S/SNSC Files: Lot 63D351: NSC 20 Series

Report to the National Security Council by the Department of State: Summary of Conclusions1

top secret

NSC 20/1

U.S. Objectives With Respect to Russia

i. general objectives

In general, it should be our objective in time of peace as well as in time of war,

to reduce the power and influence of Moscow to limits where they will no longer constitute a threat to the peace and stability of international society; and
to bring about a basic change in the theory and practice of international relations observed by the government in power in Russia.

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ii. peacetime aims

Accordingly, it should be our aim in time of peace:

To encourage and promote by means short of war the gradual retraction of undue Russian, power and influence from the present satellite area and the emergence of the respective eastern-European countries as independent factors on the international scene;
To encourage by every means possible the development in the Soviet Union of institutions of federalism which would permit a revival of the national life of the Baltic peoples;
By informational activity and every other means at our disposal, to explode the myth by which people remote from Soviet military influence are held in a position of subservience to Moscow and to cause the world at large to see and understand the Soviet Union for what it is and adopt a logical and realistic attitude toward it; and
To create situations which will compel the Soviet Government to recognize the practical undesirability of acting on the basis of its present concepts and the necessity of behaving, at least outwardly, as though it were the converse of those concepts that were true.

It would not be our aim, in time of peace:

To place the fundamental emphasis of our policy on preparation for an armed conflict, to the exclusion of the development of possibilities for achieving our objectives without war; or
To bring about the overthrow of the Soviet Government.

iii. wartime aims

It should be our aim in time of war:

To destroy Soviet military influence and domination in areas contiguous to, but outside of, the borders of any Russian state;
To destroy thoroughly the structure of relationships by which the leaders of the All-Union Communist Party have been able to exert moral and disciplinary authority over individual citizens, or groups of citizens, in countries not under communist control;
To assure that no communist regime was left in control of enough of the present military-industrial potential of the Soviet Union to enable it to wage war on comparable terms with any neighboring state or with any rival authority which might be set up on traditional Russian territory; and
To assure that any regime or regimes which may exist on traditional Russian territory in the aftermath of a war
does not have strong military power;
is economically dependent to a considerable extent on the outside world;
does not exercise too much authority over national minorities; and
imposes nothing resembling the present iron curtain over contacts with the outside world.

It would not be our aim, in time of war:

To achieve any specific border arrangements, pre-conceived without regard to the political framework emerging from the war,—except to assure that the Baltic states should not be forced to remain under any communist or other extremist regime;
To assure the independence of the Ukraine or any other national minority (with the same reservation concerning the Baltic states);
To assume responsibility for deciding who would rule Russia in the wake of a disintegration of the Soviet regime; or
To carry out with our own forces, on territory liberated from the communist authorities, any large-scale program of de-communization.

  1. NSC 20/1, a document of 52 pages prepared by the Policy Planning Staff (PPS/38, August 18), was transmitted by the Department of State to the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense on August 18 in response to the latter’s request contained in NSC 20, July 12, p. 589. NSC 20/1 included this summary of conclusions as an attachment.