THE BERLIN CRISIS (SNIE 100-2/1-59)

Created: 3/17/1959

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HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM of

1 1 "Central Intellioenco Agency.

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Date ihhy

HE BERLIN CRISIS

THE PROBLEM

To re-examine estimates made inProbable Soviet Courses of Action Regarding Berlin and4

THE ESTIMATE

Wc have reviewed9 of9 in the light of Soviel behavior and pronouncements on the Berlin and German problems since that date. In our opinioiTJJhc judgments made in that paper remain valid.'

2 Soviet handling of the Berlin crisis in recent weeks haa been marked by some Increase in tactical flexibility. This has been evidencedore apparent willingness not lo regardayixed date for transferring access controls and other Soviet occupation rights to the GDR. the elaboration of the "free city" proposal to provide for "maintaining some sort ol minimum number of troops" of the three powers plus the USSR In West Berlin and thc offer of an East German guarantee of free access;illingness to participateoreign ministers' meeting. These variants on thc original Soviet proposals rail wilhin the range of tactical modifications which ourestimate anticipated We do not believe that they forecast any early willingness on the part of the Soviets to retreat from the more Immediate objectives they have setnhancement of the prestige and inter national status of thc GDR. removal of effec-

1alico lo llw footnote ot lheChief of Starr. Intelligence. USAF. recorded onr9

live Western political authority and military presence from West Berlin, and making all movement in and out of the city subject to the control of the ODR authorities.

This apparent flexibility ofoviet determination to Insure that thc channel of negotiation is kept openesolution of thc crisis favorable to the USSR Khrushchev apparenUy now believes that, by removing the ultimatum-likeof thc original Soviet demands, hc can induce lha West to accept negotiations which will result in achievement of important Sovieterlin and In Germanyhole He probably also still believes that, if negotiations do not winundamental change in the status ofnilateral turnover ofhr GDR will not necessarily leadilitary involvement. As things now stand, Khrushchev is probably not convinced that the Western Powers will resort to localaction, and he will remain most difficult to convince that tbey will risk general war. over thc transfer of access controls.

Despite agreementinisters' meeting, Khrushchev still prefers to resolve the present crisis al the summit level. However. Moscow's notearch suggests that the level ofis less important to the USSR than the subject matter of the discussions, and that the

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Soviets wish to engage thc West inwhich would deal with Berlineace treaty but not with reunification. Theyexpect the Wesl to answerarch note with counterproposals on the termsoreign ministers' conference. However.oreign ministers' conference fails to take place, or fails to reach agreement acceptable to the Soviets, they will almost certainly revert to their demand for an immediate summitWhile the Soviets will probably be willing tolightly more elastic agenda formula than that now offered by them fororeign ministers' or summitIt Is unlikely that tliey will yield in their opposition lo negotiations on Germanby states other than the "two Gcr-manies."

c continue to believe that, so long aswhich seem promising to the Soviets were under way or In prospect, they would postpone turning over West Berlin accessto the GDR. The conspicuousto remove Soviet elements from Eastindicationseparate peace treaty with the ODR is in preparation, andthatreaty would terminate the occupation status of all Berlin, are intended at this time to bring pressure on the West to negotiate on Soviet terms Nevertheless, the USSR will soon bcosition loils occupation of East Berlin and could at any time give thc GBR control of the access routes to West Berlin, oveneace treaty. Should negotiations not take place, or should they appear likely to end inthc USSR will almost certainly turn over access controls In some form, most likely in conjunctioneparate peace treaty However, thc Soviets have probably not yet decided how they would allow the GDR to exercise control, or whether and U> what extent the GDR should attempt to restrict access These decisions would depend on future Soviet estimates concerning probable Westernespecially with respect lo the use of force. If thc Communists did at some point attempt to restrict access, they wouldbe carelul to do so gradually and in such

a manner that any Western resort toappear to be an extreme reaction toprocedural

Full-scale Soviet propaganda pressure on the Berlin Issue will continue prior to andany negotiations which may take place. The objectives are clearly to prevent thePowers fromirm and united stand, and to obscure for world opinionthe aggressive character of the Sovietonrincipal thrust of Soviet propaganda seems now to be directed at the Adenauer government in the hope of isolating it from its Western allies and of sapping its authority at home. The Sovietsonsiderable body of Western opinion regards unification and,esser extentree Berlin, as primarily German Interests. This sentiment theyulnerable element In Westernto risk war in the present crisis. At the same tune, the attacks on thc Adenauer government highlight the Soviet purpose to use thc crisis to disrupt the relationshipthe Federal Republic and Its NATO allies.

The Soviets must be aware that one of the key elements in the Western position is thc firmness and confidence of the West Berlin population. The growing propaganda which seeks to representhange in the status of the city ls inevitable is intended topublic morale there. Demonstrations and maneuvers of one sort or another may be undertaken to increase the pressure. Major harassment ol civil traffic between the city and West Germany could seriously affect the morale of the Berlin population in theof immediately effectiveHowever, we think it unlikely that such harassment would be attempted pending the outcome of negotiations, because such action would make less credible thc pledges of free access now being offered under the "free city" proposal and would tend to solidify theallies. There would be greater likelihood of interference with civil traffic if the Soviets were to transfer controls on Allied access to the GDK.

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Tlie Berlin population seems in the main to be steady, although manifestations ofin certain quarters are reported. We do not now foresee any panic reactions or any important decline In economic activity.barring some new US action orthere will probablyendency with

the passage of time for past Westernof supportree Berlin to loseof their eflect. In theseecline ln public morale In West Berlin couldactor of importance affecting the strength of the Western position inthe Soviets on the Berlin issue.

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