow's rtervtsikrieg.

TMsqutet in the West

Meanwhile In Washington, the agreed estimates ofnndhat Moscow was not about toew war had not dispelled all nervousness.

On that day Secretary of Defense Forrestal recorded in his diary:

Papers this morulag full of rumors and portents ofht fact Is that this country and its goremmeol are desperately anxious ta avoid war. It Isuestion of how beat to do iL If all Europe lies Bat while die Russian mob tramps over it, we wiD then be faoedar under difficult dreunwtxnera. andery good chance of losing tt.

It is ilscorscervable that even the gang who run Russia would be willing to take oo war, but one always has to remember that there seemed to be oo reason9 for Hitler lo start war, aod yet be did, and he started IIorld practically unprepared. Our effort now Is to try to make tbe Russians see the folly of continuing an aggression which will lead to war, or, if it is impossible to restore them to sanity, that we at leasttart which will enable us to prevent being caught fiat-footed as we were in

Army Director of Intelligence Ceneral Cbambcrhn. continued to emphasize tbe estimates "nevertheless" clause allowing for anconflagration. Onh be sent all Army commands theurvey of the international situation:

Heightenedorld capitals past week probably results (from] cumulative reaction to Communistof Caechealovakia and SovietOOvert nunrfestatioas of (ear and distrust between East and West continue to to crone. Possibility therefore enhanced that mischsnte or miscalculation might provoke bceSiLtieo.

Secretary of the Army Boyall suggested to President Truman anil Secretary of State Marshall that the agreed turnover of the German)

occupation to ihe Stale Department onext should bemdefinitely; this suggestion was later adopted, on

In Germany, Ceneral Clay continued to advocate stout nerves.elecon with Washington on Marche said:

Received your subject notice, re Bow ol dependents. From strictly military viewpoint, stoppage of now end gradual reduction bere is logical sod car. not be argued against.

Nevertheless cow that dependents are bere behave stoppage and reduction would be politically

For iosUoce, withdrawal of dependents from Berlin would create hysteria BCCCflipanjed by rush ot^Carrnarss.to .ccjfmunisai for safety. Withdrawal from race first would create panic tn dependents la Berlin. *"

This condition would spread In Europe and would Increase communist political rtrenrth everywhere and particularly Italy unless as we withdraw dependents, we concurrently brought In new railitary

There was little in the way of military indications, but

Ceneral Hess does report large concentration near Eisenach which com. mauds approach to Dreaxteo-Frruikfuji autobahn and what may bave some significance first report of heavy pontoon bridge train southeast of Berlin.

Also oohe Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom. France, and the Benelux countries gathered in Brussels for the signing of the fifty-year mutual defense treaty known as the Brussels Pact According to Sir Ivone Kiikpatrick, wbo accompanied Foreign Secretary Bcvin to the conference, "One of the [Foreign] Ministers said that the Russians would be in Paris by August, an opinion in whit* the French Chief of Staff [General Bevers] concurred."

President Truman,olnt session of Congress that day, was more reassuring. Although he reported 'a critical situation in Europe today* and advocated rearmament, UMT, and selective service, he declared that war was avoidable.

Two days after the Soviet delegation disrupted tbe Allied Control Council, General Chamberlin, oorypto-destruct alert throughout his military attache system:

As normal pracautsoaary measure desire you verify availability destructive means and proper instmctioti of using personnel to Insure prompt destruction all cryptographic maioul yourase emergency. Acknowledge receipt.

The alert wasatter of routine, but sending It did not mean that General Chamberlin now disagreed with the no-deliberate-war estimate in which he had concurred eight days before. As be explained

in the weekly summary o( the Internitlonal sir nation he lent to all rnilitary attaches and army commands the next day,

Rutsiaat wafted out Allied Control Council meeting, and have stow refusedCoordinating Committee and Directorateventualthia pramediated aeuna oot cl*ar but may be another move tn attempt oust other powers Berlin. Doubted Soviets prepared terminate (our powerermany at tbu tJoM.

CIA's last estimate on the Berlin situation,f the precedingad predicted the Soviets would try to oust the Allies fromprobably use every means short of armed force to compel these powers to leave thehis view was sell current within CIA's OSee of Reports and Estimates, and within its Berlin station.

A State Department intelligence officer In the Office of tbe Political Adviser in Berlin,orris, writing on Marchemo on "Tbe Soviet-Communist Campaign foroted that the campaign "hasew phase of intensity" and continued:

oma loeal observers believe *uch an ultimatum (demaixiing Western withdrawal) may be forthcoming In the nert lew weeks, to be followed, if tbe Western Powers reject It, by direct Interference with their lines of com. mnnlcatJona between Berlin and the Western Zones. FoDowtng (heh meeting of the Controleems probable that this wfll In fact he the course of events, eieept that no actual ultima nun may be jpveo. What isbit tbe Soviets bave now cleared the decks for further action by their itslement that the Control Council is "no longer the supreme organ of Covenunenl in Germany."

