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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.
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"
/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,
/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.
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."
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
/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.
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