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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 07, 1983

MINISTRY OF STATE SECURITY (STASI), 'ABOUT THE TALKS WITH COMRADE V. A. KRYUCHKOV'

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    This report describes conversations with Comrade Kryuchkov, coving a multitude of subjects, but delving briefly into the problem of "prevention of a surprise nuclear attack" (RYAN). Kryuchkov responded that this issue is being continually worked on, but no central decisions had been made as of yet.
    "Ministry of State Security (Stasi), 'About the Talks with Comrade V. A. Kryuchkov'," November 07, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, Abt. X, Nr. 2020, S. 1-7. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119320
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119320

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Main Directorate A [HVA]

Deputy

Berlin, 7 November 1983

VJA/81/83

EYES ONLY

Head of Department X

Comrade Major General Damm

Attached I sent you the notes about the talks of Comrade Colonel General Wolf with Comrade Colonel General Kryuchkov for your information.

[signed]

[illegible]

Major General

Attachment

Berlin, 4 October 1983

About the Talks with Comrade V. A. Kryuchkov

In addition to the notes drafted about statements Comrade Kryuchkov made during a plenary session of the delegations on October 3, 1983, he also provided the following remarks about basic political issues during individual conversations:

On problems listed in our questionnaire related to negotiations about the deployment of intermediate nuclear missiles in Europe, and the thoughts of West German politicians about still possible compromises in Geneva, Comrade Kryuchkov remarked that for the Soviet Union there still exist reserves for negotiations if the other side will make concessions. He referred to the known concessions by the Soviet side and thought that, for instance, the other side could, as a first step, delay the deployment. In general, information about all respective steps and proposals is provided on the level of the Central Committees.

The zero option would be also possible, if it becomes linked to measures in the area of strategic disarmament. One is thinking about linking the intermediate nuclear forces with the so-called START negotiations. There exist different opinions on this [in the Soviet Union], and nothing would have been decided yet.

To various questions what is going to come after the expected deployment of new American weapons systems in Europe, Comrade Kryuchkov responded this is difficult to say. This question will certainly be discussed on a higher level. A completely new situation will emerge. Obviously the struggle for peace will be continued, but in the struggle for disarmament one will have to start from a significantly higher level of armaments.

Comrade Kryuchkov asked a couple of questions about the respective position of the FRG government and individual political forces. He noted with interest our remarks and assessments on this subject.

In the context of discussion about problems of the peace movement and tasks resulting for foreign intelligence in case of a deployment, Comrade Kryuchkov assessed that a support for extremist actions by individual groups is not expedient. This way the situation would only get worse. By no means our hands must be visible in such kind of actions.

To our questions about Ceausescu's position and his potential intentions for a withdrawal of the Socialist Republic of Romania [SRR] from the Warsaw Treaty, Comrade Kryuchkov said there are signals in this regard but no reliable informations. He noted that Comrade Ceausescu retreated during the Prague meeting in January, after very serious talks with Comrade Andropov and other leading comrades. Logic and interests of the SRR would advise against a withdrawal; however, in the case of Ceausescu one has to take impulsive steps into account. It would be an important issue one has to observe further.

He [Kryuchkov] referred then extensively to known exceptional positions of the SSR on various issues. However, there exist serious problems in the country, and there are also certain brewing feelings against Ceausescu one has to monitor.

On Angola, Comrade Kryuchkov stated in addition to what he said during the plenary session that he perhaps might have to fly to Angola. The situation would be extraordinarily serious, and major assistance had already been provided. About 250 people were trained for the security apparatus. Such would be very few for this country, though more were not requested. Apparently this is due to the fact that they have not yet clearly determined their path. The growing black racism would be a great danger.

On Mozambique, Comrade Kryuchkov said that support by the KGB is limited as well. However, [again] there has not been more requested.

In all those countries the question of cadres would be decisive. As an example to demonstrate the opposite Comrade Kryuchkov named Afghanistan. Currently there are 2,600 people trained annually [for Afghanistan intelligence services], in part within the country. A major part of those people are trained in a newly built training center in Tashkent.

Zimbabwe one has to treat with utmost caution. There the whites are still determining the development of the intelligence organ. No initiative is undertaken in this regard by the KGB.

One has to deal with new problems of terror and the kidnapping of citizens from our countries. Since 1981 one has to note an increase of such cases, apparently inspired by Western intelligence services. He named respective examples from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kampuchea, and Mozambique. In order to guarantee better security, [the Soviet Union] will demand in the future more security for its experts. It will include respective provisions in agreements to be signed, determine accommodations accordingly, and all that without suspending its own responsibilities. They will provide the experts with communication devices and, if necessary, also arm them. If there is a larger number of experts somewhere, like for instance in Algeria, three special officers for security issues will be deployed. One also will have to post operative officers for security among the experts. This question has to be dealt with constantly in [international] collaboration.

About the problem of “prevention of a surprise nuclear attack” (Russian acronym “RYAN”) Comrade Kryuchkov responded the following to our questions: We are continuously working on this. No central or principled decisions have been made yet. The issue has many layers and is very complicated (even in the United States they have not completed this yet).

