SOVIET AND OTHER REACTIONS TO POSSIBLE US COURSES OF ACTION WITH RESPECT TO BER

Created: 7/11/1961

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SOVIET .AND OTHER REACTIONS'POSSIBLE. US COURSES OF ACTION^ WITH RESPECT TO BERLIN %rife

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Central Intelligence Agency

n additional pnnted text wili nol be circulated.

. (tied by the

rganizations participated; ih'thc 'tv The Central Intelligence Agency am the-Intelligence organizations of the Departments of 'State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and The Joint Staff.

Concurred in by theSTATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD ',oncurring were the Director of In**and Research, Department of State; 'thehief ot'StallJot Intelligence, Department ot the Army; the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (In telllgen cej, Department

Secretary of Defense, Special Operations; and theDirector ofSecurity Agency.The Atomic Energy Commission Representative to the.USIB and the Assistant Director,'. Fedi 'eral Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject beingside of their jurisdiction.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

1

SUBJECT: T2TCTEEE KVCTICtS TO POSSIBLE

US COURSES Cfc' ACTION WITH RESPECT TO BERLIN

THE

To estimate the probable reactions of the USSR, Coanunist China, the NATO members, and certain other countrieset of censures reflecting US externa nation to preserve tbe Western position in Berlin. These ocancludepoll ti col, economic, uod clandestine preparations designed both to convey US intentions to undertake steps up to and including, ifgeneral war, and to put tbe USosition to corry out these steps.

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I. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS UMDERLYIHG SOVIET REACTIONS

1. Attitude to War. Tbe Soviet leaders are confident of

tbe prospects for advancing tbeir cause by means short of oll-out ucr. We continue to believe thot, so long as they remain vuljjcrable to US strategic power, they will not willingly enter into situations tn which, by their calculations, the risks of general war are substantial.-" Similarly, they will not wish to set inourse of events leading to local war in an area like Central Europe, where the dangers cf escalation to general nuclear war ore high. However, they believe that cs their own strength has grown, the US has become increasingly deterred by tbe same conoiderations ond that the risks of aggressive actions on their part have been correspondingly reduced. Thus the chances have increased that the Soviets may so miscalculate Westernas toituation from which neither side would feci oble to withdraw.

he Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Da part era nt of the Array, believes that this sentence should be extended to point out that the USSR would probobly draw back in ainost any such situation which night arise, as previously estimated in paragraph lU6 ofo, "hfain Trends in Soviet Capabilities and He therefore believes that the following should be added to this sentence: "and will endeavor to draw back froa such situations should they evolve."

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2. Prestige. Whilo important substantive considerations motivote the CccniUnlst endeavor to gain control of West Berlin, Sovietnd that of Khrushchev himself, is already heavily involved. The Soviet leaders ata especially sensitive on this scors, feeling that their country, long regarded as backward, has not been accorded the world position to which its power and achievements entitle it. They are therefore the more anxious that their recently acquired strength should not be derogated. Closely linked to this, they have in recent yearsentral proposition of their claim that the "worldof forces" is inexorably shifting in their favor. They will be greatly concerned- that any outcome of the Berlin situation which appeared to confound this proposition would deflate their recent successes and darken their future prospects for political advance.

3- Freedom of Action. We believe that this desire toaad increase their prestige, at hcrce as well as abroad, is at thicajor factor impinging on Soviet freedom of action in the Berlin question. He recognize that the Chinese Comnunistsonstant pressure on the USSRenerally harder line against the West, and tbe East German regime does

the sone on the specific issue of Berlin. We believe, however, that Soviet positions on as potentiallyuestion as this are firmly grounded in considerations of self-interest andamina to such pressures. There are no indications of differences over Berlin within tbe Soviet leadership.

'l. Assessocnt of Locol Factors. Ihe Soviets consider thnt the geography of the Berlin problcn confers great advantages upon then. They are therefore prone to believe that, sooner or later, the West will have to acknowledge its local military inferiority and begin to acquiesce ln Soviet deoande. In the no ant ice, the Soviets need not fear in Berlin, as they orten oust in non-Bloc areas, that their opportunities are fleeting and must be seized or lost; they are conscious that, as the situation stands today, the choice of timing and method remain, except perhapsull crisis, lirgely within their control.

