Primary Source

CIA briefing on Soviet Tactical Nuclear Forces

Annotation

Months after Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush signed the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, it seemed that extensive nuclear disarmament between the United States and soon-to-be former Soviet Union was becoming a reality. in this internal document, the Central Intelligence Agency examined the feasibility Gorbachev's proposals, their potential consequences, and speculated upon his motives.

The proposals discussed in this document were largely undertaken by Gorbachev in response to Bush's unilateral disarmament initiative of September 1991, which removed all US nuclear tactical nuclear weapons except from a few Western European countries. Gorbachev responded with a similar proposal in October. The CIA speculated that the speed and scope of Gorbachev's response were mainly for the benefit of the US; he needed to re-assert his leadership credentials after the August coup attempt.

The CIA expressed skepticism about his ability to implement the proposals, which called for the removal of 75 percent of the Soviet Union's tactical nuclear weapons, and predicted that the Soviets would seek the the help of the United States in doing so. They also predicted that proposal hasten the already rapid removal of the Soviet military presence in Eastern Europe.

Central Intelligence Agency, "CIA briefing on Soviet Tactical Nuclear Forces," Making the History of 1989, Item #130

Credits

Central Intelligence Agency, "Soviet Tactical Nuclear Forces and Gorbachev's Nuclear Pledges: Impact, Motivations, and Next Steps," November 1991, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

How to Cite This Source
CIA briefing on Soviet Tactical Nuclear Forces in World History Commons,