Full Citation

  • Title CIA weekly summary: Soviet tactics in the Berlin crisis
  • Classification Level Secret
  • Imprint [United States: Central Intelligence Agency, 1961]
  • Declassified Date October 17, 1986
  • Sanitization Unsanitized
  • Completeness Incomplete
  • Collection Declassified Document Reference System
  • Pages 6
  • Language English
  • Document Type Miscellaneous
  • Source Library Central Intelligence Agency
CON COPY NO.*7 OCI NO. 0301/61 III 12 October 1961 WVEEKLY SUm ARPY ji- 19, IVol 0IFFICE OF CMRENT IELLIGENCE mCHA:-:2 fju .ss.o STC: TS i q I : :~ AWN*: lia loo2 DAM T[ IIrg l!EVlEW!ZJjQ CUVRRENT INTELLIGEN~CE WEEKLY SIMALRY SPECIAL ARTICLES SOVIET TACTICS IN THE BERLIN CRISIS Soviet leaders were confi- in a sharp increase in the num- dent that Khrushchev's meeting ber of refugees fleeing to West with President Kennedy at Berlin. The July figure of Vienna last'June would open 30,444 was the highest for any the way for a new round of East- month since 1953. The refugee West negotiations on'Berlinand flow reached n,:.a.-.panic propor- Germany. They embarked on a tions in the f-A.--st week of program designed to induce the August and sent Ulbricht off West to take the initiative in to the USSR for hurried consul- proposing negotiations and to tations. create the most favorable con- ditions for extracting Western concessions. Soviet leaders previously had been reluctant to sanction East German action to halt the In speeches on 15 and 21 refugee flow because they real- June, Khrushchev moved to ized this would advertise the sharpen the sense of urgency weakness and vulni.rability of surrounding the Bdr~1in ques- the Ulbri-zht regiWae and damage tion by declaring that the the Soviet position in negotia- USSR would sign a separate tions on Berlin and Germany. peace treaty with East Gern.any Sealing of the borders around if there were no East-West West Berlin had long been * agreement by the end of 1961. planned as one of the conse- He also warned that t.he Soviet quences of a separate peace Government might be obliged to treaty with Ea-st Geriaany. The increase defense allotments flood of refugees, however, and strengthen its armed fforces. forced the hands of the Soviet To lend substance to this warn- and East Geriman leaders and ing, he announced on 8 July the comDelled them to alter the suspension of force reductions timing of t"his action. T"hey planned for 1961 and an increase recognized that the only way of over 3 billion rubles in de- Ito salvage some vestige of fense allocations. Soviet of- authority for the East German ficials stated privately at regime and possibly to avert this time that Kh.-ushchev's it-,,s eventual collapse was to new deadline was airned only at apply extreme neasures to clo'~se overcoming the West's "delaying jthe sector border. tactics" and forcing it4, into negotiations by the end of-, the year. It seems likely that these me asures--as well as subsequent Soviet military moves, incliding MoscoW's atte.-ts tS 1--1,e res-mpt ion of nuclear tests-- press the West with Sov4et were fOormally set forth at the strength and resolution pro- meeting of the first1 seeretaries duced extreme alarm in East fof the Warsaw Pact Communist par- Germany which was registered ties in Moscow from 43 to 5 August. 1Reaction to US Position would tend to transform what he had consistently tried to rep- The period in late*July resent as strictly a political and early August when Khrushchev and legal issue into an undis- was forced to deal with the ref- guised test of national will, ugee problem coincided with a prestige, and power. In a new shock from the US in the speech on 11 August, the Soviet form of President Kennedy's ad- premier took pains to bold the dress to the nation on the Ber- door open to negotiations and lin problem on 25 July. This said the Berlin question itself address had a deep impact on would not be so difficult to the Soviet leadership. Khru- solve, provided the issue was shchev's reaction suggests that not turned into a "trial of he interpreted the address as strength." indicating that the United States would be willing to ne- gotiate only on the basis.off Resumption of Nuclear Trests existing Allied rights in West Berlin and that it would reject any solution which implied a Khrushchev's willingness change in the present lzgal to accept the incalculable po- basis of the West's position in litical and propaganda costs the city. entailed by the resumption of nuclear tests is a good measure of the seriousness of his con- Khrushchev told the Soviet cern that his whole Berlin people in a radio-television 'strategy had been placed in speech on 7 August tha%, es jeopardy by the closure of the ident Kennedy "did not stop at IBerlin sector border and by the presenting to us something in jfailure of his earlier demon- the way of an ultimatum.