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DECLASSIFIED NND 023211
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. Prq_pects for Soviet Navaf:-A.ccess to
Mediterranean Shore Facillties
Declassified and Approved for Releaae
by Central Intelligence Agency .
Date; zoo r
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NIO liM 76-035 .
2 August W76
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NATIONAL SECURITY INrORMATI
Unauthorized Disclosure Subiect to Cri al Sanctions
DISSEMINATION CONTROL A
NOFORN-
NOCONTRACT-
Foreign Nationals
o Contractors or
PKOPiN-
NFIBONLY-
ORCON-
REL:.
Contractor onsultants
Caution-Pr pr_ietary lnformalion Involved
NFIB De rtments Only
Dissemi tion and Extraction of Information
Co rolled by Originator
Thi nformalion has been Authorized for ..
elease to . .
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empt from General
. of E.O. 11652. exemption eategory:
. 58(1). (2). and (3)
Automoticallr. declassified on:
date io determine
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PROSPECTS FOR SOVIET NAVAl .ACCESS
TO .MEDITERRANEAN SHORE FACILITIES
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PROSPECTS FOR SOVIET NAVAl ACCESS.
TO MEDITERRANEAN SHORE FACILITIES
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KEY JUDGMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS
FOR US POLICY
. :-The Soviets strongly desire to compensate for their loss earlier .. , :
' in. Egypt of their only adequate Mediterranean facilities for:maJor. ..
naval rpairs and replenishment. However, with current limited-shore
access the Soviets will be able to maiiitain essentially the same of : ''
nava.l-suiface operations and presence in the Mediterranean that __ .
had supported in recent years. This will apply during crisis periOds a5 :_ ..
well as for their normal low tempo of operations. Without :: .
access to shore facilities, it will be more expensive, more to
manage, and harder on the crews, but it can be done. -
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st;thmarl;ies on deployment to the Soviet
&kadra come from the Northern Fleet, and have much more need of
shore access than do Soviet surface ships with their freedom to use
closer Black Sea home port facilities. Without suitable new shore
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a.ccess, either submarine on-station time in the
probably to be reduced. or the number of support s4Ips.\,:<': ..
increased. Either or" both would present significant _.:. . ;, . .
obstacles, but we judge the Soviets can manage it if they have to .. : ' .. :':--:_:.?.: ..
minimum the Soviets wW probably. seek to maintain their ;::, :> _: .. :-_: ?,< .; .:
_level of _submarine operations. . . . . -_-::. ::
-For the near term, we believe that Soviet prospects for the kind .. : : :.:: :' .
controlled access to Mediterranean shore facilities that they desire Jor. ..... . : ::
substantial repairs and_ sustained replenishment are "dim except ... , .
Yogoslavia. where Moscow's prospects..are marginally better but" still:: .. _ ..:
problematical. Syria may be the next best bet, but, like Yugoslavia,<
continues to insist on restricting Soviet use of and access. to :.
limited port. facililities. Moreover, Syrian-Soviet relations continue to<
deteriorate over Lebanon. . . ..
-. Over the longer term, major political variables in countries all-around. :.
the littoral could dramatically affect .Soviet prospects. Alhania, Egypt
itself, Libya, Maita, Syria, and Yugoslavia are all examples.
-In the meantime the Soviets are likely to plug away at insinuating
themselves and their Mediterranean ships into more moqest port
arrangements with the more promising potential hosts.
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-With Algeria and Libya, the Soviets are likely to in . .. . . .
to erpde these resistence to grar:tting the . .. : _: .. ..
routine navil 1rich.t.de . inajor . r_epair . 'They :m:iyr:i.;\\: .:i:--:: .. .
mount a the same sortjn than: !.n..:;;. .
those 9llntries. Their are not goodJn 'any/: .. ::. : .
. of.the _three .-. : . . . . . . -:.: :;L;-::;_. "; . \;.,.-<'
-The thei.r highest level of effort .. .. ,
near term on Syrla-a,n4 YugOslavia..\Vhere current S.oviet part 'ore; .. . ,; . :.: ..
we(J as some S.oviet palitiCal.and milita!y leveiige .With. each of :<.:;)\\/ .
provides a basis to press for the. kind of major,1ess restricted j=;_:.j .:: .. ,:
access naw denied-the ussR in ci>untries. . .- . .
- Some Mediterranean ntight well cope Sovi,et
for naval {acUities by adopting a modified version of. the
approach, inviting Wes.tern as well as Soviet use under carefuliy: < .
