USSR APPROACHES SHOWDOWN ON NUCLEAR TEST-BAN ISSUE

Created: 10/30/1958

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Soviet leadersvie* the Geneva talksuclear test-cessationopening onctober, as the cllnax of their Intensive efforts over the peat three years to aako thia the central Issue Id the East-Vest disarma-ment debate. The USSR, however, faces the severest test of Its pose as the world's principal advocate of nalting nuclear tests. The announcement onugust by the United States and Britainonditional one-year suspension of testsonctober hasMoscowifficultto Its long-standingto blame the West for failure to agreeest ban.

Soviet maneuvers such as the unilateral teat suspension last March and concessions to

ensure the success of lastGeneva technical talks^ona test-detection system have been based on the assumption that the United States and Britain,howdown,could be expected to reject any agreement to halt tests which was not linked to progress on other aspects of disarmament. Moscow'sproposals, therefore, have been aimed at increasingon the West to accept an unconditional test ban byto meet Westernto the USSR's terms.

In view of this pattern of Soviet policy, tbe Sovietat Geneva probably will concentrate on discrediting the American and British position; this makes an extension of their one-year test suspensionon the installation of an effective iospoctlon system aod satisfactory progress in reaching agreement on and lo implementing other substantial arms control measures.

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fOR RELtflSE PATTERNS AND PERSPECTIVES DflTLJUUOO? f

CURRENT INTELLIGENCE WEEKLY SUMMARY 30 8

Russians probably will press for an immediatedecision" oo anand permanent test ban, while Insisting that elaboration of an inspectionWestern condition forbe discussed subsequently. While the Soviet delegates probably will be prepared to discussthey will seek toand defer tbis problem by pointing out that the Geoeva technical experts already have unanimously agreed that asystem is "possible and feasible."

The USSR's reaction to the Anglo-American announcement ofugust and its proposalsest-cessation agreementthat the Soviet leaders continue to believe tbey have more to gain by constantlyto make the West appearforest-cessation agreement than bythe far-reachingInvolvedestontrol systemto Washington and This line of actionMoscow's basic estimate that the nuclear stalemate will cootlnue indefinitely and that the psychological aspects will dominate the Bast-West struggle.

In this situation, tbe USSR's fundamental aim is to stigmatize nuclear weapons by all the diplomatic andmeans at its disposal, thereby inhibiting the West's willingness to use them, but without sacrificing Sovietof action by accepting tbe restraints that would be Imposed by an effective control system.

Soviet Policy7

Moscow's maneuvers over the past year tolear-cut Showdown with the West on the issueest ban separate from all other aspects ofhave centered onthe west's contention that Soviet opposition tocontrols is the principal barrierermination of tests. The USSR's proposal ln the London talks on7wo- to three-yearuoder internationalwas the initial attack on what Moscow regarded as the most vulnerable point in Western

Before introducing this ostensible concession, however, the Russians had carefully probed the firmness of the United States' position, which heldest ban could not be separated from other aspects of theproblem. The American delegate at tbe talks stated that the United States would not agreeemporaryexcept as part ofommitmentutoff date on the production of fissionable material forweapons. This apparently convinced the Soviet leaders that the Western powers would not accept any formula for an unconditional ban.

In his8 speech to tbe Supreme Soviet, Foreign Minister Gromyko stated that the USSR'sa two-to three-year suspension enforced by an International commission with control posts in the USSR, the United States, Britain, and the Pacific area, includingintended "tothe opponents of aof tests frome declared that after the West had rejected this proposal, "it becamehat this was not atatter of control but of stubborn unwillingness ot certain circles of thepowers to limit the nuclear arms race."

USSR's Unilateral Suspension

The unilateral suspension of Soviet tests decreed by the Supreme Soviet on8 was tho boldest stroke lnlong campaign to force the Western powers to take an

CURRENT INTELLIGENCE WEEKLY SUMMARY 30 October 8

stand on tbe tedt-ban Issue and to arouseresentment toward American and British nuclear policies. This move was timed to place the forthcoming Western tests lo tbe worst possible propaganda light. The Soviet leadersalculated risk that they could unilaterally suspend tests for some time without incurring serious military ordisadvantages. Theythey would be free totestingate of their choosing because the United States and Britain would not counter vltb proposals which would call the Soviet bluff.