II. SOME SPECIFIC SOVIET REACTIONS

5. Specific Soviet reactions to individual US moves would, of course, depend heavilyunber of icmedioto related factors. Inowever, the foregoing considerations provide

sense indication of tho tanner in which the USSR uight interpretrespond to vorious US measures. Wo discuss in tbe final section their general reaction to the totality of Western raeasuras.

6. Military Measures. The LESR would be anxious, in tho oilitory field above all, to prove that it could not be intlni-dated. The allitant note struck nt the recent anniversary-of Hitler's invasion and the display of strength code on Aviation Day were olrost certainly designed to serve this purpose. To the sore end, Xhrushchcv hasarge increase inexpenditures and suspended the scheduled reduction of Soviet forces. In response to US coves to strengthen its forces in Europe, the USSR would aloost certainly undertake equivalent naves and nake recurrent tangible deaoootrotlons of its strength. Tbe USSR night increase its forces in Poland and Germany orsoae DObilizatioo of reserves, particularly if the US "want on to further oilitory preparations. Additionally, the Soviets night hint or declare tint they wore stationing nuclear weapono with Soviet forces in East Otrnony or givo indications of thuir strength in tjsdiun and intercontinental range oiscilcs. US neasures to increase its readiness for general nuclear war would alnost certainly provoke Soviet neasures to ioprovc readiness.

Clearly tbe tining end peco of oeosures specifically relating to US readiness for nuclear uor would greatly effect the whole Soviet ottitune.

Ecococic fteasures. The Soviets probably would notvery seriously to purely contingent decisions to undertake NATO cnborgoes nnd to deny the use of NATO transport facilities. They would retain doubts that such decision* would be fully inpleoentcd or persisted in. However, they would observe NATO planning in this sphere as an iciportant test of the unity which the Alliance could custer over the Berlin question. Haraonious Western ngreeuent on far-reaching econoaic sonctions wouldincrcose the "rooolve which the USSR attributed to the NATO aeubera on this issue. This factor night in turn carry over to its osticat* of NATO's willingness to use oilitory force. However we nust recognize that there is an inherent danger that-the USSR would consider that ccracclc or other censures within the overall prograu, and not tho determination to use military force ifrepresent tho extent of our real intentions.

Measures Atood at the Sqtcllites. The Soviets probably believo that the Went has at pruscatnited capability

to stir up dlssldence in East Genxiny. But if attemptsapability succeeded, the Soviets would recognize and perhaps even overrate the vulnerability of the GDR regime, especially as tensions increased. They would probably be cuch less concerned on this score in the other Satellites. Measures of this sort would produce contradictory pressures on the Soviet leaders. An overt effort by the West to stimulate dissidence in East Gerrany and elsewhere in Eastern Europe through public state-nents and appeals to the population would probablytiffening of Soviet resolve. If, however, private Western warnings ond clandestine activitieo cor.vir.ced Moscowerlin crisis couldovertly supported wave ofin the Satellites, then tjie Soviets night be inclined to proceed nore cautiously in their coves against Berlin.-'

2/ The Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Departncnt of the Amy, offers the coonent that the Soviets would be susceptible to pressures in this field only if the West produced evidenceapability to support and protect anti-Soviet-rcglne ooveaents. Without such evidence, he believes that the proposed activities would tend to firm the Soviets' dete mi nation to ellnlnatc Western control and influence in West Berlin.

9- Political Msasures. As the posited us course cf action unfolded, the Soviets would be alert to signs that itundanentol shift Id us policy wbich could effect tbe East-West cotrpetitipnroader front than Central Europe. In this connection, they would probably interpret steps toua talced expansion of the us defecGe effort asenerally harder andaggressive American line over the entire range of confrontation. They would regard this as undesirablethey would believe that this turn in us policy would moke it difficult tos response to possible future "soft tactics." This consideration, we believe, would weigh as heavily with then as would the prospect that they uight have to adjust their economic plansong period in order to keep pace with the us effort with increased military expenditures of their own.