On the policy-makingelecon was held oo Marchy Secretary Boyall. Ceneral Bradley, and civil affairs chief Ceneral Noce with Ceneral Clay in Berlin:

[Secretaryhere have bam many changes in tbe iatenataoal era*boo the last slatyope, andradley roioj me to CUs hope, that you will nay on the rob at least through tbe present calendar year Ton are urgently needed there.

(Generaladartialna an army offices as long aa the Departmentao want to retire as soonaa aad tha Armywe too rnasch to tha Army not to remain withtm

In summary, it was the consensus among intelligence officials that war was unlikely but that we could expect trouble fax Cermany and an effort to oust the Allies from Berlin. It was the consensus among policy-making officials in Washington that, erpecting trouble, we had best keep Ceneral Clay, wilh bis eiperience and judgment, in charge.

When the unusual Soviet border activities began onhe CIC initialed an around-the-clock border alert which would last into April. In Wiesbaden, some of the Air Force intelligence officers feared that the Soviets were planning either trouble in Scandinavia or an attack on Western Europe. In Scandinavia itself, rumors of the attempted coup in Finland and reports of Soviet troop movements in Mecklenburg, just south of the Danish border, led Danish Minister of Justice Niels Busch-Jensen to alert security forcesossible coup, and thereafter all military leaves in Copenhagen were cancelled. By mld-March',1eiec1ed Army units were alerted in FmlariA'and fan* mediately after Leino's warning On the evening oflie Finnish Chief of Staff alerted additional military units. Following Soviet political pressure and alarming reports from Finland, some Norwegian forces were alerted byhe status of forces in Sweden is not known.

On the morning ofh Ceneral Clayews conference following his monthly Eucom staff meeting at Franlcrurt When asked whether he anticipated Soviet interference. or British supply routes to Berlin, he replied that he did not, and when asked whether he thought war likely, be said,m not expecting any conflagration to break out tomorrow or tbe next day. by any mean!."

In Washfngtoo that same day. Secretary of tbe Army RoyaU told tbe Senate Armed Services Committee in his testimony on UMT:

I woulddothatave an abiding faith that lo some honorable way wc cao avoid it On use other hand, under present world coodiuOiis we cannot risk the entire safety of ourCi our militaryoo tbe assumpttoo that war will not come at alt or that it will be deferred foe any particular number of years.

y hidgiDCot is that war Is oot urimirsrM. but there is enoughthat we must provide for that contingency.

Considering the pessimism of the French Chief of Staff onh and rumors of war that emanated from Paris in late March, one might suppose that elements of the French armed forces were alerted at somebe last week of March, but no confirmatory documents are available. It is knownpecial, restricted-attendance session of the French cabinet took place on Coed Friday.he subject being "tbe German situation."

On that Cood Friday Ceneral Carlpaatz decided that key elements of. Air Force should be placed oo analert.. Air Force officers in the Pentagonelecon with the Alaskan Air Command, for example:

Il li tbe decision ol the Chief of Staff thai your alrcralt control and warning lyiiem operate twenty-fouray continuously, commencing at once. Although there is no evidence to indicate that ao airlaska or the United States will occur in the near future,otsibility repeat possibility does eSst and will continue to exist for at least tbe next sixty days.

Ceneral SpaaQ desires immedLite .and. vigorous acbon.to provide the best radar warning iciaenontinuously operating basis

Tbl* item should be read by Ceneral Twining and Ceneral Atkinson. Mease acknowledge receipt and rut) understanding of this item.

n Washington that day received an unruffled assessment from Colonel Robert A. Schow at Eucom Intelligence:

This office continue) to receive reports of movement of Soviet depeodeots from

A review of Soviet military strength along the US-USSR Zonal boundary In Thuriogla indict lei th* possibilitymallho have bad personal contact with the Soviet troops report that theli attitude is suspicious and unfriendly, but oototal Soviet military strength In Cermany remains.

Onhh Red Army reconnaissance units along the Werra river attracted the attention of Allied intelligenceather ostentatiousthe construction and testing the load capacity of bridges on east-west roads and wading about in the river at possible fording points, hiongolian troops were observed near the interzonal border, and there were reports of possiblefrom the east

On Easter Sunday,h, Secretary of State Marshall talked at the Shoreham hotel with Bernard M. Baruch. down from New York for thisay before bis UMT testimony oo the Hill Asked for his advice. Baruch said he thought the Soviets still unprepared for war, be considered it unwise for tbe United States to be scared into an atomic war, and he believed that with calm and patience war might well be avoided. As Marshall left Washfagton that evening for four weeks at tbe inter-American conference in Bogota, he probably shared Baruch's view that war was unlikely.

Onh. Eticom Intelligence pubtiihed its bimonthlySummary":

Wutootling the Uo-brd States Zone are corulde'ed to be too nuneraujear cue* too fantastic to beue the scope ol thu :-

. The First Round

Ai 'he tension mounted, DeForrest Van Slyck ol CIAmall interdepartmental team of analysts were drafting an estimate on the "possibility of direct Soviet military action" This paper, like its predecessorsndfad its origins In that ertraordiriary "rneeririg of the IAC Directors" called by Ceneral Chamberlin on Marcho discuss Ceneral Clay'swarollowed by President Truman's three clipped questions to Admiral Hillcnkoetter about the likelihood of war. II. two ques-Hons covering Soviet intentions over the next sixty days had been answered inndut the thud. "Will the Sovietsprovoke war inemained before Van Sh/ck's working committee. Their pace on this longer-range estimate had been slow, in part because there was less urgent pressure for it and in part because the machinery for channeling information to the committee was new.