Tho Supreme Sovietcarefully paved the wayesumption of Sovietby stipulating tbat should the United States and Britain continue their testa, tbe USSR would "act freely ln tbeofearing ln mind the Interests of tbeof the Soviet Union."

Geneva Technical Talks

Tbe oext move ln the Soviet campalgo to heighten pressures on tbe West to take anstand on an unconditional test ban was8 ofElsenhower's earlierfor technical talks on methods of detecting violationsossible test-cessation agreement. This stepa marked departure from the USSR's previous Insistence tbat all negotiations oncontrol of any aspect of disarmament could cone only after agreements had beenin principle.

This reversal of position was partly motivated by the need to offset tbe damaging effects of Moscow's abortive charges of US nuclear bomber flights over tbe Arctic toward Soviet Moscow had called an emergency meeting of the UNCouncil in which thecbarge backfired badly, and tbe Soviet delegate wasinto having to veto an American proposal for anInspection zone la tbe Arctic to prevent surprise attack.

During the exchange of notes between Moscow andon plans for thetalks, the USSR soughtto extract from the United States atacit commitment that the talks must lead to an agreement to end tests. The Soviet note ofune attempted toink between theecision to endy stating that the USSR "proceeds from thehatesult (of the quick conclusion of the talks)will be reached on theof ouclear weapons tests by all powers possessing-them."

Onune, Moscowurther note which charged that, by failing to agree that tbe talks must resultest ban, the United States was "dooming the conference to failure Tbe notehreat to boycott tbe meeting unless the United Statestbat the talks "must be subordinated" to tbe task ofest-cessation agreement.

This overnight reversal, which may have resulted from Khrushchev's personalwas an attempt to wring from the Unitedast-minute acceptance of theof an unconditional test ban, or falling that, to delay tho talks and thereby generate new pressures on Washington to change its position. But the USSR backed down and sent Its delegation to Geneva after tbe Uoited States had reaffirmed Its position and had announced that the American scientists were proceeding as scheduled.

It soon became apparent that the USSR wanted the talks

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to succeed and waa makingconcessions to achieve this end. The Americanof the Western delegation observed onuly that, in every important case, thebloc delegates hadthe major elements of tbe Western position, agreeing to points which the Westerndid not believe at the outset they would accept.

These unusuallytactics were governed by Moscow's expectation that an agreement on test-cessation methods would create heavyon tho West toeparate and unconditional test ban. The Russians believed that any Western failure tothroughechnicalwould place the United States and Britain in aodifficult position and appear to confirm Soviet charges that Western Insistence onwasoans ofa test ban.

Subsequent statements by Soviet leaders strongly suggest that the concessions at Geneva, like Moscow's proposal of7 for control posts toa two- to three-year test suspension, were aimed atdiscrediting the Western claim that the USSR wasfor failure to reachbecause of its opposition to an effective control system. Khrushchev declaredhat the Goneva agreement had "finally burled the legend about the alleged impossibility of control over the observance of an agreement to end nuclear tests." He underscored the USSR's acceptance of tbe Geneva recommendations and stated, "There can now be ,oo excuses or Justifications for refusiog to end at once and everywhere the experiments with nuclear weapons."

US-UK Suspension

The announcement by the United States and Britain on

8onditional one-year suspension of testing soems to have caught the Soviet leaders off balance. Theyrecognized thisajor challenge to their The Western initiative greatly complicated Moscow's plans for exploiting the Geneva technical agreement to embarrass Washington and London.

Khrushchev's reply came onugustravdaIn which he sought tothe announcement as Just "another attempt to lull the vigilance of the people showing legitimate concern at thenuclear tests carried out by the United States and Britain on an ever largere insisted that thedid not really change the Western position and thatand London "are still looking for loopholes to avoid ao lostant suspension ofe dismissed the proposal to stop testing for one year aa of "no importance whatsoever, ear is precisely the period necessary for preparing another series of nuclear tests."

As for tbe Westernto extend the suspension one year at'a time.Khrushchev charged that the United States and Britain "hedge thiswith such reservations and conditions that it becomes clear they have no real intention of renouncing further tests ofweapons."

