Part of a subsection of a node in the Cold War Document and Speech Meta Node

III. The Emerging Areas

A. The Political and Social Milieu

31. It is one of the key points in the Soviet estimate of the world situation that conditions are favorable for Communist gains in the colonial and ex-colonial areas of the world; there is much to support this Soviet view. The nationalist revolutions in such areas as Africa and the Arab states have been directed largely toward revamping political and social systems in order to modernize societies and to achieve a place in the sun. The Communist revolutions in Russia and China arose from broadly comparable aspirations. Indeed, the system in these countries is widely admired in the newer nations of the world because it has been demonstrably effective in achieving rapid modernization, while the West is associated in their minds with the colonialism which they blame for most of their problems and miseries, both real and fancied.

32. Many of these countries in emerging areas--especially in Africa and the Middle East--are in the charge of revolutionary-minded leaders; in others of them such leaders are making a bid for power. These leaders are members of an intelligentsia who have frequently had an education along Western lines, some of it in military schools, and who have become aware through travel and education--or through observation of the mode of life of Westerners in their midst--of the backwardness of their countries and the poverty of their people. Out of a sense of obligation, frustration, and impatience, they have adopted a revolutionary attitude or taken revolutionary action against the old order--whether it was colonial or indigenous. Despite the Western nature of their youthful training, they tend to be resentful of Western influence and critical of Western methods. They therefore are tempted by communism insofar as it is anti-Western and an effective method of bringing about rapid change.

33. Nevertheless, the revolutionary intelligentsia are generally chary of embracing communism. Some of them have accepted Communist advisers, economic aid, and diplomatic support, and some have even sided with the Communists against the West. But, for the most part they do not wish to accept all that now goes with the Communist ideology--the goal of a classless society, wholesale social reorganization, Soviet interference in or dictation of domestic policy, complete identification with the Soviet Bloc in international politics, and exclusion from Western economic aid and technical assistance. Moreover, many of them have become aware of their own nation's history--in some cases a distinguished history--and they see themselves as national figures capable of resurrecting some features of that past and binding them into the new fabric being created. Thus, they see themselves, not as capitalists, Communists, or exponents of any other borrowed ideology, but as nationalists carving out their own destinies and selecting from the past and from other societies the elements with which to fashion new states and new societies of their own.

34. There are, of course, wide variations within the emerging world, not only as among major areas--Latin America is quite different from Africa--but even within major areas. There are wide diversities of all kinds in social structure, degree of advancement, extent of revolutionary feeling, degree of pressure upon available resources, extent of implantation of Western institutions, and cultural backgrounds. Whereas Latin America is Christian, is predominantly Western in language and culture, and has a long history of independence, Africa is a melange of languages, religions, and cultures, and is only now emerging from foreign domination. Even within a continent such as Latin America, there are societies which have passed through a major social revolution and others which still possess small social elites and a large mass of illiterate and poverty-stricken peasants and tribes.

35. There is, however, a large common denominator in the underdeveloped world. This is the political and social instability which is either manifest or dormant and which arises from the rapidity with which knowledge is growing and from the revolutionary manner in which large numbers of people are reacting to the changes in the world around them. Nearly all the nations of the underdeveloped world--whether in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America--are beset by problems springing from population growth, lack of development capital, rising popular expectations, internal political strife and competing ideological pressures, lack of political prowess and administrative and technical competence, and an inadequate sense of national identity. While some states, especially those barely emerging from tribalism, as in Africa, suffer more intensely than others from these assorted ills, even states such as India and the more advanced Latin American countries confront several of them to a most serious degree. Many states have adopted strongly socialist methods; some have held to constitutional methods of government with only the greatest difficulty; some have thrown out bloody dictators only to acquire equally distasteful successors; some have taken halting and others more dramatic steps toward the establishment of democratic governments.