10. Measures Ained at World Opinion. The ussr wouldtake the us courses of action postulated in our probleu into full account in its already substantial propaganda conpoign on the Berlin question. It would calculate that Westernof this sort woulditherto unparalleled opportunity to heighten apprehensions in Europe and divide the meLibers of NATO.

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Soviet efforts to Influence European opinion would therefore piece heavy stress on Soviet nilitary night and the consequences of nuclear wur, while ot the saoc tiue euphaeizlng that, for the USSR's port, the path of negotiation renaloed open. For Don-European audiences, the USSH would probchly concontrcto upon tbe alleged peaceful nature of its proposale and attecpt to contrast then with the warlike posture of its opponents. It would seek to portray the West as lacking constructive political suggestions aud unwilling to negotiaterobleu which eo-dcnGered world peace.

III. f! OTHER COUNTRIES The rfeubors of NATO

U. S prograu of preparatory ueasurcs Intended to dcuonstrate Western resolution over Berlio, andornituent to general war if necessary, would confront NATOrucial test of the viability of the alliance. The io-nediate consequence in the NAC would probablytrengthening of NATO's cohesion ln the face of an iupending crisis, coupledense of relief that the US was asserting leadership.

However, an undercurrent of rdsgiving wouldrca the start, and if Western censures failed toisibly sobering effect ou the USSR, this feeling would grow. At this point,for on exhaustive attempt at negotiations would rapidly pick up strength. The chances arc good that tbe ostfcers would cooperate In Joint plcnniug for contingency actionc, but if tec-oions continued to lucrease, indications would probably arise that socb of the ueobers would be unvilllng, in the final analysis, to reoort to rdlitary cctloa. ioe of crislo, raieh would depend oa the actions of West Gcrcaay, Fronce, and the UK.

12. Went Gcrcaoy. Tho West Genon COvermiont would be quick to support in priielpla and cooperateATO-wide ccti-prchcraivc prograo of the sort postulated here. The Ceruan authorities would feel corultted to follow the US lead on oili-tcry preparationsossible Berlin crisis, fearing that their fciluro to accept the sarxi risks as tho US would discredit the Federal Republic withir. the NATO alliance and have far-reaching adverse cousequeuccs for Gertnr. interests ic Berlin. The Ceruaus are keenly aware of the existence of reservations concerning Berlin policy in the UK and other NATO countries, and they would

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react to various proposals with oo eye to stror^thanlcs the hand

of those inho areorcolicy on Borllo.

13- he saue tiae, Bonn would increase its insistence that it be granted full participation in nil future Alliedplanning for Berlin. ifith regard to specific oilitoryGeruan defense officials would be Likely to object strenuously to any changes in the control arranget-ents for nuclear weapons wblch In their view indicated that these night not bo ovoilable to the NATO shield forces. .He believe, however, that they would not press these objections to the point of intransigenceeriod of crisis over Berlir..

Vt. Ue believe that the UtOt Genan public would, by end large, follow the lead of the national govemoent. The political oppositionizable segnent of the press would probably accept coptlngoncy planning and actual rxmsures of prcporodncss but would urge, with increasing vigor as the crisis deepened, that another round of negotiations be tried and that political and ecoccciic uecsures be employed before ullitary ixnms. were undertaken.

ong as General de Gaulle reuslns inwill alnost certainlyosture ofoo the Bcrliu question. De Gaulle's longand his personal experiences ln internationalhove convinced hie that resoluteness is theeapon

in dealing with cn opponent. Be is already eophasizing theiijportaace of France's European obligations; he haswithdrawal of one division frou Algeria and has additional forces, including soce air units, will be onshortly. We believe that as the crisis sharpened heunder growing public pressure to soften the FrenchBerlin hut that ho will continue to deciiiate French

de Gaulle could be expected to ioitd hisa set of cctjpreheusive preparatory oca cures, be nightwish to use tha Berlin crisis as one DOM proof,ripartite global directorate, nuclear sharing,of NATO. However, even if he received noon these natters, wo believe his positionio

the Soviets and the Berlin problen would not change significantly.