Khrushchev then moved to bolster the Soviet positionajor showdown in thewhich the United States and Britain proposed for 31 His most immediatewas to counter anythat their tests lastbad given the Westerna commanding lead lo the nuclear race. His greaton this point wasIn his charge that thepowers had attempted to the Soviet moratorium to gain "unilateral military

SE8RET

advantages lor

After recalling that the Supreme Soviet decision ofarch had stipulated that If the other powers continued their teats, the USSR would be "free to act as It seeshrushchevthat the Western teats "relieve the Soviet Union of tbe obligation It had assumod unilaterally."

Tost Resumption

Oneptember, Moscow announced that Northern Seawould be held fromeptember toctober, "with actual use of various types of modernovietpouredrowing stream of arguments designed to explain and Justify thetest resumption. Gro-myko sought to offset theeffects of the new tests by calling on the UN Genoraloneptember toa "universal cessation" of tests "for all time."

ctober, the day after the USSR resumed testing, sent notes to the United States and Britain propoalng that tho Geneva conference be held at the foreign mlnlstors1move timed to create the impression of ew Soviet "initiative" and to demonstrate the importance the USSR to these talks. ctober press conferencethat the Soviet Union "has all grounds to discontinue its tests only after it conducts the same number of such tests as were held by the United States and Britain" sincearch was intended to underscore thofor resuming tests. Foreign Minister Zorln onctober reiterated Gromyko's stand in rejecting the western proDOsal for a one-year ban and reserved the right to match tbe number of Westorn tests since 31 March If the Geneva talks fail.

Geneva Tactics

Moscow's negotiatingprobably will be to make its demand for an immediate, permanent, and unconditional test cessation the key issue. The Soviet delegate willthat the first order of business must be toefinitive "political" agreement on test cessation. He probably will take the position that the Geneva technical talks have demonstrated the feasibility of an effective control system and that therefore there should be no difficulty in spelling out such details as the nature of the supervisory body, the of inspection teams, location of control posts, and the immunities and privileges of inspection personnel after the basic political agreement has been signed.

In hisugust Pravda Interview, Khrushchev defined the purpose of the conference as being "to conclude anto end for all time tests of atomic and hydrogen weapons of all kinds by alle made no mention of theproblem, dismissing its importance with the statement: "Considering the positiveof the Geneva conference of experts, these negotiations could be broughtonclusion within two or three weeks."

If in the course of the Geneva conference the Soviet leaders conclude that the United States and Britain will not abandon their position making the extensionne-yearcontingent onof an effective control system and "satisfactory progress" toward agreement on suchas limitation and reduction of fissionable material for weapons purposes, they may drop their demandpermanent" cessation and reintroduce the7 planwo- to

three-year suspension undercontrol.

Prevention of Surprise Attack

The USSR apparently will seek tolose link between the technical talks on measures to prevent surpriseto open in Genevahe conference on nuclear-test Soviet notes have stressed that any agreement on surprise attack must be made contingent on "definite steps" in tbe disarmamentest-cessation agreement. Moscow's note ofeptember explicitly rejected the American view that surprise-attack talks should take place without prejudice to theol tbe two governments on the timing andof the various aspects of disarmament. The fact tbat tbe test-cessation conference will open just ten days before the surprise-attack talks in the same city will facilitateefforts to underline the close relationship between these questions.

Moscow's acceptanceuly of President Eisenhower's earlier proposals for technical talks on the surprise-attack problem probably was motivated primarily by the need tothe adverse effects of tbe abortive Soviet charges against alleged Arctic flights of American nuclear bombers and the executions of theof the Hungarian revolt announced in mid-June. letter took the line tbat the surprise-attackhad become 'especially acute" because of the bomber flights.

Soviet tactics at theprobably will beon repeating previous Soviet schemes calling for the establishment of control posts at railway Junctions, large ports, and highways, andaerial inspection in "zones of concentration of military forces" ln centraland in equal portions of the Soviet Ear East and the western United States. Soviet can also be expected to stress tbat solution of the surprise-attack problem is bound up with the settlement of other questions, such as renunciation of the use of nuclear weapons and missiles, creationtom-free zone in Europe, a nonag-gresslon Dact between NATO and Warsaw Pact members, abolition of foreign bases, and reduction of foreign forces ln Germany and other European sti

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