36. In states confronted by these enormous problems, the tendency toward some blend of authoritarianism and socialism seems likely to continue. Revolutionary leaders attempting to deal with backwardness, tribalism, feudalism, corruption, economic pressures, and ineptitude often have no alternative but to stifle political opposition. Western states which set store by economic individualism and political freedom will probably be increasingly shocked by methods which will be adopted, but in the eyes of local leaders Western standards of political and economic conduct are likely to be irrelevant to the problem. Revolutionary leaders are likely to expect the West to judge them more by what they are trying to do than by the manner in which they are doing it. If the West does not understand and help them, they will tend to rely more and more heavily upon the Communists, until a point is reached when they can no longer extricate themselves from the Communist embrace.

37. Of all the problems confronting these nations that of the relation between population and economic growth may be the most difficult. Indeed, population growth is a grave world problem, with present rates making for a doubling of the world's population every 35-50 years. In 1930 the world population was two billion; today it is three billion; in twenty years it will probably be four billion; in forty years it may be six or seven billion. Growth is most rapid in the underdeveloped areas, where nearly everywhere it exceeds two percent a year. Ten years ago almost no nation had a population growth rate of three percent; now such rates are not uncommon and there is no reasonable prospect that they can be significantly reduced in the next decade, whatever means might be tried. These increases impede capital formation in the areas where it is needed most, since increases in production simply go to keep alive the larger numbers of unproductive old people and children. In some cases total GNP grows while per capita GNP falls. Standards of living are declining in some countries at precisely the time when the revolutionary leaders now in charge must begin to meet the expectations which have arisen in their own and in their fellow countrymen's minds.

38. The problem of maintaining standards of living and even that of satisfying to a degree rising economic expectations probably can be met with substantial infusions of outside aid and with the execution of national development programs. However, even if these countries received outside aid in massive quantities, they would still confront the grave political and social problems of backward and uprooted societies. Indeed, these problems will inhibit both the receipt and proper use of needed economic assistance. The present revolutionary leaders must surmount this great complex of problems if they are to sustain the nationalist character of their revolutions; if they fail, they may be replaced by Communist leaders ready to use Draconian methods and determined to impose permanent totalitarian institutions.

B. International Outlook

39. If, as we suggest above, the emerging countries will be preoccupied with their own problems, their attitudes toward the outside world will be determined largely by the way in which they feel the outside world impinges upon these problems. These countries and their leaders will not be concerned so much with ideological, moral, and cultural considerations as they will with manipulating outside influences in order to protect themselves or to advance their particular interests. The two great powers are likely to be viewed largely in terms of the threat or succor which they will afford.

40. Some of the emerging states have clearly aligned themselves with one or another of the two great powers. Many of these are states on the periphery of the Sino-Soviet Bloc--Iran, Pakistan Thailand, South Vietnam, and South Korea--and their leaders have aligned themselves with the US in order to obtain that military and economic assistance which they hoped would enable them to keep any domestic enemies at bay and to stand up against pressures from their powerful neighbors. Cuba alleges similar reasons for aligning itself with the USSR.

41. In general, however, those who thought they could safely do so have chosen neutralism, and indeed some of them have made quite a profitable thing of it. In their desire to achieve and maintain national independence they have sought to avoid commitment to either side, and they have recognized the value to both sides of their not falling under the domination of the other. This has permitted some of them successfully to seek economic assistance from both and some others to seek assistance from one side by suggesting that they might appeal to the other. Nevertheless, many of these countries, in the course of their colonial or semicolonial history, have been subjected to Western influences and institutions and have therefore come to feel that "neutralism" requires a pronounced reaction away from these influences and some closer relationship with the Sino-Soviet Bloc.

42. This trend has been accelerated by increased Soviet willingness to compete with the West in providing economic assistance and diplomatic support. Bloc economic assistance overall is still considerably less than the US equivalent, but the USSR in particular can substantially enlarge its program. Moreover, the USSR has some advantages over the US in carrying out aid programs; it can move more quickly and without regard to a variety of politically-imposed restrictions which characterize US activities. On the other hand, as Soviet aid becomes more commonplace and taken for granted, the USSR is beginning to encounter some of the criticisms and problems which the US has faced in its foreign aid programs.