17 MhllGecently shown itccl/to follow US initiative in contingency planning for the Berlin problem, we believe tlwt current British firnnesa in the face of Soviet bluster is designed coinly to prepare tho wayew attempt at nefiotiatior.. The uajor coesideratious Guiding British policy will be: (a) tbe credibility of the US deterrent; (b) tbe UK'6 vulnerability; (c) the adequay of NATO's conventional capabilities; and (d) tho sensitivity of the British public to any soverncent cioves that night bringet war.

18. Public apprehension over the possibility that thesht becooe ecgaaeduclear war would rise sharply oo US preparatory ections gave unmistakable evidence of theof US deteruluatioii. Further, British officials would aluost certainlyhat there was insufficient tine to strengthen their cocvcntioonl forces on the Cootlne:rt to the point where those forces couldigh threshold before the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons. The British field couLccders already regard NATO capabilities to fight without nuclear weapons os axtreuely low. Accordingly, the UK would seek to insureituation arising in which it lost to

the US all initiative in the determination of strategy. With this end in viov, it would oloost certainly demand an opening of negotiations with the Soviets before agreeing to participate fully in the proposed oensures, and would actively solicit tho support of other NATO oeobers in this endeavor. At the sacra tliw the UK will continue to give support to the US contingency planning. However, formal UK support for an allied policy of firmness in Berlin would probably be undercut by evidencesritlGhto negotiate so strong as to diminish the credibility of the UK's resoluteness in Soviet eyes.

19- Other NATO Mathers. The other European NATO countries, including Italy, would generally tend to take their cues frcti the US, TJK, France, and West Germany if the latter were acting in unison. By and large, they regard tho Alliance as their best guarantee of national survival and would accept the implementationpecific prograu of preparatory censures, designed to stiffen the resolve of the Alliancehole. However, there would be deuond3 for full consultation within NATO. Moreover, some ucuber governments, notably the Scandlnavices, are faced with strong public attitudes on nuclear warfare atxl would probably advice against steps which they felt might lead to nuclear war. Wo believe, however, that in the end

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they would accept NATO decisions, although they would try to uliiiuizc their own direct participation in the proposed censures.

Wen-NATO Countries. Few ofr.-hV.TO countries ore concerned with the richts and wrongs of the Berlin question. Those closely linked to the crjjor antagonists see it prienrilyest of ntrength in which each hopes that his benefactor-will prevail. The cojority of the countries of Asia and Africa,hove regarded the issueower struggle irrelevant to their own concerns except insofar as it threatens toeneral war,esult of which they would inevitably suffer.

The US course of action considered here, however, end Soviet exploitation of the dangers it raised, would unke this outcoixt appear likely to the uncomitted countries. The outcoae would probably bo increasing pressure in tho UN, led by such countries an India, to force the antagonists to negotiation. Although US efforts to convince world opinion of the aggressive nature of Soviet dcuands on Berlin wouldood effect in scue quarters, ether sectors of opinion would conclude that US oilitcry preparations constituted the itoro innediate threat to the peace. Much irould depend on whatever initiatives the US took to resolve the crisis by negotiation.

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At an advanced stage of crisis, local aversion' to US overseas bases which uight becoce targets in tiue of war would probably intensify. This would be cost likely in Libya and Morocco, where the governnentn night seek to deny the US use of its bases, and in Japan, where intense leftist pressure would ain at achieving the sone result.

East Cermny. The East German rcgioe will recoin generally responsive to Soviet instructions, particularly in tiue or crisis. Eowever, Ulbricht will also urge Khrushchev to oointoin and increase the pressure of the West to moot tha Bloc's demands and to avoid further postponements. Should it appear that the West Berlin escape route night be closed off, the refugee flow fron East Germny would probably swelland tbe region would probably respond with stricter controls. As the crisis heightened there eight well bo.manifestations of unrest in the East German population, although we believe there would be no general outbreak. Wethnt the extent of the response to outright appeals for antlregice activities would dependreat oany unpredictable circumstances including the apparent icr-iinenee of military action and cannot be forecast accurately.