By now it had becotne apparent to Van Slyck that the answer to this question too would beut it was also apparent that there would be considerable difficulty in producing another joint estimate Colonel Riley F. Ennisnd Colonelalshere rather frank In objectinglat "no" might be misconstrued as implying that neither UMTupplemental militaryfor9 was really necessary. Van Slyck, William Ballis of State, and ONTs Iawrersee Healey. on the other hand, believed that an intelligence estimate unencumbered by other considerations was esiential

During the last week in March each of the intelligence services represented on the ad hoc committee submitted its own draft estimate of Soviet intentions and capabilitiesolonel Ennis reiterated Ceneralesire that the joint estimate make some mention of UMT; Colonel Wriib spoke for Ceneral MacDonald lo favoraragraph emphasizingoviet surprise attackas distinctly possible Tbe Van Slyck, Ballis, and Healey drafts all declared that war was unlikely8 except through rniscalculation or accident.

A session of lhe committee to recooclJe these cbalerences andifoint estimate was held on Tuesday. MarchSlyckecond draft which servedasis forthat emerged from the meeting, the final joint draft. Vanand Healey agreed to specifypossibdity- of warEnms agreed to drop the UMT matter; Colonel Walshthe mention of the possibility of war would satisfy biserni at the division

hTpIwTTZi M^aDCeere CTcatinSa'oog

POSSIBILITY OP DIRECT SOVIET MILITARY ACTION8

Reportoint Ad Hoc

CONCLUSIONS

fl2Ue CV""nCerfderived from .he logic of lhe .ItuaUoo" supports lhe cooclunoo that the USSR wiB not twort to direct military actionS.

iew of tf- combat rracunes) and dWtJon of the Soviet

wbjfh USSR might impute to

the occupabon of Western Europe and the Near East, tbethat tbe USSR ought resortdirect

pamculariy af the ttendio should interpret someeries ofas mdicating an iMrnUoo.tuck the USSR or its uteltfe*.

DISCUSSION

be Soviet militaryre estimated to have the current exr-bUitv IsTSKairo^ a

TT aaHZr* fWnUe"We^em Europe and the

nW rnS ao diiposeu thai

mey could launch an immediate offensives

he detemuxabon al tha time of whether or oot Soviet

h^.oy the, mihtarytbe

SEcptfr

Thai evening Ceneral Chamberlin lentontestant aiieirment in hii weekly survey of the interrvalrooa] situation, toajor Army commands:

Soviet acOotu part week present no clearome tweenc* So vietightening border security oppc-Mte US Zoneo Afltcluii'f evidence impending Sovlat military action on any front. <.

epresented so far only the views of the working group which had prepared ft. It was not until Friday. Aprilhat final concurrences could be obtained from the inteUigence services and the estimata be formally distributed to policy makers. During the three' intervening days Washington passed through the peak of the March crisis,eries of key decisions involving the possibility of war with the Soviet Union were made.

8

. Washington time onecretary o( the Armyoyal] awakened to the persistent ringing of his telephone. Standing in his pajamas by tbe telephone in his Mayflower hotel suite, he looked out at the street bghts still burning along Connecticut avenue whileuty officer apologired for interrupting his sleep and advised hifn of indications just reported from Cermany that hostilities might be imminent in central Europe. General Bradley had already been informed. Royal! notified the White House, dressed and went out to the Pentagonull briefing, then paid an early morning visit to the President. The President consulted Hiltenboeiter about the likelihood of war and was reassured by him, according to reports

in tbe press.

Curiously, it has oot been possible to establish the precise cause for this alarm. Tbe climactic Dratvin letter announcing restrictions on access to Berlin had been debvered to the Western deputythe previous evening; but. copy was all morning in translation, and Washington, as we shall see, did not learn of it until about five hours afterall to Secretaryas reporting some particularly threatening development in tbe Soviet troop maneuvers- It ll General Bradley's recollection that *We weres alerted Soviet divisions beaded for the Inter-zonal border, "that they wouldn'tthe recall'" There were also some mistakenly alarming reports generated by the tenseness inCeMen's Berlin network, for example,rairiload of oil heading horn Berlin to Magdeburg as though in support of a

westward pushoff; later tn the day It wu revealed the train had arrived, but withew can of oil for the norma) supply of the Magdeburg region.

Also. Ceneral, Major General Robert Walsh, presumably having some advance knowledge of tbe Dratvin letter while it was being translated, was apprehensive. According to Ceneral Clay's deputy inen. Ceorge P. Hays, Ceneral Walsh suggested, as tbe tension mounted during the last days of March, that the Russians "would do something to make us starte may have concluded frnsn the letter that tbev badJuteans of causing us to fire the first shot, and soon tie is still convinced that weauseair's breadth of war" but "Stalin changed hise recalls having communicated directlyn Washington but does not recall any specific message on the morning oft.

