SOVIET TACTICS ON BERLIN (SNIE 100-7-59)

Created: 6/11/1959

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SUBJECT: SOVIET TACTICS ON BERLIN

THE PROBLEM

To estimate likely Soviet tactics on the Berlin issue, assuming that the Geneva Conference terminates without result and without agreementummit meeting.

QUESTIONS POSED BY THE PROBLEM

1. If the Soviets allow the Geneva meeting to end in stalemate, they will presumably do so on the calculationeriod of additional pressure on the Berlin problem will finally induce the Western Powers to make substantial The Soviets might anticipateituation in which the Western Powers under pressureeepening crisis would be forced to come to the summit, and would be prepared there toettlement more favorable to the USSR than any they have;-so far contemplated. The main questions posed by this assumed Soviet course are: What degree of pressure would the Soviets think appropriate to achieve the result

sought? What would be the measures they might undertake to apply this pressure?

COURSE ITHE ALTERNATIVE OP EXTREME PRESSURE AT AN EARLY DATE

As an extreme degree of pressure the Soviets might proceed forthwith toeparate peace treaty with the ODR and simultaneously turn over Berlin access controls to the GDR. The latter could then begin, possiblyrief interval, to apply restrictions or conditions to access Intended to test the determination of the Western Powers and to raise tensions still further- The USSR could repeat its warnings that any resort to force by the Western Powers would cause the USSR to Invoke Its obligations under the Warsaw Pact. The Soviets would recognize that this degree ofwould probablyajor crisis, and they would not so act unless they estijnated that the West would notto force and would finally accept in substance the Soviet demandsevision of the status of Berlin.

Thereumber of reasons why the course of extreme pressure described in the preceding paragraph is probably not the one which the Soviets would adopt at this time. We believe that, as the Berlin crisis developed, the Soviets may have become less certain that they could count

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on the West not to react with force. They apparentlyat some point after they initiated the crisis last November that, unless they were willing to run grave risks of war, they would have to achieve their alms by negotiation. Moreover, to provoke such risks now would further compromise the "peaceloving" Image which Soviet policy ls trying toespecially in Asia and Africa. Even if the Sovietsthat tho Western Powers could be forced out of Berlin without hostilities, they would recognize that many-of>the post-crisis effects would be highly undesirable from the Soviet point of view. The Western Powers would probably beto close ranks and to Increase their military effort. This latter would probably take the form of accelerated growth of the missile-nuclear threat to the Bloc ln Western Europe, which the USSR has been trying hard to check. The outlook would be for an Intensified period of cold war tensions. The net effects of all this on the Bloc's current domestic and foreign policies would probably be seen by them as adverse. These considerations persuade usourse of extreme pressure ln the wakeeneva stalemate is not one tho Soviets would be likely to pursue. Even If they did pursue it, however, we believe that they would not do sooint which they estimated would be likely to lead to war.

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COURSE IITHE ALTERNATIVE OP GRADUATED, PROTRACTED PRESSURE TO OBTAIN RENEWED NEGOTIATIONS

U. The more likely alternative for the Soviets to adopt would be to Increase pressures on the Berlin Issue "gradually and only In such degree as ln their opinion would tend to induce the Western Powers to resume negotiations later, preferably at the summit, this time on terms more favorable to the Soviet positions. There would have toiceof calculation in this course. The measures taken to implement it would have to beind which the West would not see as mere verbal threats. On the other hand, they should not beind to present the Westait accompli ln Berlin which wouldhowdown prematurely. These measures would be intended to convince the West that the Soviets were prepared to take unilateral action, but that some time and room remained for negotiations tohowdown, and perhaps to salvage something of Western Interests. would be provided ln the form of Soviet statements of readiness to resume negotiations at any time. We think steps of this kind would be open to the Soviets to take, and that their course of action after Geneva would probably bo of this character.

oviet campaign to build up pressure gradually accompanied by demands to resume negotiations, would probably

begin with propaganda blaming the Western Powers' rigidity for the breakdown at Geneva. There would be warnings that the dangerlash over Berlin was increasing, andthat the USSR was still determined to achieve"itsin Berlin. Such propaganda could be orchestrated with harsher notes issuing from East Germany. lausible next 3tep would relate to the negotiationeparate peace treaty with the GDR, with intervals of time between thephasessettingate for negotiations,egotiating conference and initialling, and Once this latter stage had been reached, fullwould not need to be undertaken at once. The Soviets might first withdraw their forces from East Berlin as an earnest of their intentions, and only later and by degrees turn over access controls to the GDR. Even when this process was complete the GDR might still not attempt to interfere with Western access, and might even announce that it would not do soertain period. At this stage the Soviets would probably estimate that the Western Powers would still believe that they had room for negotiation since they have already agreed to accept GDR access control under some formulation of the agent theory. The aim at all stages would be to convince the Western Powers, or.at least one or

more of them, that the pooalblllty of negotiation remained open but was constantly narrowing.

6. The Soviets would probably recognize that such gradually mounting pressure might fail in its purpose ofthe Western Powers to resume negotiations on terms more favorable to the Soviets. But the Soviets wouldsee several advantages ln It. They would believe:

That the steps taken would have advanced the Sovietsnilateral achievement of their alms In Berlin or would have prepared the basis for direct harassment or closure of access to Berlin along the lines discussed in Paragraph 2.

That, even if they wished to resort to such extreme pressure finally, the protracted tension over the Berlin Issue would have sowed sufficient alarm and disarray in the West so that it would be unable to confront an eventual showdown with unity and firmness.

Finally, that even if the course of graduated pressure did fall the Soviets would not be obliged to pass over to the more extreme course described in Paragraphhey could always decide to settlecompromise" which

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would leave the GDR and the USSRetter position than they had before raising the Berlin issue last November.

7. The carrying out of each Soviet move outlined ln COURSE II would be influenced by the firmness and unity with which the West met each successive step.

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