3. Current Intelligence Weekly Review0

East-West Relations

At the Cuban National Day reception on 2 January, Khrushchev said the delay in establishing contact with the new US administration was largely responsible for the Soviet partyʼs decision to postpone its 22nd congress until October, according to the Yugoslav ambassador in Moscow. At the same reception First Deputy Premier Mikoyan remarked that Khrushchev did not expect to meet with President-elect Kennedy until “perhaps July.”

This link between the timing of the party congress and top-level East-West talks suggests that Khrushchev hopes to achieve some tangible diplomatic success which could be used to demonstrate the validity and effectiveness of his foreign policy before committing the Soviet party to the kind of authoritative and long-range programs that are enunciated by party congresses. The Soviet leaders may also feel that the Chinese Communist challenge makes it imperative that the party congress take unequivocal positions on doctrinal as well as foreign policy questions, and that this will be impossible until the Soviet leaders have an opportunity to assess the character and likely moves of the new US administration.

The new date for the party congress—17 October—and Mikoyanʼs reported reference to a meeting with the new US President in July suggest that the Soviet leaders are aware that the process of arranging a summit conference will require considerably more time than Khrushchev indicated in earlier private remarks. In talks with Prime Minister Macmillan last fall, Khrushchev mentioned February and March as possible dates for a summit; later he indicated to the West German ambassador that April would be the deadline for talks on Germany.

Khrushchevʼs latest private remarks along this line suggest, however, that he will initially press for early negotiations. He used a talk with the Icelandic ambassador on 4 January to emphasize his public statement [Page 14] that the Berlin problem must be solved in 1961. Unless the new US administration gave an early indication of willingness to negotiate, Khrushchev told the ambassador, the USSR would proceed with a separate peace treaty with the East Germans.

As is often the case when discussing the Berlin question with Western diplomats other than the three Allied powers, Khrushchev tried to cast doubt on the firmness of Western reaction to a separate treaty. He said he was convinced that the Western powers, with the possible exception of Bonn, were not prepared to fight over West Berlin and claimed that even De Gaulle had told him it was natural that Berlin should be under Soviet influence. Admitting that a separate peace treaty could precipitate a crisis, Khrushchev added that tensions would ease after a time and the new situation would gradually be accepted.

[3-1/2 lines of 2-column source text not declassified] As a result of Ulbrichtʼs talks with Khrushchev, the East Germans feel that a summit is not likely until this summer and that the USSR will sign a separate peace treaty if Khrushchev fails to achieve his objectives on Berlin through direct negotiations. Khrushchev reportedly assured Ulbricht that the Berlin question would be solved in 1961.

Moscowʼs relative restraint on Berlin which was evident in the Communist position during the negotiations renewing the Soviet and East German trade pacts with Bonn was again reflected in Moscowʼs reply to the US note of 26 October protesting East German statements and actions concerning Berlin. The Soviet note of 7 January was brief, devoid of polemic, and merely confirmed the Soviet position as presented in the 26 September note.1 In response to an earlier US protest, theUSSR declared at that time that East Germany exercised full power on the territory lying under its sovereignty, “including in its capital.”

The brevity of the latest Soviet note also appears intended to close out the exchange over East German restrictions on West German travel into East Berlin.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79-S01060A. Secret; Noforn. The source text comprises pp. 7-8 of Part I of the issue. The Current Intelligence Weekly Review was prepared by CIAʼs Office of Current Intelligence, whose staff also produced the Presidentʼs Intelligence Checklist and the Current Intelligence Bulletin, both daily intelligence summaries. Based on the daily summaries, the Current Intelligence Weekly Review provided a weekly wrap-up of the key events as well as special articles. Like the Current Intelligence Bulletin, it was disseminated widely to U.S. Government officials. Excerpts from the Current Intelligence Weekly Review have been included in this volume to provide examples of the kind of incremental intelligence information that U.S. policymakers depended on day in and day out to illuminate developments in the Soviet Union.
  2. For text of the Soviet note of September 26 and the U.S. note of October 26, see Documents on Germany, 1944-1985, pp. 720-723. The January 7 Soviet note was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram 1570 from Moscow, January 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/1-961)