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2k, Conounist Chlr-a. Kc bclievoS course of action stressing oilitary preparations in Europe would encourage the Chinese to search for local opportunities through which totheir influence and pcwcr In the Far East at US expense. The Soviets night see advantage inhreat to South Korea, in United Chinese probing actions lu tbe Taiwan Strait or in intensifications of present North Vietnacese and Fathct Lao pressures on the South Vietnnocse and Royal Lao governments,such actions to be essentially. low risk policies but of sufficient seriousness to the US toseful diversion. However, tbe USSR would probably regard the Berlin question as sufficiently dangerous, and sufficiently susceptible toto make it inprudent to encourage or tolerate the raising of tensionsimultaneous oajor end overt challenge in another area.

25. In North Vietnam and Laos, Soviet Influence is probably strong enough to allow Moscow's views to prevail over any possible Chinese desire to extreae Bloc action there, at leastuestion of whether to undertake overt, major military aggressions. Although the possibility of Chinese Concunlst cxtreoe oilitary action against Taiwan, Southeast Asia, or South Korea cannot be ruled out, wesuch action unlikely. China would still have to contendreat US strategic superiority in tho Western Pacific.Peiping could not, we believe, feel nssured of full Soviet

supportenture undertaken against Moscow's adviceime of beovy Soviet engageucnt in Europe. Finally, the Chinese

would have to consider their subsequent relations with the

Soviets as likely to be ruptured or severely strained.

we believe that extrerje Cooounist oilitary action

in the Far East would probably not be undertaken by China, unila-

terolly or os Moscow's scent,onsequence of the posited US

course of action. However, should the Chinese Nationalists, in

an atoocphere of general crisis, oakc oilitary oaves against

Cocuuiiist China, Peiping would react vigorously and would have

Soviet backing.

TV. PROBABLE SOVIET COURSES OF ACTION

Soviet Estimate of Western Intentions

central factor in determining Soviet reactionstheir appraisal of ultimate Western oilitary intentions. will rest in large oeaaure on the Westernwhich they observe. But political, econooic,ueasures will also ploy an important part onof their opponent's general resolve on the Berlin

question, ond specif lcolly on Westernes to use-force.

These Soviet calculations would be exceedingly coapll-coted. The postulated course of action, and particularly the military preparations envisaged, uould alnost certainly raise substantially tbe Soviet leaders' estimate of Western willingness, in the most general sense, to defend the Western position in Berlin at successively higher levels of military conflict. But this new appreciation would not provide thee with ready indications as to precisely what lengths they could safely proceed with encroach-ucnts against Berlin.

The Involvement of Prestige

29. The Soviets would be acutely conscious that the US course of action was raising the stokes in the Bast-West In developing their coueepthift in the "iiorld reiation ofhey have identified Berlinigual example of the kind of position which the West, in thisnew situation, con no longer maintain. They would regard the postulated course of actionirect challenge to this central proposition, to which they have coouitted their prestige and their policy.

Western preparations designed to beunostentatious would be interpreted by tbo Soviets asto their prestige. In the first place, Sovietwould probably ploy up and even exaggerate these proin an effort to turn sentioent against the US. Inplace, the Soviots wish their contentionrelation of forces not only to be appreciated by theto be bono in upon Western leaders themselves. Theygreatly unsettled by the prospect that enenyalone tho world at large, would conclude that theon BrOUDda of its own choosing, hod been caught cut in

a bluff. Wc believe it lirportant to point aut that the manner and tiaing of US preparatory measures would have an inportanton the dogroa to which Soviet prestige was comitted. In particular, uilitary preparctary measures undertaken with fanfare at on early stage of the developing crisis over Berlin would have the effect of coking the Soviet negotiatinc position ncre rl^rid.

this challenge to Soviet prestige we recognizewhich could cause the USSR to deviate froo Itscalculations of risk and advantage. At the least,feel compelled to respondtrong public posture

and uilitary manures of their ovn in order to prove that they could not be intimidated. At the most, they night feel impelled to proceed further with their announced unilateral intentioa3.