Although Ceneral Walsh thoughthile that war wasbis OMGUS intelligence staff, boused in separate quarters and under Colonel Peter P. Rodes. recalls having viewed the Russian troop movements as "bluff, pure aod simple" or as defensive: They were afraid of an attack from theucom InteUigenceconsidered the possibility of deliberate Soviet scare tactics;

oupled with these troop movements were reports of the arrival of reusfoceemenla (rom tbe Ussll which wen associated (cancidmiaUy or othavtMee) with the enelnaJ mtrrnaDonal situation and gave rise to rumors of urarnedial* conflict between tha East and

and later:

The cearKsdenee of estensivo maraeuvsrt with the recent Berlin caws* has bad the effect ofead of report* andany of which haveooudWable militaryhe Soviet Zcoe and sornc of which have described even mora active prrparabooa foe aa offensive against (he Wesearal atnew aphether fhu reran* uoi by atesdenl orut tha fact that troop* have mewed lo maneuver areas prior to aaderiod of eiliiii looal poltocwl teraraoo has orsooubudly bad tha result ofa In osaay of Ihe exaggerated reports whicheen rocerwd.

CIA's Berlin station boused divergent views also, but thethat the Russians were seeking political rather thanSome of the Naval Intelligence agents in Berlin,eastern Cermany, thought that the moment might have cometheir homelands, but there is no sign that such thinkinggenerally calm judgment of ONI officials in

Cencrxl Cbamberlin remembers tbettitude as

follows:

ecall frr.-ij"wu ot neevea" ihowi (a* Ruulaoj puthen these occurred areelt reneraDy thaiar wu rtarted that large movements of both men and rupfly would move westward from tbe interior of Russia. Sinca aD isnites wed had to traversehought we svould leana soeawthiog of that beaUon. Merely to move about to the beet areas without lair* movementsot seetn tooWe hidlarge aod skilled Muitary Attach* unit in potaccl and wu not too much restricted la movemeot. There wu do new* ofccitaudy not of heavy movements cfupply from thato not recallu eitremelv nneuy aroundare no reool-lecttoo of ever being In cociurounlrnUOo with Mr. Royall at nlgM, "

In tbe hours before it bad the Drat sin letter, official Washington seems to havetate of wait-and-see. Except for the special units already alerted, US. armed forces continued their normal pace of activity.

The Dratvin Letter

When Ceneral Dratvin's letter arrived at General Hays' office on Tuesday evening. Hays was in Frankfurt, at Eucotn headquarters, and the letter was referred to Genial Clay. Its translation was somehow delayed until late Wednesday morning On reading it, Ceneral Clay was actually relieved. Although it left him just overay before its midnight deadline to counter the Soviet inspection demands. Clay now knew that hehallenge to the Allied pretence in Berlin rather than the threat of war which be bad feared earlier in the month

Ceneral Hays also, when he learned. In Frankfurt, of the Soviet iraspection demands, consideredonfirmation of his view that tbe Soviets would use only means short of war to oust the Allies from Berlin. He proposed to Clay by return cable that be himselfpecial armored train run forthwith from Frankfurt via Hclmstedt to Berlin to force the Soviets to rescind their inspection orders. In anticipation of approval he gave orders for mounting machine guns on both sidespecial railroad car andiesel engine ready for the run. Ceneral Clay's initial reaction was unenlhusiastic; be thought the Russians would switch the armored trainiding electrically, without having tohot He told his deputy to bold offro. and await carders. Although be agreed that tbe Russians were only bluffingest train woulduick way

to call the bluff, be thought this move would be merelyprelude to the realarmored convoy along the autobahn.

While his staff workedeply to the Dratvin letter. Ceneral Clay, who war tooutinely scheduled telecon with Washingtonable for General Bradley to permit prior discussion of this new development in Washington. Because Clay's cable was top secret however, transmitted through Ceneral Walsh and ASA in "our deepestt took over two hours to reachmberUn in the Pentagon, arriving. Washington time,inutes after the telecon began. When it was delivered to him. Ceneral Bradley interrupted tbe telecdrrTsaying, "Recent message from' you' just brought in. Collins, Wedemeyer, and Chamberlain (sic] have joined me. Please wait*

Ceneral Bradley and the group around him read Clay's cable:

CeoerrJ Clay requests rnuuediate delivery aod fmnsediate acknowledgement of following message:

Only and Personal for Bradley

Haveeremptory letter from Soviet deputy corrunaaoVi requiring ooours nooce that our military and civilian employees proceeding thru Soviet tone to Beilin will submit Individualnd also wu! submit their personal belongings for Soviet insneetJon.

enult is required from Soviet commander for all freight brought into Berlin by military trains for the use of our occupation foroas.

Obviously these conditions would male Impossible travel between Berlin aad our rone by American personnel oioept by air. Moreover it is on-doubtedly theertc* of restrictive meaturea deafened to drive us from

i propose to have Soviet deputy eoeansaader advised today that w* an rrwpared for our tram corona odant on arrival at entry points to furnish to tbe Soviet representative*list of passengers together with their omctal orders, and that iihewiso we are prepared toanifest cwering freightur trains when they arrive at entry points. However the right of free entry tnto Berlin over tbe established corridorsondition precedent to our evacuation of Snaoay and Thuringla. and we do not intend to grva up this right of freeropose further to advise Ijuatviu rpt Sratvin [rdc: DratvinJ that the rnilitary guards on our passenger and railway height trains have been advised rKCCedingty.

