84. National Intelligence Estimate0
ESTIMATE OF THE WORLD SITUATION1
Although we have tried in this estimate to take as long a view as possible, we have necessarily left out of account some elements that could drastically alter the course of events. Thus, we have not attempted to assess the likelihood or consequences of revolutionary scientific advances of either military or civilian application. Moreover, we have assessed the East-West struggle on the assumption that no major war takes place, and on the other hand, that there is no agreement for large-scale reduction of military capabilities by the major powers.
Summary of the Estimate
- Over the next decade, we believe that the stature of the USSR and of Communist China in the world will continue to increase markedly, thus posing increasingly serious challenges and a growing menace to the US and the West.2 (Para. 18)
- In the world in general, recent Soviet behavior contributed to a spreading popular impression that the East-West struggle, or cold war, was entering a period of greater movement and fluidity, and that the direction of this movement was toward a diminution of cold war tensions. Viewed objectively and realistically, however, the East-West relationship [Page 363]remains fundamentally hostile. The emerging Soviet ICBM capability, dramatized in the eyes of the world by the Lunik shots, is altering military power relationships. Confidence that the trend of events is in their favor remains a keynote of the behavior of the Soviet leaders, and they assert that the overall growth of their relative power position has now reached the point where major consequences will be manifest on the world scene within the foreseeable future. (Paras. 13–14)
- Our views of Soviet power and policy are fully stated in our
forthcoming estimate on this subject. In brief, we believe that:
- Soviet economic and scientific strength will continue to grow at a rapid rate.
- The Soviets, despite some force reductions, will maintain a high level of conventional military forces and will greatly increase their long range attack capabilities, above all through a substantial ICBM buildup.
- In the Soviet view, the emerging standoff of intercontinental striking forces marks a stalemate only of general war capabilities. They consider that this situation of mutual deterrence would open up new opportunities for advancing Communist power by political, economic, and perhaps even limited military means. We believe, however, that even then they would not wittingly assume serious risks of general war. We believe that they would draw back if the Western response were of such vigor that in their view more extensive Soviet involvement would entail either serious risk of general war or net political loss. At the same time, we believe that the chance of their miscalculating risks may increase if they remain convinced that their relative power is growing.
- Soviet foreign policy will remain devoted to the same objectives as heretofore. At least over a five-year period, elements of both a policy of pressure and one of reducing tensions will probably be adopted at one time or another. The immediate outlook is that the Soviets will continue their present tactics of détente at least through the initial phase of the series of high-level negotiations now in view. In another year or two they may feel that their capabilities in long range missiles have brought them into a period when the relations of military power are the most favorable from their point of view. They will still try to win Western concessions basically through negotiation. But the element of pressure and threat will probably become more pronounced, perhaps much more so, than it is at present. (Para. 19)
- Although the assets of the USSR are formidable, and for the foreseeable future will cause it to gravely threaten US security and that of the Free World generally, some of these assets also contain problems. Chief among these are the Satellite situation, Soviet relations with the underdeveloped areas, and Sino-Soviet relations. In the course of time, it is possible that these problems, coupled with long term evolution within the USSR itself, would limit the effectiveness and even alter the content of [Page 364]Soviet foreign policy. At present, however, we see no basis for estimating that such problems would either diminish Soviet internal power or change the basic objectives of the Soviet leadership. (Paras. 22–29)
- On the Communist Chinese front, tensions have increased in the past year. The Chinese Communists will probably seek to achieve their objectives by political and subversive means with a broad range of tactics, but there are likely to be frequent manifestations of truculence and more, rather than less, of the range of pressures recently exemplified in the Indian border dispute, in Laos, and in Indonesia. (Paras. 15, 32)
- Non-Communist Asia has become somewhat alarmed over Chinese Communist intentions. However, there exists no non-Communist power or grouping of local powers comparable in strength to Communist China. Several individual countries remain particularly vulnerable to Communist influence, and over the next five years there is a fair chance that a Communist regime will come to power in one or another of the countries in the area. US action, however, could in most cases reduce the chance of such a development and in any event could probably prevent any chain reaction if an individual country did go Communist. It is hard to see the situation in the area as a whole improving markedly over this period, and a bellicose Chinese Communist policy could produce widespread turmoil and even major hostilities. (Paras. 34–40)
