THE SOVIET ATTITUDE AND TACTICS ON THE BERLIN PROBLEM (SNIE 100-5-60)

Created: 3/22/1960

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SPECIAL

INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER 0

THE SOVIET ATTITUDE AND TACTICS ON THE BERLIN PROBLEM

by tht DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL> m

Tht feiiOKaig tnlelhgence csanitaliatt participated tn Uit preparation of thU estimate: Tht Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organitettons of the Departments ol Slate, the Army, the Nary, the AU Force, and The Joint Staff.

Concurred tn by the UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE flOAKD onMarch IHO. Concurring uert tht Director oland Research, Department ol State; the Assistant Chiel ol Staff lor intelligence. Department ol tht Army; tht Assist-

to the Secretary ol Detente. Special Operations; and thta! the National Security Agency. The Atomic Energy Commission Representative to the USIB, and the AssistantFederal Bureau ol investigation, abstained, the tabled being outside of their jurisdiction.

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THE SOVIET ATTITUDE AND TACTICS ON THE BERLIN PROBLEM

THE PROBLEM

To estimate the current Soviet attitude on the Berlin problem and the manner in which Soviet tactics may develop over thc next several months.

THE ESTIMATE

Current Soviet Approach To the Berlin Issue

The Issue of West Berlin probably seems to the Soviels toey one in thc Maymeeting. Although they haveit, at leastormal sense, to the other agenda items of disarmamenteace treaty for Germany, they probably do not expect any very far-reaching results at this first Summit on these latter problems. They probably think that thereair chance that the Western Powers will take some step loward accommodation on theissue if the Soviet case is pressed hard and skillfully.

Their hopeuccess of some sort on Berlin in the Summit negotiations evidently restsenuine confidence in the strength of the Soviet position. Khrushchevhopes that the Western Powers will be disposed to make concessions because Ihey recognize that the USSR is capable of andunilateral actions which. If reacted against with force, would involve them in greater risks than they arc willing to take. Apparently contributing also toontinuing belief, which wasduring the Geneva Foreign Ministers meetings, lhat the Western Powers may not

be able tonited front against Soviet demands.

Reflecting this appraisal of the situation, as well as an attempt lo buildtrongposition In advance of the Summit, there hasoUceable hardening ofpublic statements on the Berlin question in recent months. The threateparate peace treaty with East Germany has become more insistent and innuendoes about theof this act for the Western position in Berlin more ominous. In thus attempting to build up pressure Khrushchev has come as close as possible lo repudiating his pledges against Issuing an ultimatum withoutdoing so. The Soviets are probably awareoo obvious and excessive use ofcould have the effect of compromising the move for detente which they claim to want, or possibly even prejudice Westernat the Summit Conference. But their dilemma is that they realize lhat,pressure at least in the background, the Western Powers have no incentive to consider the Soviet demands on Berlin seriously at all.

Thereense, we believe. In which the Soviets do genuinely wantdetente. In many respects. Khrushchev's internal policies and his plans for competing against Western influence in uncommitted areas would be

favored by some degree of cold war truce Nevertheless, the SovieU' understanding of what constitutes detente continues to bein terms of Western concessions or, as they put it, "abandonment by the West of cola warhis Is not ali hypocrisy; Khrushchev probably really believes that the West should see the Soviet gains in powereason for finally accepting the status quo in Eastern Europe, adjusting the "abnormal" situation in Berlin, and giving at least de facto recognition to East Germany. Whilespoke onctober of "mutualthis note has not been sustained, and there is currently no sign that theIntend to approach the Berlin problempirit of what the West would consider mutual accommodation.

do not believe that Uie Soviets'a relaxation of tensions is urgentexclude tactics of very severe pressureWest in pursuit of their objectives inWhile the language of relaxationcoexistence Is the same as thatbeen employed by Soviet policyegotiating phase, ita fundamentally differentIs not now conceived, asactical maneuver to cope withof superior power, but rather as ato obtain peaceful delivery of thewhich thc Soviets consider theirpower entitles them to expect. Thisapplies particularly to the case ofwhich the Soviets now see as anWestern position. In this mood,not be willing to accept for long ato their demands without anincrease the pressures very substantially.

