SOVIET REACTIONS TO CERTAIN US COURSES OF ACTION

Created: 9/14/1961

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

LIMITED DISTRIBUTION CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

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SUBJECT: SOVIET REACTIONS TO CERTAIN

US COURSES OP ACTIQN

THE PROBLEM

To estimate Soviet reactionsS decision, ln the near future, to mobilize four National Guard divisions, and toseveral regular divisions to Europe.

THE ESTIMATE

1. Dispatch of substantial additional US troopuunlts to Europe, and the calluporce on the scale of one-fourth of the entire present US divisional strength, would be seen by the Soviets as anothereries of moves intended to Impress them with American firmness on the Berlin issue and to bolster US calls on its allies for strengthening their forces for the same

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purpose. At the same time, they would recognize that these measures substantially augmented conventional military strength in Western Europe.

The Soviets in their response would seek to dispel any notion that they could be intimidated by such Western measures, and to prove that they could match or overmatch them. umber of steps to this end would be open to them. They might dispatch substantial reinforcements to the Soviet forces in East Germany, and publicly announce the fact. The Soviets might alsoartial callup of reserves. They might selectively reveal Important strengths In the Soviet forces, such as medium range ballistic miasiles within range of Western Europe.

The Soviets would interpret the American mobilization and reinforcement primarily as an attempt to impress them with US will and determination ln the Berlin crisis. And we believe that the Soviets would in fact raise their estimate of such TJS determination. They might conclude from the augmentation of conventional forces that the US, at least, was more willing than they had previously estimated to engage in limitedconflict ln defense of the Western position in Berlin, and to run the risk of subsequent escalation, if necessary, into nuclear

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nWBCTSBH

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war. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that they might conclude from an augmentation of nonnuclear strength that the US would limit itself to actions short of nuclear war. TheirwouM be affected by other US steps, both political and additional military measures designed to enhance our strategic nuclear capability. No matter which conclusion they reached, however, we doubt that they would respond to this action by changing their overt position on Berlin, or byore forthcoming attitude toward negotiations. On the contrary, with Soviet prestige already heavily committed, they would fear thateaction to the US reinforcement wou<ld appearign of weakness. In any case, the Soviets would take thisinto account in deciding how to respondestern initiative on negotiations at this time.

k. Purthermore, in the absence of other indications to the contrary, they would probably conclude that their chances for making progress toward their objective via earlyhad diminished. Thus the immediate effeot might be to strengthen the present tendency of the Soviets to rely onactions to move toward their objectives in Berlin. Simultaneously, however, they would probably be impressed with

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the need for caution in determining which actions could-bewithout undue risk.

5. The USSR's general position on the Berlin issue will, of course, continue to be the product of calculations combining its own minimum and ultimate objectives, assessment of its own strong and weak points and tactical opportunities, and estimates of Western resolve and capability. The posited US move would be only one of many developments which are constantly affecting these calculations. In this connection, the Soviets would be alert to note whether the US's NATO allies followed suit with corresponding increases in strength.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE .

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t.^DK! POUDjiTLLLIOEICL .CARD

SUBJECT: Release ofXTIOcJS TO CiilTAlH USF ACTION" to Certain Foreign* Gc^rnmcnfea

. HiWITT

tinr; Deputy Assistant Director

'.intes

The 'nerd of National Lstiaurtes notes that thiswas :ireparod toensitive US policy requirement. Under the circumatnncos the -oard roccmraonds this estimate not he released to any foreign -nvcrnment.

We therefore do not ^roooseoce the question of the release of1 on the USUI agenda unless specifically rc-questedSUJ

DiSTsrumoK t,

Original document.

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