- Western Europe’s economic growth and internal political stability are likely to continue satisfactory, although France’s political future is somewhat uncertain. The movement towards economic integration continues to have great momentum, despite current difficulties. NATO confronts serious problems, notably France’s pressure for increased status, French development of an independent nuclear capability, and sentiment among the continental countries for some form of European continental military grouping, possibly related to NATO. Over the next few years, we believe that basic military dependence on the US will keep the alliance together. Nevertheless, its effectiveness will probably be somewhat reduced, and this reduction could attain serious proportions if European confidence in the will and ability of the US to protect Europe from the Communist threat should decline markedly. In any event, unless there is a renewed sense of urgency, Western Europe’s increased strength will probably not be applied as fully and cohesively as it might be to the key problems now confronting the West, of maintaining an effective military posture and of providing large-scale aid to the underdeveloped countries. (Paras. 41, 44–45, 49, 54, 59)
- In countries of the underdeveloped world, the complex force of nationalism and growing desires for a better life will be powerful factors shaping the course of events. These countries will continue to expect help from the richer countries, and they will be inclined to accept such help regardless of whether it comes from the East or the West. Inasmuch [Page 365]as these countries generally lack the experienced leadership, the stable political and social institutions, and the material resources to cope with their many problems in orderly ways, there will remain the possibility of violent upheavals and local conflicts. While these outbreaks may not stem from the East-West struggle, they can be expected often to involve the interests of the two sides and to afford opportunities for exploitation. Thus, the underdeveloped world will continue to be a principal area of the contest between the Bloc and the West. (Para. 80)
- The outlook in the various underdeveloped areas (apart from non-Communist Asia, covered in Conclusion 6 above) is mixed. The Middle East will remain very unstable. In South Asia, the future of Afghanistan, in particular, is uncertain. While trade and other economic relations with the Bloc will increase in Africa, and there will be many opportunities for the spread of Communist influence, we do not believe that local Communist-controlled groups will become strongly entrenched in power in any country at least over the next few years, given a reasonable degree of effective attention from the West.3 (Paras. 73–76)
- In Latin America as a whole, we do look for some expansion in Communist influence over the next few years, although such an expansion will probably not be widespread, especially in view of the possibilities for US action. However, there is a possibility that one or another country, notably Cuba, could fall under Communist control. Moreover, the Communists or other extremists may achieve such influence that they can put through programs seriously threatening US interests or even security. In any event, the US will be under increasing pressure, and Latin American support for the US, for example in the UN, will almost certainly continue to decline. (Para. 79)
- US policy remains crucial both in itself and for its effect on the rest of the Free World. Indications that the US was not maintaining a firm and effective military and political posture would lead to weakening of the resolve of other free nations. The growth of Soviet ICBM capabilities is creating a serious problem for the US in maintaining among other Free World nations confidence in US willingness to bring its nuclear capabilities to bear as a protection for such nations. A second crucial area affecting US prestige and influence will be that of US economic policy. However much the capacity of other Western nations grows, the Free World will still look to the US for leadership in the problem of channeling Western aid to the “have-not” nations and in the freeing and encouraging [Page 366]of international trade, and will be intensely concerned with the economic policies, both domestic and foreign, adopted by the US. (Paras. 82, 84, 86)
[Here follows the 13-page Discussion section, included in the Supplement.]
- Source: Department of State, INR–NIE Files. Secret. A note on the cover sheet reads in part: “Submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence. The following Intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Joint Staff, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Concurred in by the United States Intelligence Board on 19 January 1960.” The Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation abstained because the subject was outside his jurisdiction.↩
- While the estimate summarizes our views on the USSR, a fuller treatment of Soviet trends and developments will be contained in NIE 11–4–59, “Main Trends in Soviet Capabilities and Policies, 1959–1964.” Soviet strategic capabilities, including ICBM buildup, will be covered in NIE 11–8–59, “Soviet Capabilities for Strategic Attack Through Mid-1964.” Both these estimates will be published in the near future. [Footnote in the source text. Regarding NIE 11–4–59, see footnote 5, Document 82. For NIE 11–8–59, see Document 88.]↩
- The Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, believes that the importance of the ICBM requires that the third sentence of paragraph 2 be inserted in this initial paragraph to read: “In particular, the emerging Soviet ICBM capability, dramatized in the eyes of the world by the Lunik shots, is altering military power relationships.” [Footnote in the source text.]↩
- The Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Intelligence, Department of the Navy, and the Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff, believe that the prospects for Communist groups should be limited further by substituting after “Communist-controlled groups” in the last sentence the words: “will become a major political force in any country . . . .” [Footnote in the source text.]↩