13. National Intelligence Estimate1

NIE 12–65


The Problem

To estimate the significance of the Warsaw Pact as a military alliance, the military capabilities of the non-Soviet members2 and probable trends over the next five years or so.


For years little more than a paper organization, the Warsaw Pact has become an important element in Soviet European policy and military planning. In the early 1960s, the USSR moved to establish a new military relationship with the countries of Eastern Europe, to improve their military capabilities and to tighten the Pact as a military organization. Of late, the East European countries have manifested in varying degrees an increasing independence of the USSR in their political and economic policies. The loosening of Soviet controls in Eastern Europe has increased the importance of the Pact to the USSR as an institutional tie. For their part the East European countries see the Pact as an assurance that the Soviets will continue to underwrite their regimes and to safeguard existing boundaries. (Paras. 1–8)
Improvements over the past five years have made East European military forces a more useful adjunct to Soviet military power. We estimate that 35 of the 63 East European line divisions, varying considerably in quality, could be deployed within a few days. East European air defense systems are coordinated with each other and with the Soviet air defense organization. With 125 SAM sites and 2,400 fighter aircraft these [Page 53] systems afford a fair defense throughout the area. While we believe that the Soviets will not give East European forces nuclear weapons in peacetime, in the event of war these weapons would probably be made available under strict Soviet control. (Paras. 23, 29, 31–34)
The Soviets will probably continue their efforts to strengthen the Warsaw Pact. The growing independence of Eastern Europe, however, will make it difficult to obtain agreement on specific courses of action. Changes in NATO will influence developments in the Warsaw alliance; in particular, any substantial increase in the role of West Germany would strengthen the special relationship among East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the USSR. Rumania will probably seek to minimize its participation in the Pact, but we do not believe that it will attempt formally to withdraw. (Paras. 43–45)
In a crisis situation threatening general war, we believe that the East European regimes would attempt to exert a moderating influence on Soviet policy. If the USSR ordered mobilization, their responses would probably differ, ranging from immediate compliance by the East Germans to recalcitrance on the part of the Rumanians. In the event of armed conflict, we believe that the East European armed forces could be relied upon to take part, at least initially, in military operations in conjunction with Soviet forces. (Paras. 9–11)

[Here follows the 10-page Discussion section of the estimate.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Job 79–R01012A, ODDI Registry. Secret; Controlled Dissemination. According to a note on the cover sheet, the CIA, the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense, and the NSA participated in the preparation of the estimate. This estimate was submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence, and concurred in by the members of the U.S. Intelligence Board. The representatives of the AEC and the Assistant Director of the FBI abstained on the grounds that the subject was outside their jurisdiction.
  2. The active East European members of the Warsaw Pact are Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Rumania. The military capabilities of Albania, which has not actively participated since 1961, and Yugoslavia, never a member, are considered in an annex. Soviet strategic concepts with respect to a war in Europe and the relevant Soviet forces will be discussed in the forthcoming NIE 11–14–65, “Capabilities of Soviet General Purpose Forces.” [Footnote in the source text. NIE 11–14–65 is ibid.]