IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOVIET RESUMPTION OF NUCLEAR TESTING

Created: 9/7/1961

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

iV<ONrXED STATES INTKLUOARD , Concurring, were The .Dbector'.otK<jeorch, Oeparfmertthe Assistant

implications of the soviet resumption of nuclear testing

THE PROBLEM

To estimate the motives (or the Soviet decision to resume nuclear testing, and its implications for Soviet foreign and military policies during the months ahead.

THE ESTIMATE

Moti*atiom (or Telling

he Soviets have, as time passed, hadtechnical motivations for furtherweapons testing; for example, teststo development of antimissile defenses; tests of high-yield, and low-yield, light-weight devices; tests directed toward economy ofmaterials and Improving yield-to-weight ratio; and perhaps tests ln new areas of development Of these, the one relating to antimissile defenses has probably been the most urgent. There la not yet enoughon the new Soviet teat program to determine what technical purposes It isto serve. It is very unlikely that any developmental tests could result InSoviet weapons ln time to affect Soviet military capabilities during the next few months. On the other hand, proof testing of possible stockpiled but untested weapons might be considered desirable at this lime If the Soviets engaged in clandestine testing during the moratorium, some of the current tests would be designed to exploit the results achieved.'

"The likelihood or Soviet clandestine testing was lastwell before their resumption of overt testing, In SNIEl. -PossJMUiy of SovietTesting During theatedECRKT.

These technical and military requirements, which Khrushchev has said were being pressed by the Soviet military leaders, wereajor factor of increasing weight on the side of resumption. During the period beginning in the early springoviet lack oflnuclear test banwas evident. At that time, the Soviet leaders probably believed that the US would soon resume testing, taking upon itself the onus for doing so and at the same timethe Soviets to test. However, by July or August it appeared that the US had notupon early resumption of tests, and the Soviets had to decide whether to proceedwithout the benefit of prior US

In addition, developments in the worldsituation, and particularlyof firmness ln the Western stand on Berlin, almost certainlyajor role In tho decision lo resume tests at this time. The USSR in Its Berlin tactics has regularly kept open the options of unilateral action and negotiation, hoping that its threats to .act alone would eventually Induce the West to agree to concessions. Instead. Moscow has been confronted by new Western military preparationsiplomatic stance which

HKOSET

oftexed little encouragement to these In response, the Soviets have since mid-summeruccession of demonstrative military actions Intended tothe pressure for concessions or, failing these, to manifest such strength andas to dissuade the West from forcibly opposing unilateral steps when they finally came.

such measures as the Air Showthe suspension of troop reductions,supplementary defense budgetignificant change In theattitude, the resumption of nuclearhave appearedore forcefuldemonstrating Soviet military strengthtoughness. Thus, whenIncentives to test came to beby Important political ones, thewasln latewith the tests for whichsite preparations had for manyunderway.

General tmpliccrtiom of the Soviet

The resumption of nuclear testing at this time was clearly intended to raise the level of fear and anxiety in the world In general, and toowerful Impression of the strength and ruthlessness with which the Sovietsto pursue their objectives. We believe that the timing of the move reflects and dramatizes the turn by the Soviets to an openly militant and increasingly risky phase of tactics ln relations with the West.testing accords with other recent demonstrations of Soviet military strength and of the Soviet determination to increase It.

The Soviets probably hope the Western leaders will take the move as an earnest of Soviet determination to carry out theirlo change the status of West Berlin. They appear to have decided that the only way to Induce the West to accept the main lines of the Soviet position Is to launchourse of action demonstrating Sovietto face the danger of eventual East-West conflict as the alternative.

We believe that the Soviets will follow up this announcement with other threatening measures. In this connection, they willsoonigh-yieldigher yield than they have previouslypossibly awarhead. They may materially augment Soviet forces in East Germany, and deploy troops along the East-West German border or along Western access routes toThe Soviet leaders may In addition take measures to prepare the Soviet populace for the possibility of war. In general, we expect the Soviets to be harsh and uncompromising ln their attitude toward the West, in the hope of compelling early Western negotiation over Berlin on terms acceptable to themselves.

The Soviets have always reinforced their appeals for peaceful solutions of East-West disputes with reminders of their military strength. At the present juncture, as theto test nuclear weapons eloquently bespeaks, they are shifting the emphasis from persuasion to intimidation. They may reduce the acceptability of Soviet policy to many in the world, and tend to deflate their claims to reasonableness. But it will probably also frighten many neutral and some Western spokesmen to put pressure on the US to make concessions, as the party in the dispute more susceptible to the influence of popularThus, while almost certainlya generally unfavorable reaction to the resumption of nuclear testing, Moscow may also have expected even greater neutralist anxiety over warising clamor for East-West negotiations. The outcome of the Belgrade conference would tend lo justify such an expectation.

The Chinese Communists, who have almost certainly pressed the Soviets not toest ban. will welcome the Sovietanifestation of aggressiveness in the struggle with capitalism. They will also regard this move as an opportunity to press anew their demands for Sovietto the Chinese nuclear program, since the end of the moratorium may weaken one of the arguments with which the Soviets have justl-

thelr reluctance lo satisfy these demands.

E

do not believe, however, that the Soviet resumption of nuclear tasting Indicates any Increase In Moscow's willingness to assist the Chinese nuclear program.

Timing of the Announcement

part from these broad considerations, there remains the question of the reasons for the precise timing of the announcement. The fact that the statement was made Just two days prior to the convening of the Belgrade conference probably reflected Moscow's belief that the conference Intended to declare Its strong oppositionesumption of nuclear testing by either side. Thus the Sovietsthought lt was preferable to make the announcement beforehand, rather than after their decision had, ln effect, been formally condemned. The Soviets probably a'sothat the desired effect onand clamor forthe use

of "shock" tactics on an assembly of major neutralist leaders, and that much of theeffect could be counteracted by lobbying at the conference. Finally, the Westernto present new positions at the test ban talks In Geneva in late August may havethe timing of the announcement of the decision to resume testing. Knowing that the forthcoming UN General Assembly would be likely to consider the test ban problem, and aware that the now Western positions would be favorably received by responsible neutralist opinion, the Soviets may have decided that the sooner the question of the moratoriumacademic, the less they ultimately stood to lose from their decision to break it.

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