-" He strative military measures to declared that "it must be said produce a change in the Western fra-nk.Ly that at present the attitLude. He recognized that Western powers are pushing the the drast4c action to halt the world to a dangerous divide, refugee flow had severely dam- and the emergence of a threatagdSve,forstpeen of a ared ttac bytheim-the Ulbricht regime as a soy- perialists on the socialist Iereign and respectable nego- stAates cannot be excluded." tiatin pate,n ta,a C-onsequence, his aim of extract- ing Western concessions imply- Khrushchev responded to the ing at'least de facto recogni--- "challenge" by strengthening his tion of East Germany had been commitment to pign.a German seriously compromised. peace treaty. He asserted that if the USSR renounced the treaty, the Western powers "would re- In this situation, Khru- gard this as a strategic break- shchev invoked the weapon of through and would widen the Inuclear intimidation as a more range of their de=nands at once." forceful means of demonstrating Although Khrushchev thus felt tEhe USSR's mil itary strength obliged to adopt an even more and determiriation to force a militant and unyielding attitude, change in the status of West he evinced concern that this Berlin. He probably calculated process of East-West demonstra- jthat a resumption of tests tions and counterdemonstrations jwould place the USSR in the strongest possible position to now have apm-red" for "peace- carry out the long-threatened ful talks." action to sign a separate peace treaty in the event the lest refused to enter negotiations or rejected Soviet terms for a settlement. Moscow sought to enhance the effect of the testing an- nouncemnent by stating on 1 Sep- tember that military exercises using advanced modern weapons would be conducted by the North- ern Fleet, jointly with the Rocket Troops and the Air rarce,; in the Barents and Kara seas in ~ September and October. The Warn- saw Pact defense ministers fol- lowed this with an announcement - -~-- . on 10 September of their deci- This approach sion to work out "practical was spelled out in greater de- measures" to strengthen bloc tail in a sp~eech on 6 October defense. 'On 25 September, Mos- by Ulbricht, who proposed that cow announced that -Varsaw Pact both sides agree on "special fPorces would conduct exercises arrangements"' for a Berlin in October and November. solution and on "declarations containing gua-rantees before the conclusion af a peace Moves to End Imoasse treaty." These arrangements, he said, would then be incor- porated in the peace treaty After setting in train with East Germany. this bloc-wide series of mil- itary demonstrations, Khru-I s!Nchev began to shift his This formula for a separate political line back to a more .orpwrareeton Berlin flexible andi positive attitude and a Soviet guarantee of East towad ngotatios. e a- jCerman performance in executing peared to recognize the dangers access controls. is clearly de- of a situation in which both Isigned tL-o meet S~estern objections sides might feel confronted with to a unilateral transfer o-FL.qon- the alternatives of a himniliat- trols by maintaining an outward ing retreat or a showdown which appearance of the status quo and could escape control. Khrushchev continuing Soviet responsibility now is seeking to work his way for Allied access. Khrushchev out of this imDasse. !Probably hopes thus t o 1ersa deA Ithe West 4,hat- negotiain coul lead to a compromise which would In a speech at Stalingrad protect the Western position in , lengths to attribute to each of low the Soviet Union a free hand the Western leaders a willingness to proceed with a peace treaty to begin negotiations and con- with East Germany. He probably cluded that "glimpses of hope feels that incorporation in a l imit on existing Western rights separate treaty of a four-power in West Berlin, his present pro- agreement and a Soviet guarantee gram apparently cP'lIs for going of access would greatly reduce through with a separate treaty the risks of signing a separate unless he should come to believe treaty and could even be rep- thht the Western attitude would resented as at least tacit West- pose unacceptable risks of war emn consent to this treaty. for such a course. He is now much more deeply committed to signing a treaty with East Ger- This formu * 1 would also many than he was in the earlier allow the bloc unilaterally to phases of his Berlin operation declare West Berlin a free city in 1959 and 1960. He would after the signing of the sep- find it difficult to represent arate treaty but at the same as a major victory in 1961 an time permit the West to inter- interim solution along the lines pret the agreement as an endorse- of Soviet proposals at the m~ent of the existing status. Geneva foreign ministers' con- Khrushchev's proposed comipro- ference in 1959. mise, however, would in fact require the Western powers to concede the USSR's fundamental Soviet- View of West's Intentions demand for a change in the sta- tus of West Berlin and an end