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118. Current Intelligence Weekly Review/1/

Washington, September 14, 1961.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A. Secret; Noforn. Prepared by CIA's Office of Current Intelligence. The source text comprises pp. 1-4 of the Weekly Review section of the issue.

East-West Relations

Khrushchev has used a variety of public statements in an effort to create an impression that the USSR is favorably disposed toward the appeal of the Belgrade conference for direct US-Soviet negotiations over Berlin. He has implied, however, that the initiative for making a definite proposal rests with the US and depends on US willingness to demonstrate a desire for "businesslike negotiations." Khrushchev's development of a more conciliatory line over the past week suggests that he considers the neutralists' initiative an opportunity to increase world pressure on the West for early four-power negotiations.

In a wide-ranging interview with C. L. Sulzberger of The New York Times,/2/ the Soviet Premier implied that, while he is willing to meet with President Kennedy, he doubted that such a meeting would be useful. After Nehru and Nkrumah presented the Belgrade conference appeal for direct talks, Khrushchev amplified his remarks to Sulzberger in a special statement which placed more emphasis on the possibility of a meeting with the President. According to Sulzberger, Khrushchev expressed his satisfaction with Sulzberger's dispatch, which gave prominence to Khrushchev's willingness to hold a second meeting with the President. Moscow published Sulzberger's report verbatim on 10 September.

/2/For Sulzberger's account of his interview with Khrushchev, see The Last of the Giants (New York: Macmillan, 1970), pp. 788-803.

Khrushchev's attempt to appear responsive to the appeal for negotiations with the US was also reflected in his speech of 8 September at an Indian-Soviet friendship meeting in honor of Nehru./3/ Khrushchev took the line that there was increasing talk in the West that negotiations were required and that President Kennedy had made his remarks of 30 August/4/ in this spirit. Khrushchev "welcomed" the President's statements, but indicated that the USSR still had doubts over US intentions to engage in "serious" negotiations.

/3/For text, see Pravda, September 9. For the condensed text, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. XIII, No. 36, October 4, 1961, pp. 7-9.

/4/For text of Kennedy's remarks at his news conference on August 30, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 572-580.

In a private conversation with West German Ambassador Kroll, Khrushchev complained of the "diplomatic fuss" over negotiation on Berlin and asked why "we could not simply sit down and discuss the situation." In reply to the ambassador's remark on the danger of incidents in the Berlin situation, Khrushchev said he was well aware of this and had given strict instructions to Soviet forces in Germany to take every precaution to avoid incidents. Khrushchev also indicated to the ambassador that in his forthcoming speech at Stalingrad, he would be careful not to offend anyone.

Khrushchev's Stalingrad speech on 10 September/5/ portrayed negotiations as increasingly likely. The Soviet leader went to some lengths to attribute to each of the Western leaders a willingness to begin discussions on Germany and Berlin, and drew the conclusion that "glimpses of hope now have appeared" for "peaceful talks." Soviet propaganda promptly claimed that this speech met with a favorable reception in the West and has been correctly interpreted.

/5/For text, see Pravda, September 11, and Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. XIII, No. 37, October 11, 1961, pp. 3-6.

At the conclusion of Nehru's visit on 11 September, the joint communiqué contained a statement on Khrushchev's agreement to "enter into negotiations with the Western powers . . . ."/6/

/6/For text, see ibid., pp. 7-8.


Despite Khrushchev's asserted readiness for negotiations, he has adhered to the maximum position that negotiations should be directed toward a German treaty and the creation of a free city in West Berlin. He has also continued to assert that the question of access to Berlin could be resolved. He told Sulzberger that any peace treaty would "legalize" free access to West Berlin and that the "substance" would remain unchanged. He included the standard qualification, however, that in the absence of Western agreement to a treaty with both Germanys, communications to and from Berlin would require agreement with East Germany. The Soviet-Indian communiqué also stated that Khrushchev had informed Nehru of Soviet proposals for "international guarantees" of a free city and for "safeguarding the freedom of communications" between West Berlin and the outside world.

This reference may reflect a reported acceptance by Khrushchev of Nehru's proposal that the USSR, as part of a separate treaty with East Germany, guarantee East Germany's execution of the treaty's provisions ensuring free access. Thus far, Khrushchev has refrained from offering such a guarantee of East Germany's performance after a separate treaty. This modification of his position is probably intended to encourage Nehru to continue his efforts.

Nehru apparently intended his proposal to serve as a basis for US-Soviet talks. It underscores his repeated references to the need for solving the access question first, which he feels is the key to a larger East-West accommodation on Germany. Khrushchev's acceptance presumably accounted for the Indian leader's cautious optimism in discussing prospects for a negotiated settlement with reporters on his return to New Delhi. Nehru will presumably raise this proposal during his visit to Washington in early November, if not through diplomatic channels before then.

Khrushchev probably feels that Western acceptance of Nehru's plan as the basis for a negotiation would open up a wide field for maneuvering to gain de facto Western acceptance of a separate peace treaty and a change in the legal basis for Western access. Khrushchev may also feel that an offer to act as a guarantor of East German actions may satisfy Western requirements by maintaining an outward appearance of continued Soviet responsibility.

Statements by bloc leaders and officials continued to stress the inevitability of a peace treaty before the end of the year. Discrepancies over the timing of a peace conference, however, suggest that no final decision has been made in Moscow. News accounts quoted Polish party secretary Gomulka as stating the treaty would be signed in December, but the Rumanian minister in Washington told US officials that a treaty would be concluded in November. Khrushchev is reported by the Indian press to have sounded out Nehru on the possibility of attending a German peace conference in November. Moscow also is reported by Western diplomats to have begun pressure on Helsinki to join bloc countries in signing a treaty with East Germany. Statements by East German leaders suggest that following the elections in both East and West Germany the bloc may publish a revised draft of a treaty, together with a declaration on a free city for West Berlin.

