PPS Files, Lot 64 D 563

Memorandum by Mr. Robert P. Joyce to Mr. Henry Koch 1

top secret

I refer to your memorandum attached hereto of August 24, 19512 on the general subject of what was discussed with the Staff last week with Chip Bohlen. I think that your memorandum represents another step in the clarification of our thinking with regard to the important and difficult subject of Soviet capabilities and intentions (“The Kremlin Design” discussed in the NSC 68 Series).

I attach hereto theTop Secret Circular Airgram of August 24, 19513 Which you will note was sent to our diplomatic missions at Moscow, London, Paris, Rome, Vienna and to HICOG at Frankfurt. This Air-gram is produced once a week by the so-called Watch Committee which I understand operates under OLI and is composed of intelligence representatives from the three armed services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the JCS and the Department of State. I particularly call your attention to paragraph 1 of the Conclusions of the attached message.4 I believe that this same paragraph has appeared in identical or virtually identical language over a period of many months. I believe that the language reflects certain thinking and creates the impression on the reader that the Soviet Union is poised for a global war, is willing to risk it at any time and does not propose to [Page 170] compromise in its endeavor to obtain “Communist world objectives”. Is the actual situation as flat and easy as that?

I wonder if you have read the Moscow Embassy’s Top Secret Despatch No. 626 of April 25, 1951 entitled “Embassy Estimate of Soviet Intentions”?5 Every year the Embassy at Moscow produces in the Spring a similar despatch which represents the combined efforts of the political and economic sections of the Embassy as well as the various service attaches. In our re-examination into Soviet capabilities and intentions I believe that this despatch should be very closely studied.*

It would be my suggestion that you may care to pass this memorandum on, together with its two attachments, to Chip Bohlen as representing a further step in our efforts to clarify and make more precise our thinking as to what goes on in Uncle Joe’s mind.

Robert P. Joyce
  1. Members of the Policy Planning Staff.
  2. Supra.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The paragraph reads as follows: “The Soviet Armed Forces in being are in an advanced state of readiness for war and could initiate offensive operations with little or 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 actions which might precipitate global hostilities.”
  5. Partial text is included in documentation on United States relations with the Soviet Union in volume iv.
  6. If revision of 68 and 114 language is gone into, I need not point out that an analysis from Moscow, over the signature of Admiral Kirk concurred in by General—and Col.—is pretty good stuff to use in bringing along the military in Washington. [This handwritten footnote, including italicized words, appears in the source text. It is signed “Bob.”]