1 am having telecon with Noon3 pan.en. Washington]ope that if them an any doubts la the minds ofashington as to this course of action you can advise mes It will be necessary for me to take actionegard thaierious matter because it is my fntent ta Instruct our guards to open fire If Soviet soldiers attempt to enter our trains. Obrtcush/ the fuD rooseoueix-ra of this action must bo understood. Union wetrong stand now. our Ufa la Berlin will become impossible. etreat from Berlin at tha moment

would. In my oplnlna, have lesSou! If notl consequences Ino not believe ihii the Sovietswar now. However, if they do. it (eeosime lhat we mightnd out new at later. We carrot iSoed to be bluffed

Ceneral Clay continued the teleconference: "Soviet threatened action becomes effective tomorrow and our train leaves Frankfurt in threend Ceneral Bradley toldeply to your message must be taken up with |CS and others. Delay train until you hear from"

Ceneral Clay's description of the Dratvin letter caused many cdBciab to suppose that the letter was more^blunt and truculent than it was;esult, there were lingering doubts that it might herald war rather than merely trouble in Berlin. Top mobilization experts and Air Force planners hoping to ready the Strategic Air Command held meetings with President Truman in the White House.

ommittee of principals gathered in Secretary FarrestaTs office: the Secretary of Defense. Secretary of the Army Royall; Secretary of the Air Force Symington; Acting Secretary of State Lovett. Mr. Clark M. Clifford of the White House staff; the JCS, Admirals Leahy and Denfeld. Generals Bradley and Spaatz; Generals Wedemeyer and Norstad. the Army and Air Force "DepOps";Gruenther of the Joint Staff; Ceneral Eisenhower, former Chief of Staff; and others. There was general agreement that the Dratvin note was part of an effort to oust the Allies from Berlin, but it was not yet clear that it might not alsorelude to war.ime for tbe Army contingent to assemble at the telecon roomin. session with Ceneral Clay:

hat doea lUUmeot mean that British will not permit teareh. Will tbey renal by shooting? Will they run trams'1

rltuh reply means at moment tbey will runhink their decision relative to (hooting will depend almost entirely on ouroubt if tbey will ifaoot although [British Muitary Governor) Robertson has agreed to do a* we do.

e mold aapphr oursalras and meetneeds by aaufthile but not Ccesaaaa ta eery. Moreover, this amoo would be man daaupog to mi puttie* tod wcjld be met by newelirvohdl but do not wish lo bluffrriih may be doing unlew we mean iteallNfig thai any incident involving shooOng or other heavy vtotriK* might jieecipttate war, some consideration has been given here to the

moots ol Berlin Commander Is [stelrlrtlag agreements and satin? that traffic will continue tonotherhat trafflc trains move but that tn no event >baD there be shooting. What do you think of

ny weakness on our part -ill lose us prestige important now If Soviet} mean war, we will only defer the nest provocationew days. For thato oot dunk eitherrotest note to Stalin) or [continuing trains "but In do event shall there be shooting'To not believe that this raeaas war but failure to meet this squarely will cause greatealise (how) our train resistance would hem convinced It is only possible course of action.

J,

f you had tn choose between (these two) courses which would you prefer?

ould prefer to evacuate Berlinad rather go to Siberia than to do that. However, [protest to Stalin] would be better of twohink it should await our own test If Sovicu do open fire,.. governments could close certain world trade routes under our control until normal condition restored bam

ocnig and Robertson awaiting me at boms for dinner. Will break away and return for telecon [atan.m suretrong stand bere now ts essential and will win blue Fleue believe this my sincere conviction.

Meanwhile. Acting Secretary Lovettuncheon consultation with some of bis assistants in the State Department. After lunch he returned to the Pentagon, bringing along Jacob Beam and Llewellyn Thompson, chiefs of his Central European and Eastern European offices, for the reconvening of the discussion broken off for the telecon with Berlin. 0 the meeting resumed.

As noted in Secretary Forrestal's diary.

Tha following suggestions were considered:

That the Presidentessage to Stalin pointing out thatof the Russian proposal might create an incident which might be provocative of war.

That he call into conference the majority and minority leaders of the Hcxoe and Senate.

That tnetruebons be sent to Clay mdorsmg bit proposed action,ualification that he be told that his guards would oot uso their weapons eaorpt In

It was also suggested that Immediate commone bad with the British to see whether they bad taken action identical to ours and giveo similar instructions to their train guard*.

SECR

Mo'ch Crisis II

VVhile the phrasingrotest note to Stalin was being discussed, the Aii Force Chief of Staff. Ceneral Spaatz, scrawled his versioncrap of paper and passed it Erst to Symington, then to Lovett: "Stalin, youhat do yon think you'rer. Lovett retorted. Mr. Symington recalls, "Ceneral, you should know better than to call the headovereign state crazy."

ore serious vein, it was Lovett who quashed this whole According to Mr. Forrestal's note,

At Mr. Lovett's suggestion tbe proposal to have the Piettderrtommunication to Marshal Stalin wu discarded because li would add dis-proportionate em phu Is oe this incident and might convince) the Russians that they had secured precisely the effect they were alter.