Khrushchev's remarks to Sulzberger and a statement by a Soviet official at the UN indicate that the USSR still views UN consideration of the Berlin question as a last resort, Khrushchev told Sulzberger that the UN could take up the issue if the four powers failed to agree; the Soviet representative said the question would not come before the UN if the West wished to settle it through negotiations.

Military Measures

Moscow has continued to reinforce its diplomatic position by announcements of military measures designed to impress world opinion with Soviet resoluteness over Berlin. On 10 September Moscow published the communiqué of the third meeting of the Warsaw Pact this year./7/ The ministers of defense and military chiefs met in Warsaw on 8 and 9 September to discuss specific questions "concerning enhancement of military preparedness of the troops belonging to the joint forces" of pact states. The communiqué stated that the chiefs of the general staffs have been instructed to work out "practical measures to strengthen further the defenses" of the pact members. This provides a broad cover for further bloc moves to counter Western military measures, which the Soviet press is carefully reporting. It is believed that some of the satellites have followed the Soviet lead in retaining conscripts and have called up limited numbers of reservists. Additional steps might include the holding of large-scale exercises and even the movement of additional Soviet troops into Eastern Europe. In a speech on 10 September, Gomulka alluded to continued movement of troop convoys which would be observed by the populace.

/7/For reports of the meeting, see Pravda, September 10, 1961, and Izvestia, September 12, 1961.

The pact meeting coincided with an announcement by Moscow that, between 13 September and 15 October, tests would be held in the Pacific of "more powerful and improved versions of multistage carrier rockets of space vehicles."

Nuclear Tests

Khrushchev has also used his statements justifying the resumption of testing and rejecting the US-British proposal for a ban on atmospheric tests to improve his political position in the Berlin crisis. He told Sulzberger that the development of several "super powerful bombs" would force the "aggressors to think twice" and that the USSR was obliged to assure itself of "no lesser capability" than the US, Britain, and France. He claimed that "we shall continue the tests we have started because we cannot ignore the danger that now is being created by the Western countries." His reference to testing a 100-megaton device, however, was amended to read only the "explosive device" for such a weapon.

In his formal rejection on 9 September/8/ of the proposal by President Kennedy and Prime Minister Macmillan, Khrushchev adopted the same general line and defended resumption of testing as being forced on the Soviet Union in order to "counter the threats of aggression." He labeled the US-UK proposal as a propaganda maneuver to permit the US to resume underground tests and allow France to continue its program and thereby obtain a "unilateral advantage" over the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government, Khrushchev stated, "cannot and will not make such a deal." He added that nuclear tests can be ended "everywhere and forever only on the basis of complete and general disarmament." But he also claimed that the US-Soviet bilateral talks on disarmament show that the US "does not even want to approach general and complete disarmament."

/8/For text of Khrushchev's statement, see Documents on Disarmament, 1961, pp. 384-391.

The Soviet delegate at the Geneva nuclear talks read this statement into the record at the 340th meeting on 9 September and then pressed for a communiqué stating that the conference had suspended its work, with no reference to a US-UK proposal to state that the talks had recessed until after the UN General Assembly debate. Although the Soviet delegate agreed to a final statement that the conference would be recessed, he clearly implied in the discussion that any further meetings would require agreement on the governmental level and that the USSR would resume talks on a test ban only within the context of general disarmament.

Nehru's Visit

The Indo-Soviet communiqué was a restatement of Soviet and Indian views with prime emphasis on the former. The leaders agreed on the "fact" of two Germanys, on the need for "complete and general disarmament under strict and effective international controls," and on support for anti-French and anti-Portuguese liberation movements in Algeria, Angola, and Goa. On other issues, however, Nehru merely "noted" the Soviet position as "explained" by Khrushchev, expressed no response at all, or was obliquely critical, as on the question of nuclear testing.


119. Editorial Note

On September 21, 1961, the intelligence community issued National Intelligence Estimate 11-8/1-61, "Strength and Deployment of Soviet Long Range Ballistic Missile Forces." NIE 11-8/1-61 revised and updated NIE 11-8-61, "Soviet Capabilities for Long Range Attack," issued June 7, 1961, particularly Annex C on "Soviet Long Range Ballistic Missile Forces." For text of Annex C, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume VIII, pages 83-102.

NIE 11-8/1-61 concluded that "new information, providing a much firmer base for estimates on Soviet long range ballistic missiles, has caused a sharp downward revision in our estimate of present Soviet ICBM strength but strongly supports our estimate of medium range missile strength. We now estimate that the present Soviet ICBM strength is in the range of 10-25 launchers from which missiles can be fired against the US, and that this force level will not increase markedly during the months immediately ahead. We also estimate that the USSR now has about 250-300 operational launchers equipped with 700 and 1,100 n.m. ballistic missiles. The bulk of these MRBM launchers are in the western USSR, within range of NATO targets in Europe." The estimate concluded further that "Soviet professions of greatly enhanced striking power thus derive primarily from a massive capability to attack European and other peripheral targets. Although Soviet propaganda has assiduously cultivated an image of great ICBM strength, the bulk of the USSR's present capability to attack the US is in bombers and submarine-launched missiles rather than in a large ICBM force. While the present ICBM force poses a grave threat to a number of US urban areas, it represents only a limited threat to US-based nuclear striking forces."

The estimate noted, however, that the USSR was pressing development of a second generation ICBM system that would probably be ready for operational use sometime in the latter half of 1962. "After this point, we anticipate that the number of operational launchers will begin to increase significantly," with the force level in mid-1963 approximating 75-125 operational ICBM launchers. For text, see ibid., pages 131-138.


FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P65

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