to the Western "occupation re- The Soviet leaders appear gimie." confident that the recent ex- changes between Secretary Rusk and Foreign Minister Gromnyko will Position on Separate Treaty open the way for formal East- West'- negotiations before the end of the year. They are still re- Khrushchev is personally lying, however, on the combina- deeply committed to signing a tion of pressures and inducements treaty with East Germany, which to bring the West to the bargain- he desires not only as an im- ing table under conditions favor- portant step toward general in- able to the USSR. At a public ternational recognition of the lecture in Moscow on 26 September, East German regime but also to the speaker stated categorically establish a better legal basis that the Rusk-Gromyko talks for the definitive acceptance would be followed by negotiations. of present German frontiers. He expressed optimism that a He can therefore be expected peaceful solution would ensue tco press hard for any arrange- and cited the US-Soviet a-ree-- inents 'with the West which he ment of 20 September on a state- judges 'will free his hands for ment of principles for disarm-. proceeding with the separate anent negotiations as an indica-IF tr';ty..tLon t1-hat the Berlin question~ While it istoo early to exclude the possibility that Soviet,% spokesmen are alSo Khrushchev, as a fallback po- still expressing confidence that sition, might again defer a the West will eventually agree separate treaty and settle for to a Berlin siettlement rather some form of interim agreement than face the risks of an East- that placed a definite time aWest conflict to maintain-the status quo in Berlin. Khru. effectiveness and correctness shchev told Yugoslav Foreign Min- of his entire strategic line ister Popovic in July that the in dealing with the West.' chances of war were not more than 5 P,ercent and that when the West- ern powers discovered that the It was this strategy which separate treaty would not intro- produced the bitter collision duce any really substantive with the Chinese Communisfs;, be- changes in access prodedures, cause Khrushchev's policy of lim- "they will swallow it." .In his ited detente and negotiations interview with New York Times in 1959 and 1960 cut directly corres-pondent SuMbErger. on .5 across Peiping's interests, which September, Khrushthev again demanded unremitting hostility predicted that the Tlest would to the 'West. The Sino-Soviet dis- not go to war over the signing pute has substantially nar-rowed of a peace treaty and remarked Khrushchev's field of maneuver that America's Western European and has created constant pres- a'llies are,, "figuratively speak- sure on Moscow for bolder, more ing, hostages to us and a guar- militant actions in the foreign antee against wav! ~ policy field. Any suggestion that Khrushchev's tactics on Berlin and a separate peace Gromyko, in his spn-ech to treaty were mere bluff or that the UN General Assembly on 26 he was backing down in the face September, expressed skepticism of 'Western demonstrations of in regard to Western willingness military power would inflict to resort to force, saying,"There irreparable damage to his posi- is a great difference between tion as leader of the Comunist statements about- readiness toblc use f orce and AZ'Se actual use of force, if account is taken of what such a use of force would j Khrushchev7s actLions ap- mean . . . ." pear to be strongly motivated by an awarenes, that time is running out on nis Berlin opera- Despite these continuing tion and that considerations of expressions of confidence that versonal prestige and authority the West can be pressured and will rule out any f1urther pro- i;.iduced to make negotiated con- longred delays in bringing the c-.-.ssions, it seems likely that whole matter to a head. Under the UZ attitude on Berlin has these circumstances, Khrushchev caused Khrushchev to raise his 1 probably would not hesitate to estimate of Ame-ican willingness 1 undertake even more th~reatening to defend the Western position l and increasingly risky_ tactics and of the risks carried by should he be confronted with unilateral Communist actions. further manifestations of "Oest- The firm US position has sharp- ern strength and firmness on ened Khrushchev's d4Ie=na in Berlin. If his recent gestures managing his Berlin policy. He twr okn-otacmrms cnhv.no illusions tbat he Vtowrd worin ouaacmpoms %lu hav acc ord-along the lines could escape serious damage to of his remarks to Spaak failed his personal prestige and author- draw a favorable Western response, ity in the Communist bloc, the he would almost certainly feel international Communist move- compelled t%,o intensify the war ment, and tChroughout the world of nerves in a final effort to if he should retreat or abandon prevent the West from forcibly his Berlin demands. Khrushchev opposing unilateral Communist is under heavy pressure to j action following the conclu-