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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 14, 1983


This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    This brief note written by the Ministry of State Security includes a number of questions for the leadership of the KGB in the USSR, such as whether other elements, like military doctrine or emergency responses, should be examined as possible options for starting a war.
    "Ministry of State Security (Stasi), Brief Note, 'Issues to Discuss with the Leadership of the KGB of the USSR'," January 14, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 5172, S. 33-36. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.
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Berlin, 14 January 1983

Top secret!

Brief Note re: 1/83 from 6 January 1983

The KGB orientation, which agrees in essence with our positions, falls within a framework of mostly general analyses of the problem. Though indications are helpful to organize according work within the MfS, they still offer not much for practical application however.

The orientation only deals with the option of a surprise strategic nuclear attack. Other possible options are not covered, which must be minded in particular for the European continent currently, and even more so after deployment of the Euro-strategic US intermediate nuclear potential. The same applies to the monitoring of developing, respectively expanding. crisis hot spots, aspects of hostile 'crisis management', and others.

In my opinion, the position is correct that knowledge possibilities in non-military areas have to be considered as a special focus for state security intelligence (foreign intelligence activities). It should not be our priority task, however, to double military intelligence activities (but to utilize all existing options).  

Methodical emphases had to be stressed clearer, for instance that creation and utilization of opportunities of the illegal line has to enjoy priority, completed by legal residents [stations with resident spies] and other intelligence means. Issues of liaison and a couple of other questions also have to be included. They need to be clarified respectively subject of more detailed consultations in the KGB (see questionnaire in appendix).

Further questions had to be straightened out on the central level of the MfS. Depending on results of consultations in the KGB, they should include the way of a central organization within the MfS including the coordination for compilation of central documentation (leadership instructions, structure and organization, central catalog of characteristics of tension, objects and areas of concentration, orientation material, and others), the evaluation and analyses, as well as cooperation in an international framework, and in context of the GDR.

Issues to discuss with the leadership of the KGB of the USSR

Does the KGB leadership share the opinion that, when respective intelligence work is organized, other options for starting a war will also have to be considered, namely those resulting from the adversary's military doctrine, its 'crisis management', and its military intentions?

How should the monitoring of developing, respectively expanding, crisis hot spots be viewed and handled?

On what factual and local areas of concentration should the MfS focus from the Soviet perspective?

Why is the role of the illegal line not emphasized? How are problems of liaison viewed and dealt with?

What are opinions about organization of cooperation in a national context and within the framework of the Warsaw Treaty [Pact] (one center?, connecting channels, the way of preparing information in the national control center)?

What document (contents and form) are currently in the works?

Can the KGB provide model catalogs of indicators from selected societal areas in order to speed up preparatory work within the MfS?

Is there a possibility for extensive expert consultations on operative and analytical (staff organizational) aspects of the problem (between the intelligence services)?

Do practical experiences by the Soviet organs so far confirm, that analysis of acquired information about acute war preparations by the adversary is supposed to be conducted in the context of a permanent security situation monitoring and assessment? Or is a relatively autonomous center more efficient, which only works on the war and surprise aspect?