43. We believe that if the present trend toward neutralism is not reversed, it will become so strong that it will draw away from the West some of those nations now associated with it. This might come about through revolutions in some of these countries--for example Iran or South Vietnam--with seizure of power by nationalist-neutralist forces; it could occur because existing regimes might decide to seek the supposed benefits and safety of neutrality; it could come about because these nations might decide that the US was becoming inferior to the Sino-Soviet Bloc in military power and therefore would no longer be willing or able to support them.

44. The neutralist posture of these countries seems to us likely to produce in the decade ahead some most serious policy problems for the US. Aside from the probability of withdrawal from Western association and attempts to balance Western with Soviet or Chinese influence, there will be continual pressures for economic aid and political support, for denunciations of colonialism, for concessions on disarmament, and for further Western retreat from positions of predominance or influence. The US position in the UN will probably become increasingly difficult, particularly since many of these countries--including such influential members as India and the UAR--now appear to believe that the UN machinery has been used by the major Western powers and especially by the US as an instrument of national, and hence in their view "imperialist," policy. For this reason, the idea of revising the UN charter and proposals to bring in Communist China have received widespread sympathy among the emerging nations. Their numbers are now so great that when their views become more crystallized--as now seems unavoidable--the hitherto predominant Western influence in the UN will be greatly reduced.

45. It is obvious that neutralism as a principle is fundamentally incompatible with the Soviet objective of a Communist world. Nevertheless, neutralism may often provide Communists with opportunities for penetration and subversion. Particularly in the areas of the new states, the Communists will seize upon rivalries among nations and tribes, upon the need for economic and technical aid, and upon the naivete and weaknesses of inexperienced leaders. Hence the problem for neutralist states is to keep out of Communist clutches. Nevertheless, insofar as the new and underdeveloped nations can overcome their problems, they may take on a strength and stature which will enable them to maintain their neutrality against Communist pressures.

Here follow sections entitled "IV. Problems of Western Alliances" and "V. The Military Problem." The latter is printed in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume VIII, pages 3-10.


7. Editorial Note

At a meeting of senior foreign policy advisers on January 17, 1961, Secretary of State Christian Herter asked his Special Assistant Charles Bohlen to explain Soviet intentions in Laos in light of the USSR's airlifting of weapons and other supplies to rebels in Laos attempting to overthrow the Royal Lao Government. According to a memorandum of the conversation, Bohlen replied that the "Soviets don't want to turn the Lao situation into a large operation. He Bohlen agrees with Ambassador Thompson that the Soviets are not seeking a complete victory, but, at the same time, that they would not accept a complete defeat." Soviet involvement in Laos, Bohlen continued, was "also in part a function of the Soviet-ChiCom row. Following the Communist meeting in Moscow last November, the Soviets probably have to demonstrate their Bolshevik revolutionary zeal." For text of the memorandum of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume XXIV, pages 12-18. In subsequent days Kennedy and his advisers discussed several times how they should assess Soviet intentions and "how the United States could save Laos." See ibid., pages 26-27, 42-44, and 48-50.


8. Current Intelligence Weekly Review/1/

Washington, January 18, 1961.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A. Top Secret; codeword not declassified; Noforn. Prepared by CIA's Office of Current Intelligence. The source text comprises pp. 1-3 of Part II of the issue.



East-West Relations

The USSR last week used propaganda charges of US harassment of Soviet merchant vessels to convey the impression that the new US administration is obligated to take unilateral measures to improve Soviet-American relations. In a press conference in Moscow on 12 January, Minister of Merchant Marine Viktor Bakayev charged that US military aircraft and ships were systematically conducting "provocative actions" against Soviet vessels.

The main purpose of the press conference and a subsequent note to the US on 14 January/2/ probably was to create an issue of a secondary nature which the Soviet leaders may use to differentiate between the two US administrations. Twice during his press conference Bakayev expressed hope that the "new government" of the US would denounce the actions and put an end to the "provocations of the American armed forces." He said such a move would make a "good contribution to the improvement of Soviet-American relations."