It was now generally agreed among tbe key policy-making officials assembled in Secretary Forrestal's office that the Soviets did not want war but did wish to augment the war scare, and that the Allied response should be conceived uith this in mind. Thereactical difference of opinion: Symington, Spaatz, and others wished to give our soldiers some discretion to use their weapons should attempts be made to. military trains; the majority favored ordersthem to shoot only tf shot at.

After the meeting adjourned, Messrs. Forrestal, Lovett, Clifford, Royall, and others drove to the White House for consultation with President Truman.

Intelligence and Policy

Ceneral Clay, reflecting on hisable, the intelligenceof mid-March, and Washington's rejection of his proposed forcible convoy, first on the railroad and later on tbe autobahn, has observed that although intelligence analysts gauged Soviet intentions correctly, policy makers in Washington failed to act on the basis of these estimates when they refused to approve convoys in March, April. June, and. Rightly or not, both Clay and his then Political Adviser, Robert Murphy, believe that Washington's failure to support their riskier proposals in March and April encouraged the full Soviet blockade in June and that the failure to take similar risks in8 and the months thereafter encouraged Stalin on the course leading to the Korean war.

Two questions arise: First, was thereap between the intelligence analysts' assessment of Soviet intentions and the corre-

29

SECRET

Crisis II

spondtng policy makers' assessments? Second, if there was no si cant gap. why were Ceneral Clay's proposals rejected or deferred?

Id amwertng the first question, tt is necessary to distinguish Soviet intentions irrespective of Allied countermoves from Sovietpossibly inadvertentcase of Allied convoy movements to Berlin. There appears to have been nogap between the intelligence consensus and policy makers'about premeditated Soviet military attack in the springhe consensus in both groups was that the Soviets would not take this course. As for probable, Soviet respooscs to fojcjble convoys. It should be noted that tbendstimates were oot directed to this contingency. Thereap here in formal intelligence advice; there was no "consequences paper" on the matter. Nonetheless, Ceneral Chamberlinr. Armstrongeneral Cabellnd most of the members of the ad hoc estimating group chaired by Van Slyck held theview that armored convoys to Berlin might precipitate Soviet actions resulting in war. None ol these men considered it proper to offer such views unless asked, andew policy makers asked, informally, for such opinions prior to decision making Most policy makers who did so ask. most of those who did not, and most of the intrltigrnce officialselief that armored convoys would probably reach Berlin butanee on such convoys wouldthe likelihood of war. In Berlin, both Ceneral Clay aod Ambassador Murphy held this same view. In conclusion, thereto have been shades of difference but no significant gap between Intelligence analysts' and policy makers' assessments of Sovietincluding no significant gap in assessing the consequences of armored convoys.

Why then were General Clay's proposals refected or deferred? The decisions of policy makers tn Washington, with responsibUitses far broader than those of their intelhgence advisers, may have reflected consideration of many factors outside the competence of intelligence officials. But differing policy views by responsible officials In Berlin on the one handashington on the other appear morethan whatever shades of difference there were betweenadvisers and polity makers. For example, both General Clay and Ambassador Murphy seem to have attached greaterto the impactuack, firm stance in Berlin than officials tn Washington did Moreover, the images of World War III as later

conveyed by both Gay and Murphy were of an experience somewhat less painful, somewhat more successful than most such images later constructed by high Washington officials. These, and many other assessments within the scope of policy decision-making may helpn decisions reached on the basis of far broader considerations than those derived from intelligence channels.

When, therefore. President Truman reviewed the afternoonofe acted on the counsel of Cabinet members and trusted personal advisers who, though influenced by intelligence advice, also provided ^dependent considerations .for decision. The President agreed with Mr. Invert's recornmendatiohrotest note to Stalin, and bo decided against any act in Washington that might eiacerbate the war scare. According to Mr. Forrestal's notes,

The- President on his own uUtisHvo deesoVd against calling Inleaders because i

t would become Immediately known, and

t would add unnecessarily ta the creatJooar hysteria.

fie approved the decision to send trains into Berlin, ordering our troops to Ere only if fired upon.

The British Response

On the basb of fragmentary documentation and occasionalit is possible toough sketch of developing altitudes in London.

Appreciation papers8 estimated that the Soviets weretoar, but noted that European economic recovery and the beginnings of joint European defense planning made the next few years relatively more dangerous than tbe distant future. Viewed through Eurocentric eyes, the Soviet actions in March appeared toeminder of Soviet land power to the countries that had negotiated the Brussels Pact betweenndnd signed it onh. This interpretation on the part of British defense intelligence officers, however natural it seemed, now appears to have been erroneous, for we bave shown that the March activities were in active preparation as far back as the CFM breakdown in

Unlike some of their American opposites, almost all top Britishofficials sought to explain the troubles in Berlin and troop movements in Cermany as poUtically rather than militarily inspired.

