151. Report Prepared in the Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency1

SPOT COMMENTARY: Andropov’s Status

UPI reports this morning that a member of the party Central Committee said that Andropov had been hospitalized and would not attend the Supreme Soviet session today.2 This source said that Andropov had planned to attend but was told by his doctors to remain in bed. The Central Committee member said that Andropov’s specific medical problem was a state secret, but said the problem was not related to his kidneys, and would not normally be a problem for a younger man. He said that Andropov was alert and following the proceedings of the Supreme Soviet closely. [portion marking not declassified]

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Comment: Although Andropov has been out of public view since August, we do not believe he has been ill the whole time. It is likely that since about mid-October he has had more than one setback to his health, and a partial recovery that allowed him to conduct some official activities behind the scenes. [2 lines not declassified] The above report is the first authoritative flat denial that his current absence is related to his kidneys, but this does not mean that he has no kidney problems at all. In fact, the Kohl delegation was told last July that he had missed an appointment due to the pain of passing a kidney stone.3 [portion marking not declassified]

Soviet secrecy may have added to Andropov’s political problem, making it seem that his long absence might be due to a single prolonged medical crisis. [1 line not declassified].

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Country File, Europe and Soviet Union, USSR (12/20/83–12/28/83); NLR–748–24–46–8–3. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified]. Prepared by [3 names not declassified]. Reagan initialed this copy of the report, indicating that he saw it.
  2. The Supreme Soviet met in Moscow on December 28.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 60.