. specified oonditions. And if Yugoslavia itself feels constrained to yield : .
to Soviet pressure for Ie5s restricted port use, it is likely to hedge any .. ;:.
concessions by heightened solicitation of use by the US and other :
Western powers. .
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DISCUSSION
I. SOVIET NEEDS
1. The Soviet naval presence has become a
permanent feature of the Mediterranean since 1964.
Serving as a counter to Western naval forces, these
ships have played n role in most of the Mediterranean
area crises of recent years. Further, their very presence
has served ndtice .that the Sovi.et Union is a superpower
possessing in1portant interests in the region. This Fifth
Eskadra
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ha,s: both a strategic defensive mssion
Western ballistic missile submarinesand carriers, and a
wider role the support of Soviet clients and the
symbolic . and actual promotion of Soviet
interests. The Soviets are anxious to continue to
maintain the Fifth Eskadra's capabilities to perform its
roles and to soive problems connected with its
. support. 3
2. We expect that the Soviet. navy' s presence in the
Mediterranean will be maintained, probably at
roughly the same levels as have existed over the ' past
few years. Although the Soviet navy is self-sufficient in
its peace-time logistics practices, operating ships at sea
for extended periods without shore sup'port is expensive
in terms of operational efficiency. For this reaso!l. as
well as for the potentiai use of any shore acceSs to
enhance their political presen and influence in the
area, the Soviets perceive naval access to. shore .
facilities as highly desirable. . . : ..
3. The degree of Soviet' dependence to
Mediterranean shore facilities varies fof different kinds
-of forces: surface shiPs can
independently of I9Cal sup{>9rt; .

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The Fifth Eskadra is the fleet organization of Soviet forces
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:_operations are significantly if aCcess to
local facilities is unavailable; arid deploymeiitof
based naval aircraft would aliriost . CQntlnual
uSe of local The Soviets .have been able' to
operating In Mediterranean. Prior to 19761ts averaged
11 major combatants, 13 submarines (of which about 11 were diesel
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attadc submariries), !lftd minor combatants and supply ships for a:
total of around !so units. It regularly l.ridudes same of the navy's
most modem and effeCtive surface combatants, and Is under the
control of a flag offic:uusually embarlced on a maJor surface unit..
The &lcadra's normal operational activities lndude surveillance of
Western carrieD; ASW, and occasional large exercises: Although a
large portion of the Mediterranean .deployment Is spent at
anchorages or In port visits, the Soviets have exhibited the ability to
respond quickly to aises and to augment the Eslcadra with
additional surfaee ships, mostly from the Blade Sea Fteet.
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Discussion of the objecttve1 which have led the Soviets to have
their navy operate in the Mediterranean and other distant areas lies
largely beyond the scope of this Memorandum. For fuller tcel!-tment
the .reader Is referred to NlE (Soviet Naval Polldes and
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Programs) and the forthcoming NIE 11-10-76 (Soviet Military
Policy In the nird World).
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. their naval fortes in the.
access to only a few shore faCilities. They haye 'dorie
. this by utilizing afloat SUpPQrt either lit port. lri
anchorages. This effort has lnvolved a oondnuous
presence of tenders, repair ship$, food anci stores
ships, naval oilers, merchant tankers under contract to
the navy, and a host of other support .auxiliaries.
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We define aooess to naval facilities as the routine use of another
country's airfields, sl\ore facilities, or sheltered anchorages within
territorial waters for repairs and substantial replenishment. Port
calls, which might afsGIndude minor replenishment (e.g., taking on
tresh water), neither meet. fufl Soviet needs nor Involve the same
magnitude of physical or political requirements.
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4. Inasmuch as a key role of the Fifth Eskadm.has to and from their Sea
been reaction to Middle Eastern crises, it is any necessary submarine
that. the buildup :.which occUrred '"
during the Octob:er War of 1973 not affected by ... 5. Since Fifth Eskadra
limited logistics support nor was there any need to . majority-:--()erhaps much as
: increase. utilization .. of then. available . at odn port
facilities. However, that time the Soviet were alSo ') iil -execches, their ,a
lucky; in that scheduled relief diesel were . :are Somewhat less than would ntht ... nltriwo
already enr9ute from the Northern Fleet. Both certain level ot .
and the submarines they were scheduled to . minor repairs to combatants be in :
relieve stayed on.station in tlie Mediterranean for the anchorage rather than in frequent Soviet;'_
duration of the crisis. (Deployment the Northern practice: less . used by other navie5.: The .primary.':
. Fleet requires two and one-half weeks for diesel anchorages used by the Soviets, even when access-to .
submarines and about ten days .. for nuclear Egyptian facilities was available, in :the
submarines.) Oil was. supplied by merchant Basin, the Gulf of ..