SECRET

An appreciation paper produced after (be tension subsided relaled lhe March activities both to the pressure on Finland aod to theelections in Italy. Sir Francis Pakenham (now Lordthen Chancellor of the Duchy and the Foreign Office official reiponsible for German and Austrian affairs, recalls the troopas "just partolitical squeeze in Cermany."

Air Marshal Sir John Sleuor. sneaking before. Air War College oneflected oo tbe recent crisis:

1 wonderm wrong In reeling that we are In tome danger of driftingordttfoa of near-peak which Is not really fwtlned by the facts andatay even, tf wa at* not carrtuLn th* thing we areIncludingfrightened of, Le,

o not myself believe the Russians would allow tbii (Berlin) istuc lo come to open war; they wul no doubt put oo their war point (they are now diggwg trenchaa oa tho autobahn) aad otter blood<-irdLrjg war erir* aad thifiti. like the uvagea they are.an't tee them marching into Braorue on thii Ittue. II theythehat our gov-ercmeoti have daclded thatital to ut and we mult Uveieloee face at) to. tf we doo't, tf we give way hereight. Own It oaly maker total war mora certain inoaer or latrr.

When the ultimatum was deUvered to General Brownjohn's office onh. top Britisherlin expected local difficulties rather than war. Ceneral {now Lord) Robertson agreed with Ceneral Clay that the trains should continue and that Soviet inspectionshould be resisted, but be saw no reason for his guards to open fire unless fired upon. Nor did the British cabinet-After President Truman's decisions at the White House, the ticker from Loudon announced that tbe British did not propose to stop their trains and that they would maintain armed guards aboard them.

Armed Forces Alerts

Another decision undertaken in London by.. in Washington) ont was the alerting of British armed forces units. Buried on the fourth page of tbe Timet morning edition on Aprilossibly the casualty) Nct-.ce. was an Air Ministry announcement of an RAF Bomber Command alert. Mosquito night fighter patrols, and Army anti-aircraft operations which lasted four hours in the cowrie of "an art defense exercise over tbe southern half of England."

March Ceil If

That morning In Washington, Ceneral Biadlcy left the meeting in Secretary Forrestal's office knowing (hat government policyirm stand in Berlin, even though the issue of instructions to train guards about shooting remained unsettled. About noon, the Chief of Staff asked Ceneral Tunberman of the Plans and Operationsto coordinate an alert with the Intelligence Division, the Air Force, and the Navy. Not until White House clearance of the Berlin decisions and transmittal of instructions to Ceneral Clay were the coordinated alerts dispatched.

. Washington time, as military trains began their runs Into the Soviet rone of Germany, Ceneral Spaatr alerted the Alaskan' Air Command:

he concern of the Chief of Staff item from beliefays an oiOaJ period. The Julianheir aftermath, the Finnish tffuaOoo and our praseat weak military pontoon, particularly In ear defraaw. an the pnocrpie [del pnta* or. which Out view t> baaed. Se-c* Iha Air Force hatbc.r, foe air defense,mag you Ow best ax defeoM races*i has deur. that th* Asr Forte do Oat beal IIo prevent being caught by rurprir* tn the event of another Frail

An Army alert over Ceneral Wedemeyer's signature but in Ceneral Chamberlin's handwriting infonned all majorof the stance In Berlin.

Tho Soviet authorities In Euceara bava Introduced restrictions pertaining lo tnval of Amerkans through Soviet occupied looe to and from neilm. Ouraking hrsn stand and IscSdml could result. This tadormanoniew to tasoraog that held comroaoders (heanaelvaa an alert to iituaOOo that might de-ekp. triform appropriate Navy and Atr Comnsartden. Navy and Asr erancasr.

4 pm. Ceneral Chamberlin alertedetwork in Eastern Europe, the military attaches at llcbinki, Warsaw, Prague, Bucharest, Budapest. Sofia, Belgrade, and also Rome:

Personal lot Military Attache from Chamberlin

Soviet auuSoritiea la Euoom have introduced restrictions pertaining to travel of Ajwrkans through Soviet occupied tone and to and from Berlin. Our go varum rut is taking farm stand and taeldeml could result. Thisiven to insure that you may be alart to possible deveJofearats

As originally composed, tbe last sentence read,o insure that you may be on the alert to possibleutid not wish to create undue alarm, and deleted the prepositional phrase.

End of Ihe Crisis

Late cm lie evening oft. (he first Awed military train,. command, left Wannsee station in Berlin for Frankfurt with the MP guardmen armed with carbines and machine guns. Within earshot of the press, the commander remarked to his men. There will be no shootinghe train reached the Marienbom checkpoint on the western border of the Soviet zone after midnight, but no Soviet guards demanded on-board irrspectton; it crossed over to Helmstedt and went on to Frankfurt.

ritish military train under Wing Commarvder Galloway, took the same route from Charlottenburg station in the British sector. It met no trouble upon entering the Soviet rone, but when it reached Marienbom the signals were red aod the track switched open. On theroup of Soviet officers waited withrerman policemen. One of the officers politely asked to come aboard for inspection, and Corrurrander Calloway offered to show papers through tbe carriage windows or on tbe platform. The Russian said thatirupectioo was essential, and the British officer replied that it was contrary to his orders. The train was switchediding and later returned to Berlin.