Who is supposed to take on what responsibilities? Foreign intelligence cannot shoulder this responsibility. The problem is way too broad and serious.

Chekist foreign intelligence has to deal with the studying of war preparations, this is to determine characteristics, phenomena, and indicators, analyze them, and assess whether a war can start in half a year or in a year. For this there exist thousands of characteristics.

Currently strategic nuclear weapons can be used in less than 24 hours. So this is about the phase of decision-making, and about working out a system that denies the adversary the option of a surprise.

In the 1st  Main Directorate [of the KGB] there exist a large number of thoughts and ideas that fill seven binders. For the most part, this work is done in the Institute for the Research of Operative Problems headed by Comrade Shapkin, as well as in the information department. In order to address this, small units have been established.

It is still not clear where the assessment center is to be located. Within the State Security [KGB] the opinion has formed it should be coordinated by the Chairman. So far, foreign intelligence has submitted  a few assignments to some KGB resident agents abroad who have to report on them every two weeks (Bonn is among them).

Liaison issues are especially important and complicated.

The prevailing opinion is that processing and analyzing of these issues has to be conducted within the 1st Main Directorate and its Information Department. So with this, all your questions have been answered [, Comrade Kryuchkov said,] as far as it is possible. For the GDR, the territory of the FRG is certainly decisive. Here the illegal line [undercover agents] is shouldering the main responsibility in the operation area [MfS jargon for FRG]. This line is not mentioned in documents for reasons of secrecy. It is just where specific measures were taken, and will have to be taken.

On thoughts expressed so far [by the KGB on the subject], most socialist countries have responded positively, but for the KGB the political decisions have not yet been made. Comrade Kryuchkov is hoping that there will be a decision about the concept by the end of the current or the beginning of next year. He thinks it makes sense to leave the subject of an expert meeting open until then. He agrees to asking these questions at the working meeting with Comrade Kotov, although coordination is not with the 1st Main Directorate.

There was extensive talk about basic problems of the illegal line. Here Comrade Kryuchkov accepted our prepared questionnaire with the promise to take respective care of it.

In this context, and in relation to the overall subject of the work by our [MfS] liaison officer in Moscow, to the monitoring of the West German embassy and other FRG citizens of interest, as well to the potential experiment in summer 1984 in Yalta, we explained our thoughts and dealt with the problem of responsibilities by the 4th Department of the 1st Main Directorate.

Comrade Kryuchkov promised to review this question and provide the needed instructions.

Comrade Kryuchkov informed in detail about a case of betrayal, thanked for our support in this case, and reported about results of assessing some material handed over by Comrade [MfS Major General Harry] Schütt at the recent meeting by the heads of counter espionage in Moscow. Respective notes are with [MfS] Department II.

In this context, Kryuchkov returned again to the issue of potential expulsions of our officers acting as foreign resident agents. There exist signals in this regard from some countries.

The answer has to go in two directions:

First: We have to do joint consultations about a series of active measures in order to deter intelligence services and governments of such countries from taking such actions.

Second: Localization of potential consequences of cases of betrayal and hostile measures through decommissioning and transfer of agents.

Such questions have to be jointly and operatively discussed and decided at working meetings, both on the intelligence lines of counter espionage as well as active measures.

Regarding the SWT [MfS Sector Science and Technology] issue, Comrade Kryuchkov extensively elaborated on the great importance of, and highest regard for, [MfS-acquired] documents about amorphous solid. He asked for priority support in the evaluation of corresponding tasks. Soviet specialists assign highest importance to this problem and call it a small revolution in metallurgy.

In this context we thanked Comrade Kryuchkov for a couple of important information material provided by the KGB, as well as for the request on a method to produce chrome plates for the production of circuits.

In response to requests from MfS Main Department III about a planned meeting on these issues, Comrade Kryuchkov agreed with such a meeting, however with participation of representatives from the Main Directorate Foreign Intelligence [HV A]. He posed this question also to the Minister with the result that Comrade Minister views it necessary to consult these issues with Comrade Colonel General [Markus] Wolf.

Most questions concerning the issue of the “Third World” were postponed in light of the upcoming meeting of respective intelligence lines on October 10, 1983. Comrade Kryuchkov proposed to discuss these and other questions during a future working meeting with Comrade Colonel General Wolf in Moscow at the end of this or at the beginning of next year.

He proposed to hold such a meeting with Comrade Minister who has agreed to that. Then also a couple of methodical questions are supposed to be discussed, like producing insights on new target objects, more intense utilization of activities in developing countries for the science and technology line, its main directions, and other similar issues. At that occasion we can also discuss and complement in detail the consultations plan for 1984.

Comrade Kryuchkov repeated his consent to a visit by comrades from the HV A to the [internal] tradition cabinet of the [KGB] 1st Main Directorate. Probably the restoration of this cabinet will be completed by May 1984.

Comrade Kryuchkov was informed about the documentary film “The Man from Camp Nikolaus”[1]  [“Der Mann aus Camp Nikolaus”].

Also addressed was the problem of [female] Comrade Nummert (illegal line of KGB).

[1] 'Camp Nikolaus' is the code name for early headquarters of West German foreign intelligence service BND in Pullach near Munich.