Cthcr Factors

32. Within this range, the Soviet reaction will bein important ways by various inrjediato factors. One of these is the roarer in which tbe Berlin problem develops in the coning months. The Soviets are ct present hinting at theof new negotiationsay which indicates that they hope to put tbe Berlin question into diplomatic channelsull-scale threat to their prestige develops. ater stage, perhaps after they had already taken some moves tounilaterally, they night find it nore difficult to agree to terra of negotiation which the West could accept. Another factor is the degree of Western disunity which they perceive; if this disunity is great enough, they oight consider it advantageous to respond with intense pressures in order to maximize thecosto of the US courses of action, confident thathowdown looted, they could avert it byhreatened step. Another important factor would be tbe extent to which

Western diplomatic, political, and econcaic ceasures hadthe Soviets that recourse to unilateral action would be contrary to their interests. inal elerjent ia theand perseverance displayed by the US itself; having persuaded theciselves in the peat that the US alnost certainly would notto general war over tbe Berlin issue, the Soviet leaders would be prooo to hold to, thla estimate if they detected contradictions or uncertainty in the Anerican stance.

The Sovietosition

33. Wo continue to believe that the Soviets hope to achieve their nlcs in Berlin through negotiations. Their ooro recent pressure is intended to bring about negotiations oo terns cost favorable to thcuselves. Wo have previously estimated that the nilUnun Soviet position in such negotiations would probably be onreenent providing 3one de facto recognition of the GDR and arrangements for Berlin which at leost laid thefor further Coaounist advancesater date, or perhaps only tho second of these.^/ How night the postulated US course of action affect the Soviat position ln future negotiations?

, "Soviet Short-Toro Intentions Regarding Berlin andated

3Jt. Tbe way in which the two sides arrive nt negotiations could,ecisive influence oa the answer to this question. Negotiations eight arise in an otrjosphere of crisis in which tbe Soviets viewed their prestige as directly and visibly challesiged. In this instance, for the reasons we have cited, we believe thct their position would harden, their Dininuu denaads would rise, ond they would be oore willing tD allow the talis to break down. In taking tbis line, they would be concerned prioarlly to deal with the iacediate threat to the inage of their general power position, an image which they conceive to be, in political terns, as iopcrtant as its actual substance. In tbis event, they would probably plan to revertourse of unilateral action, that they could keep each snail, individual step within tho bounds of reasonable risk in the light cf fluctuating Western readiness and resolve to oppose then.

35- Cc the otber hand, negotiations night begin in clrcun-stances when the Soviet loaders, although aware of the unfolding US course of action, did not consider that this course had gone so far as to increase drastically the extent to which their prestige was already engaged. In this case, they oight choose to workolution which reduced the lecediato tensions

surrounding the Berlin issue and at the same ttce did not:the possibility or future advancesiore propitiouo tiae. They night settle, for example,elatively Innocuous agreement which required neither side toram ticor provided for continuing lover-level negotiations, or both.

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36. In either event, bovever, we believe that tho postulated US course of action, if carried through skillfully and without serious breaches in Western ranks, would cause the Soviets tourther measure of caution ln their approach to the Berlin probleu. So long aa Western readiness retainedand Western resolve appeared to then firo, they would alrjontraise their estUoto of therlokcand political liabilities CO socio ted with unilateral action. They would be equallyhowever, to pre servo the image of the USSRtrong and confident power which was sooner or later to hove its-way ln Berlin. It retains possible that,ime of lr.tor.se otress, these conflicting yet fundatental considerations would lead the Soviets into an action rash by even their .own standards, oriscalculation. Wo tliink it more likely, however, that they would foresee and forestallritical point and Dale rate

tbolr policy os necessary, intending to return to the attachnter and carer tine. In making this estimate, we arc conscious that, as the postulated course of action unfolded, cany unpredictable factors would cooe into play which cake it impossible toinal Judgment today with any very high degree of assurance. This suggests tbe high importance of at continuing review of oil eleccnts of the situation.

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