A British passenger train and then. passenger trains east-bound to Berlin were also halted at Marienborn and returned to their stations of origin, An eastbound French military train waited for instructions in Helmstedt Paris finally told its commander to allow the on-board inspection, breaking ranks with the British and Americans; but on the foUowing day. when It was dear that the Soviets did not intend war, Paris reversed its position and joined the other Western powers in halting the trains rather than submit to boarding.

Onenerals Clay and RobertsoDmall military airlift, and General Clay asked Washington to consider an armored convoy along tbe autobahn. These events were prelude to thein June when even civilian trains were halted and the Allies organized their spectacular airlift to supply the population. But byt was clear to almost everyone that the Soviets had noof initiating war. As CIA's Review of Ihe World Situation wouldeek later:

ecent Soviet conduct tourdarnentally tbe consequence of decision* taken mouths ago,though its nming to related to recent eveob-

SEOET

The general purpose of simultaneous threetr tn Germany aod towardCreece. andvidently to develop aod aiploit tbe panicky apprehension of further Soviet

Effective resistance to dltcct Soviet political aggression inevitably involves riskollision the accidental consequences of which might be war. It is tall improbable that the USSR has any present intention of provoking war. Its most provocative conduct, that In Cermany, is actually evidence that war Is not intended. If early military aggression in Europe were planned, devious efforts to compel Western withdrawal from Berlin would be pointless.

: Estirnalins for lhe Record

eeting of the IAC on Aprilhe estimate which the inter* departmental working group had agreed oo oo Marcheceived unanimous eodorsement. With the tensions in Europe subsiding, all of the IAC Directors considered the compromise satisfactory, andent to the printer on Friday aJternoon. But that same day. General Chamberlin and Ceneral McDonald collaboratedstimate of tbe Berlin situation and disseminated it to their networks. Itifferent tone:

here Is no change In the Soviet capability of toio'ting operations prac-tScalry svtthout warning and overrunning Western Europe and important portions of the Middle Eaat- It it believed that th* Soviet economy is not yet adequate torotracted general war. However, the Soviets may resort to war. whether readyrotracted general war or not, when they themselves decide (bit Western rearmament and resistancehreat lo their security, which latter may, to their minds, include thwarting tho attain' merit ol their short-range objective*.

If pursued, the lalrst Soviet acu'-Jo in Berim will unquestionably cause *ome counteraction oo ourny action taken by us henceforthdequate to stop the Soviet advance by their present methods may cause the Soviets to resort to war.

Then over the weekend some of thefficers took another look at the joint estimate in which they had coricurred on Friday, especially its key predictionhat the USSR will not resort to direct military action" On Mondayelephoned Theodore Babbitt of ORE to say that tbe Air Force wished to dissent from thestimate. Upon learningished to reopen, ONI officers decided to articulate their ownin die opposite sense, with it.

wo-page ditto piepaied on the 5th accompanied the printed and boundstimate:

The Ds-mee ofUSAF. doe* aot eoocssr as ifx cc-aetunoo thai the USSR will aot resorttary action bafor* tbe end ofccidental lope militate! agauut war,oi agreedicpond-rstKa of factual evidence eiiiU to supportack of reliable evidence precludes the formation of any soundat Uua time regarding Soviet mtentroos to resort to direct military actiOB beyond tbe foeaheoosmg tiaty day*

Ceneral Cabell, tbe, Later recalled that top Air Force staff officers thought that. as published oo Aprilight be misinterpreted, thereby harming Air Force chances forad supported the no-war estimate when it was needed to defeat Soviet pobtical pressures in Europe, now with the March tension ended, domestic concerns required closet attention.

ONIs dii satisfaction concerned the introductory wording to the possibility of-war provision: "However, in view of the combatand dbposition of the Soviet armed forces and the strategic ads'antages which the USSR might impute to the occupation of Western Europe and the Near" The DNI believed this gave the incorrect impression that the Soviets were poised to invade Europe and capable ofar to occupy Europe and the Near East. He recorded hb preference that the phrase about the combat readiness, disposition, and possible USSR strategic advantages be deleted so that the Conclusions should read:

Tne preponderance of available evidence and of coacdenraoai derived from the "VgSr of the etuatSoo" ruppoits the eooduMoa that the USSR wdl aot resorteett>oo8

However, the possibility mutt be recogiuied that the USSR might remit to direct military action in IMS if the Kremlin ibould Lnttrpret some US move, or crifre of moves, as wrUcating an inlenUoa to attack the USSft or Rs tatrllilee

These estimates for the record terminatedormal sense the crisis which had ended in fact by Aprillaborate Soviet plans for pobtical conquests in Scandinavia and Cermany had failed. And while the first round in the battle for Berlin had endedraw, there was no panic among the Allies to dishearten their partisans in the Italian elections several weeks later. Internally, the intelhgence community hadechanism for combined estimates that worked while there was critical need for it. eitesnally, it had helped guide policy makersifficult time.

Original document.

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

CAPTCHA