SOVIET INTENTIONS WITH RESPECT TO BERLIN (SNIE 11-13/1-62)

Created: 8/1/1962

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

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'(Supersedes

OA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL

Intentions With Respect to B

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Tho following infeUigvncv organizations participated in the preparation of this Qstimatc:

The Ccntfol Intelligence Agency and the intelligence orgonfcolioni of lhe Deport-menn of Stoto. Oelense, iho Army, lhe Navy, and lhe Alt rwce.'

Concurring:

Director of Intelligence and Poieorrh, Deportment of Stole Director, Defenic Intelligence Agency

AuHtont Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Deportment of the Army

Anlttant Chief of Naval Operationsepartment of lhe Navy .

Aiwitom Cfcef of Staff, IntoJfcgente, USAf

Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff

Director af the Notional Security Agency

Abstal

Atomic Energy Common Representative to the USlfl, and lhe AwJslaol Di-rector. Federal Bj-eau of Investigation, Ihe subject being ouliWe of their jurisdiction.

SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

2

Soviet Intentions With Respect to

- SECRET ,

SOVIET INTENTIONS WITH RESPECT TO BERLIN

THE PROBLEM

To estimate probable Soviet intentions over the next few months with respect to the Berlin and German questions.

THE ESTIMATE

L Khrushchev has probably concluded that US-Soviet talks, as they have been proceeding since last fall, offer little chance oferlin agreement on terms favorable lo the USSR. He probably believes that to continue the talks much longer without any demonstrable gains would give the Impression that the USSR feared to make good on Itsto solve the Berlin problem with or without the Western Powers. At present, therefore, the USSR is almost certainly considering new decisions on Its tactics for the next phase of the Berlin crisis.

I. THE IMMEDIATE OUTIOOK

rom the present point the Soviets could proceed along one of three general lines. First, if they concluded that the risks of forward action were too high, they could holdin check and continue negotiationselatively low key, perhaps in some new forum. Second, they couldat once on the long-threatened courseeparate peace treaty. Third, they could seek to change thesurrounding further negotiations by raisingand pressuresuch higher level,inal decisioneparate treaty and its precise terms until they discovered whether these harsher tactics produced

Continued Stalemate. The Soviets have not closed the door to further talks, and wc cannot exclude the possibility that they will simply allow the present stalematedto continue without an appreciable increase in tensions. But the deliberate manner in which they have sharpened the issue in recent weeks, and the line taken in the Rusk-Gromyko talks, indicate that the Soviets arc unlikely lo adopt this alternative. Their hard stance, both in public and in negotiations, hasillingness to raise tensionsnowoint of deadlock has been reached.

Separate Treaty. To proceed forthwitheparate treaty presents the same problems it always has for theleaders. We believe that the Soviets continue tothe risks involved in giving the East Germans control over allied access and then requiring the Western Powers to deal with those authorities. At the same time, however, the Soviets have intentionally given the peace treaty anas an end in itself, and have thereby increased their commitment to take this step. We have no evidence that Khrushchev has yetecision to carry through with his threat toreaty. But we believe that it is possible that the Soviets may at any time set on foot the procedures involved in signing the separate treaty.

Pressures. On the whole, however, weis somewhat more likely that the Soviets will insteadto sharply heightened pressures, in one more effortconcessions from the West. In doing thiseriod, probably relativelyecision onand its precise terms. The Soviets arc probablythat no important change in the Western positionobtained without greatly increased pressures, probablyform of harassments to impair allied access oron Western rights. In the lattermight, for example, close off East Berlin totraffic, withdraw from the Berlin Air Safetyassociate the East Germans more actively with theof access controls. Such steps could beby propaganda intended to create an atmosphereshowdown. This line of action would be intended

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not only to probe Western reaction and convey the Soviets* determination to settle Berlin on their own terms, but also to accomplish gradually some ol the final objectiveseace treaty by liquidating certain aspects of four-power

n pursuing this line of Increased pressures the primary Soviet aim would still be to extract concessions from the West. Khrushchev would be preparederiod of very high tensions, but would still be careful to maintain contacts with the US. The Soviets might at this stage make at least ostensible adjustments toward moderating their negotiating position. An additional possibility, which the Soviets have already hinted al, would be to involve the UN in this phase, hoping to capitalize on worldwide concern over growing East-West tensions. They might believe, for example,N majority could be woncompromise" which wouldWestern occupation rights with some form of UN role, limited in duration, based on Warsaw Pact and neutral forces as well as Western troops. Moreover, they might expect that if the UN was seized with the crisis, the West could befrom reacting too sharplyeparate treaty.

Soviet leaders probably have some doubts thatpressures will bring about important changesWestern attitude. Moreover, they recognize that atalong this road the risks might becomethey probably believe that certainlimited unilateral steps which would heightencan be controlled. And they probablysuch measures are preferable at this time to theof appearing to acquiesce in further Western stalling,at onceeparate treaty withouttested Western resistance to particular kinds of

II. PROBABLE SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENTS

any event, we believe that during the next fewSoviets will hold the door open to furtheronly toegree of control over the situation. If

they intensify pressure, they would see continued talks as the means to collect any concessions, or at least to assess the impact of their actions. They would wish, for example, to discover what modalities of control by East Germany would be tolerated by the Western Powers. Even if they proceedeparate treaty, they would hold out the possibility of negotiations should the West decide to change its positionhowdown approached. Or, if the Soviets should decide to allow tensions to subside at some point, they wouldfurther talks as necessary to cover their retreat.

If, as seemseriod of sharper action isthe Soviets will be reassessing their position and tactics continuously over the next few months. Although much would depend upon circumstances at the time, if the Soviets pursued such tacticseriod without significant success, they would then be more likely to move ahead andeparate treaty than to accept once again the loss ofinvolvedetreat before Western firmness.

Should the Soviets decide to proceedeparate treaty, this course would still be subject to reappraisal at each stage in the process. They would still seek to gain last minute concessions, and would manipulate the variousforonference,reaty, andit Inay as tohange ol course if they perceived an Important shift in Western attitudes.

any case, we do not believe that the Soviets areabandon the caution which has characterized theirto situationsirect East-WestThey almost certainly recognize that the balancepower has undergone no change which wouldIn undertaking unilateral encroachments or atreaty they would seek to minimize the risks. Thusfinally decide that an abbreviated treaty, whichconditions of access but stopped shortompleteturnover of controls to the Eastufficient advance, at least for the time being.

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