661.00/5–2651: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices1

top secret

Following is text of “Summary” and “Conclusions” of the Weekly Report of Indications of Soviet Communist Intentions, dated May 23, 1951. This report is prepared by the Watch Committee of the Intelligence Advisory Committee consisting of representatives of the Departments of State, Army, Navy, Air Force, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atomic Energy Commission and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and represents their combined and coordinated estimate of current Soviet Communist intentions. This summary will be forwarded to you weekly in the future.

For your information, paragraph 1 under “Conclusions” should not be considered as a sudden departure from overall United States estimates. The Soviet Union has been considered by the Committee [Page 86] as being in an advanced stage of readiness for war for at least ten months.

  • “1. Korea: The strength and tactical dispositions and movements of the enemy, as well as indications of continued troop and logistical buildup in the forward areas, suggest the possibility that the main attack in the current Chinese Communist offensive is still to come. PW statements indicate the possibility of the arrival in Korea of elements of an additional CCF army group. Reports also indicate the possible presence in Korea of a “CCF mechanized army”. Photo intelligence indicates the continued repair and expansion of airfields in North Korea, and there are indications that the estimated CCAF/NEAF strength of 860 aircraft is increasing. Enemy air activities in North Korea and Manchuria continue to indicate the probability of larger scale commitment of enemy air strength to Korean operations. There are no political or diplomatic indications which would support rumors that either the Soviets or Chinese Communists are seeking at this stage to end hostilities in Korea on other than Communist terms.
  • “2. Indo-China: Viet Minh attacks in Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin-China during the latter part of May are indicated. Reports of an arms shipment from Yunnan to the Viet Minh and also indications of work on the completion of the railway from Nanning to Langson on the Tonkin border tend to support previous views that there are no definite indications of the substantial reduction of Chinese Communist aid to the Viet Minh.
  • “3. Burma: Reports of the present whereabouts of the KMT troops which have been in Burma near the China border are conflicting, but a recent report from a reliable source states that there has been an actual clash between the KMT and Communist forces.
  • “4. India: The broadcast by the Moscow radio of the Indian Communist platform demanding the replacement of the Nehru Government with a “People’s Democracy” may indicate a hardening of the Soviet attitude towards India.
  • “5. Germany-Austria: The Soviet field training program in Germany is progressing generally along the same lines as last year and has recently included a river crossing exercise, which involved combined arms and utilized jet cover and camouflage. Construction activity in the training area near the British zonal border includes a chain of underground bunkers whose purpose is not yet determined. The count of MIG–15 jet fighters in Germany increased by 31 during the past month to a total of 490. The conversion of light bomber units in Germany to twin jets appears to be continuing at a rapid pace and may be followed by a similar reequipment program in Austria. The East German Alert Police are reportedly being trained in operation of 85 MM AA guns and artillery units of this force may move to Soviet training areas during June.
  • “6. Poland-Czechoslovakia: There has been an increase in the number of advanced training or tactical transition aircraft at Polish Air Force training schools. An unconfirmed report indicates that a large air defense center is being established in a northern suburb of Prague.
  • “7. Balkans: . . . reports on Soviet troop movements in Rumania and Bulgaria . . . indicate that Soviet troops may have arrived [Page 87] in northeastern Bulgaria, allegedly for “maneuvers”. The reported arrival of a new Soviet division at Constanta, Rumania, is unconfirmed but may be connected with this movement. There is no evidence to substantiate reports of large-scale combined Soviet-Satellite maneuvers near the Yugoslav border, although the possibility of some inter-Satellite training cannot be discounted. The release of the 1928 class from the Bulgarian Army could be regarded as an indication that the Soviets do not intend to initiate hostilities in the immediate future. The Hungarian Army is now estimated to include nine divisions, as compared with a previous estimate of seven. The accelerated aircraft reequipping program in Eastern Europe is being extended to the Balkans and a significant airfield construction program is reportedly underway in Rumania and Bulgaria. In Bulgaria a pattern of construction of 9,000-foot runway appears to be emerging, in contrast to the construction of shorter runways in other Satellites. Cominform propaganda charges against Yugoslavia do not reflect intensified psychological preparation for hostilities against that country.
  • “8. Iran: Soviet statements do not suggest direct Soviet action in that country under present conditions. . . .
  • “9. General: Reports . . . state that the Soviet 1927 class privates; are being released in the U.S.S.R. although evidence is at present insufficient to indicate that the whole of this last war-service class is being demobilized. There has been no significant new Soviet comment with respect to the CFM discussions. An intensification of Communist Party efforts in Western Europe to weaken defense preparations is indicated by offers of the French and Italian Communist Parties to support any government which will denounce collaboration with the United States.


  • “1. The Soviet Armed Forces in being are in an advanced state of readiness for war and could initiate offensive operations with no additional warning. Military and political indications are that the Communists intend to insist upon a solution of controversial problems strictly along lines which further Communist world objectives. There are no indications that the Soviets and their Communist allies, in pursuing their major objectives, intend necessarily to avoid future actions which might precipitate global hostilities.
  • “2. Military and political indications are that the defeat of U.N. forces continues to be the Communist objective in Korea and that possibly the main attack of the currently stalled Communist offensive is still to come. There continue to be strong indications that a more extensive commitment of enemy air power is planned.
  • “3. Viet Minh offensive operations during the latter part of May in Tonkin, Annam and Cochin-China are reportedly indicated. Current intelligence supports the previous view that Chinese Communist assistance to the Viet Minh has not been reduced to any great extent.
  • “4. There are no firm indications of the probabilty of imminent hostilities in Europe or the Near East. The rate of Air Force conversion to jet aircraft in Eastern Europe, the extensive airfield construction program, continuing shipments of Soviet materiel and the possibility of a Soviet reinforcement of the Balkans reflect an acceleration of Soviet and Satellite military preparations.
  • “5. Propaganda of the Soviets and Satellites continues the psychological preparation of their people for the possibility of war.”

Comments on this and future summaries will be appreciated.

Embassy London please transmit to Spofford.2

  1. Sent to London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, and Vienna.
  2. Charles M. Spofford, Deputy United States Representative to the North Atlantic Council.