/2/For text of the Soviet note of January 14, see Department of State Bulletin, February 6, 1961, p. 178.

Bloc propaganda has also gone to some lengths on such other issues as Laos and Cuba to make clear that its criticism of the US was directed at the "outgoing Eisenhower administration" and to differentiate sharply between the present unsatisfactory state of Soviet-American relations and Moscow's expectations of improved relations under the new President.

The bloc has also used President Eisenhower's State of the Union message/3/ to emphasize that improvement of Soviet-American relations will depend primarily on the attitude of the new US administration. A TASS review described the message as an attempt to "whitewash reality" and convince the new President that the present "bankrupt policy" should be continued. TASS also claimed that while the speech evoked no interest, the inaugural address of the new President was being "awaited with much interest."

/3/For text of the message, January 12, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960-61, pp. 913-930.

Other Soviet broadcasts asserted that the change in administrations will mean a change in the atmosphere of Soviet-US relations, and that statements by members of the new administration already "testify to their correct understanding" of important international problems. The Hungarian news service reported a press editorial which presumed that the new US administration would end the "dead-lock" in Western policy and resume East-West negotiations, "if not on the highest level at least under conditions making possible the examination of the most important international questions."

Soviet spokesmen have privately continued to stress the need for top-level talks on disarmament, a nuclear test ban agreement, and the Berlin and German questions. The Soviet military attaché in Turkey, obviously under instructions, sought out his US counterpart and stressed the importance of an early meeting between the new President and Khrushchev and a "rapid agreement" on disarmament.

1 paragraph (10 lines of 2-column source text) not declassified

Bloc diplomats have also apparently inspired press reports that Khrushchev is prepared to withhold pressure for immediate East-West negotiations provided the US indicates its willingness eventually to discuss disarmament, a nuclear test ban, and the German question. A TASS correspondent in Geneva told a reliable American observer that there would be "no trouble" on Berlin "for awhile," but that eventually the question should be settled on the basis of a free city. He implied, however, that the USSR would settle for a more limited agreement involving public renunciation of support for refugee and émigré organizations, which Moscow would represent as a step toward American recognition and acceptance of the situation in Eastern Europe.

This line is similar to that taken by East German party chief Ulbricht in a speech to his central committee meeting last month in which he listed removal of "harassing centers" and renunciation of "revanchist propaganda" as two conditions which would assure a "peaceful solution." These minimum demands, however, were linked to some form of recognition of East Germany.

While a period of conciliatory gestures toward the US and restraint on Berlin seems to be developing, Khrushchev has at the same time sought to maintain a certain sense of urgency over Berlin. The re-emergence of the separate peace treaty threat in private talks coincides with reports from bloc sources that Khrushchev is committed to carry out this threat if he fails to obtain his objectives through negotiations. In his 6 January speech/4/ Khrushchev warned that the USSR was fully determined to sign a separate treaty with East Germany if the Western powers refused to recognize the "real situation" in Berlin and Germany. He gave no indication of an immediate action, but instead pledged the USSR "to continue, step by step, to bring aggressive-minded imperialists to their senses."

/4/See footnote 1, Document 13.

Ambassador Thompson believes that since the Soviet party congress--scheduled for October--follows so soon after the German elections, it is unlikely that Khrushchev will await the outcome of these elections before forcing the issue of Berlin.

Thus, while Khrushchev appears to have disregarded his earlier deadline of April--mentioned to the West German ambassador last fall--he has in effect implied a new deadline for East-West negotiations before the West German elections this September; moreover, he has made it clear that pressure on the West may be gradually applied if his campaign for negotiations appears to be lagging.