Tactics at the Summit

the Paris meeting opens Uieposition is likely toaximumof the two German states,treaty or treaties with them on thethe Soviet draft, and thc Free Cityfor West Berlin. We do not believewill allow the issue ofto endanger the conference,Uie Soviet peace treaty draft is likely to

be pushed only pro forma. As for Berlin it-sell, the Soviets already are on record as being willing to approach their objectives by stages, or through an Interim agreement limited in tune. Therefore, ln negotiations concerning Berlin, the hard bargaining areas for Uiewill be: (a) whether in principle the "abnormal" sltuaUon In Berlin should be(this will exclude explicit acceptance of the West's principle that Its rights continue until Germany isnd (b) what first steps should be taken toward altering thcregime" In West Berlin inew status. Since the Summitwill be of too brief duration to permit any intricate or prolonged maneuvers ina negotiating position, we expect that these essentials ol the Soviet position wiUfairly promptly.

This approach probably excludes any Soviet designa)or tension-producingin the Summit Itself. It means lhat the Soviets will not Insist upon achieving their full Free City plan at once. We believe that they would be satisfied to obtain undertakings which would mark Western consent to begin changing Uie situation In West Berlin. The Soviets may even be willing toertain ambiguity about Uie meaning of the steps taken. They recognise that the ability of the West to maintain Its position Inritical degree,elief on the part of the West Berlin population In the wUI and power of Uie West lo preserve the freedom of the city. If thc steps taken were viewed in Berlin as likely to lead ultimately lo Westernajor loss of confidence in the intentions of the Western Powers wouldand could undermine the situationand cause severe economic disruption. Unfavorable reactions in West Germany also would probably further contribute to theand economic weakening of thein Berlin. In such an atmosphere, the Soviets would expect to move still more rapidly toward thc outcome they seek.

Consequently, Uie steps for which they are most likely to press ln order to give thcof Western retreat wiU probablya reduction hi Western troop strengths;

s f. r; t

ol Wesl German political andaclivilies from theormalby the Western Powers or anylink between West Berlin and the Federal Republic; Soviet (and if possible East German) participationupervisoryto control "subversive activities" and otherwise lo "reduce tensions" In West Berlin during an Interim phase of limited duration. We arc unable to judge whether such steps, or which of them, would constitute thc minimum Soviet position. It is possible that the real minimum would be simply an agreement tonegotiations on Berlin with terms or reference which the Soviets could Interprettep toward an eventual outcome favorable to them.

Is possible, but we think unlikely,Sovicls would be willing to postponeon the Berlin issue if theywere good prospects for progressissues. The disarmament field, takenwhole, is loo large and complex and theare too far apart to permit ofSoviets would be likely to call progress.possible that Western concessions onor on partial disarmament steps inIncluding restraints on Westhave thc effect of removing thefrom the center of the stage forbeing. However, any postponementBerlin Issue achieved in this fashionbe of brief duration. Themost likely to lead Khrushchev toBerlin issue In abeyance would befor negotiationsour-poweror an alt-German committeeset time limit on the termsencethe "two Germanics."

Soviet Actions Post-Summit

the Summit should result in aon Berlin, and the Soviets arethat no movement in thewill be forthcoming, they wouldbroad choices. They could agree tofor extending negotiation atwithout any Western commitmentto agreehange In theProbably they would think thatthis would be tantamount to calling oft for

the present al least thc campaign on thcissue which began Inhey would probably not expect to be able to maintain sufficient psychologicalor pressure if negotiations could thus appear lo be extended indefinitely.they could proceed to make the separate treaty with East Germany. Their commitment to do this has been so explicit and so often repeated that we think It likely they have already resolved, barring aat the Summit favorable to thedemands, to take the step. Theyhave not yet decided upon_tho liming or upon what "consequences" they should apply to the Western position in and access to Berlin.

A separate treaty would probably not be signed Immediately after the Summitecent Interval might also be allowed after the President's visit to thc USSR, although an announcement that they were beginningwith Interested parties forreaty might come at any time, evenafter the Summit. In any case, if no prospectreak in the stalemate appearedew months, it ls likely that atreaty would actually be signed.

In taking this step, the Soviets would probably not Intend immediately toqueeze on access to Berlin. They might use some technicality to delay transferring access controls for several months. And when the transfer look place, they would probablythe Western Powers to continue to use thc access routes under the "agent" theory, although the Soviets would not themselves concede that the East Germans were present at entry points as their agents. In this new phase their principal lever would be the threat of an unacceptable administration of access controls by the East Germans. We believe that even In this phase the Soviets would still seek to achieve their aim of altering the status of Berlin basically through Westernin negotiations. However, at some point, depending on their Judgment ofIntentions, they might attempt to deny access or to impose conditions which In the Western view were equivalent to denial of access.

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