The TASS correspondent stressed that a nuclear test ban was a more critical problem than Berlin. He hinted that when negotiations resumed, the USSR would be prepared to reach a "reasonable agreement" on the issue of the number of annual on-site inspections of areas where detection equipment indicated a possible nuclear explosion. Thus far, the Soviet delegation at Geneva has refused to negotiate the issue since proposing three inspections in the USSR each year. The Soviets, however, have hinted that their proposal is subject to amendments, but only if the Western powers concede that the basis for determining the number of inspections will be an arbitrary political decision rather than a scientific estimate of the probable number of suspicious natural occurrences, such as earthquakes.

Thus far Soviet propaganda has not commented on American press reports of the special task force recommendation to the new President that nuclear test ban talks and disarmament negotiations be deferred for several months.

Press reports of the full text of Khrushchev's 6 January speech, on the results of the Moscow conference of Communist leaders, indicate that it is intended as a definitive Soviet interpretation of the doctrinal and policy questions covered in the Moscow declaration of 6 December. Publication of the full text of this speech was delayed until 17 January, in the party journal Kommunist. Publication at this time is probably intended to complement an expected Central Committee resolution on the Moscow conference.


9. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, January 21, 1961, 4 p.m.

/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 761.5411/1-2161. Confidential; Priority.

1706. Eyes only Secretary. Following is aide-memoire handed me by Khrushchev today. Request this be closely held pending receipt my explanatory message.

Begin text.

Soviet Government, guided by sincere desire to begin a new phase in relations between Soviet Union and US, has decided to meet wishes of American side in connection with release of two American airmen, members of crew of RB-47 reconnaissance airplane of US Air Force, F. Olmstead and D. McKone.

In considering this question Soviet Government took account above all of statements by President of US J. Kennedy during period of election campaign, which testify to fact that he did not and does not approve of reconnaissance flights of American military aircraft over (V predely) Soviet Union. We proceed from fact that new US Government, which is now led by Mr. Kennedy, will act in practice in spirit of these statements. With this there would be removed a serious obstacle to improvement of Soviet-American relations.

Soviet Government also took into account wishes for freeing of two airmen of RB-47 aircraft expressed lately to Soviet Ambassador in Washington by prominent figures of Democratic Party from closest circles of Mr. J. Kennedy who indicated that such a step of Soviet Government would be regarded by American side as a gesture of good-will and a step toward improvement of Soviet-American relations. Same opinion was expressed by US Ambassador in Moscow, Mr. Thompson.

Soviet Government hopes that this act of good-will will be correctly interpreted and appraised in corresponding fashion by US Government and that in future, actions of the kind leading to sharpening of relations between our countries, which have formerly taken place, will not be permitted.

Soviet Government expects that US Government for its part will also devote efforts to improvement of Soviet-American relations, and hopes that release of American airmen will serve cause of strengthening trust between our countries.

We should like to put an end to past and open a new page in relations between our countries. With these objectives Soviet Government is prepared to go further and not to insist on discussion at second part of 15th Session of UN General Assembly on question "concerning aggressive actions of USA." The Soviet Government proceeds from view that, given correct understanding of this step by US Government, favorable conditions for improvement of Soviet-American relations will result. Let bad past not interfere with our joint work in name of good future.

Soviet Government would like to hope that US Government for its part will also do everything in order not to burden agenda of forthcoming second part of 15th Session of General Assembly with discussion of questions which will inevitably drag us to times of "cold war."

It is possible that there will still be found those desirous of going on path of further mutual reproaches in relations between USSR and USA. But we do not consider that this would be a correct and reasonable path. According to our deep conviction there are every grounds for normalizing international situation and clearing away by common efforts all rubbish and all residue (Nanosnogo) which has accumulated during years of "cold war" in Soviet-American relations.

Soviet Government hopes that its effort to find common language and mutual understanding with US Government will meet with positive response from American side and personally from President Kennedy.

Improvement of relations between our countries will doubtless meet with warm approval by peoples both of Soviet Union and US, and also by all other peoples, since cause of strengthening universal peace and international security in much depends on how relations between USSR and USA develop.

End text.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P4

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.