and by nav!!-1 oilers operating out of Soviet Black Sea Island, east of Crete, and north bf Egypt (see .
ports. FurtHer, the evidence indicates that many Figure 1). These anchorages ,',,
merchant ta'nkers which had experience in principal operating areas of the Fifth Eskadra.
supporting fleet units were available. and <:Ould have 6. In the Soviets have seen compensating
been pressed into service had the Soviets chosen to . advantages in Soviets making do with logistically
disrupt their own civilian operations. We can expect. k d f
aw war arrangements o this sort. Even during the
that the SoViet navy's role in a future slwrt-tem1 years when they had continuous and reliable access to .
crisis will not be affected by logistics Egyptian ports the Soviets avoided becoming
i::onsideratio1s so long as they have unimpeded access too dependent on foreign facilities.- Soviet naval .
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officers may have ;preferred to have the
available t6 support their own forces from their own
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resources rather . than come to rely on other sources
which might be denied at a crucial moment.
. Indicative of the Soviets' naval logistics philosophy
and practic has been their complicated effort to avoid
on foreign . sources fuel oil. In the
Mediterranean some five to seven Soviet POL ships are
normally P,resent to provide fuel from their own
internal to combatants and auxiliaries. In
general the: practice is for the merchant tankers to
refuel oilers which in turn go from ship to ship
topping thetn off. The Soviets have held tenaciously to
this in the Mediterranean and . any
change require a major policy decision. On the
political level, the Soviets have to reconcile their naval
involvemeht in foreign countries with their
desire to minimize the appearance of an
internationdl policy driven by naval expansionism.
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7. The deployments of the Soviet navy
since the mid-1960s, however, have in fact been
by some of past practices.
Since that time the Soviets have begun to seek rather
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limited (by Western standards) access to shore facilities
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not only in the Mediterranean but also in the Indian
Ocean and btsewhere. Some of the port services which
are now use# b.Y the Soviet navy in the Mediterranean .
include routine . replenishment, minor and major
and: crew . . Moreover, Soviet of
control over
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their military support have led them to
seek agreements with Httoral countries in. several ocean
areas atlow(ng them to establish facilities for their
exclusive use.
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Past Ups; and
8. The have, however, had mixed results in
their efforts obtain access ashore. Beginning in 1958
they based same 12. subma.nnes in the Albanian port of
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Vlore. they had to pull out these units in
1961 with the break in Soviet-Albanian relations. In
the followirlg yem .the SOviets made a determined
effort to gaih access to Egyptian facilities, but despite
much importuning they were admitted only in the
wake of the jsix Day War of 1967 when the Egyptian
government , was in no position to resist the strings
attached t<?-1 Soviet offers of assistance. As indicated
below, facilities in Egypt .were of great
conveniencej to the Soviets. When Egypt expelled
Soviet advisers in July 1972, however, Soviet naval
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support activities were curtailed. By early 1976 the
Soviets had been completely from Egyptian
port facilities following Sadat's abrogation of the 1971
Soviet-Egyptian Friendship Treaty.
NavaiNr
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9. The most significant loss to the Soviet fro.m .
the 1972 ouster was the removal of their naval
unit based in Egypt at three airfields. This . air
organization consisted of ASW, recom1aissanee, and
missile- strike aircraft. The ASW and reconnaissance
aircraft conducted missions in
against US and other units, and there is some evidence
that the strike aircraft were being prepared fo.r
operations over the Mediterranean when So:viet use of .
Egyptian airfields was terminated. Soviet ocean.
surveillance in the Mediterranean is
accomplished primarily by Soviet ship shadowing of
major Western ships, through high-frequency
finding (HFDF) and by satellite . reeoi:maisSance;
however, use of a Mediterranean airfield did add
valuable flexibility and redundancy and regaining
access to such a facility probably remains an important
Soviet goal. Some agencies would al$Q note that in a
with Syrian concurrence, the Soviets also.
use the three electronic warfare :aircraft. they have
maintained in Syria since 1972 _to a$siSt .. _
. . reconnaissance oPerations. Should the Sov.iets
to rotate the ASW .carriers in regular
Mediterranean deployments, _have .a
continual afloat naval air capability, . but they _would
. also want at least emergency airfield. acce$5 11,5hore.
soviet use of airfields of Mediterranean littoral
reconnaissance,.A.SW. and strike is an: even
more polltically sensitive issue .than to ship
repair facilities. Thus the Soviets are Jikely to . seek
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- naval air access, desirable; ' only after .any
improved ship they might manage, all
Mediterranean countries would be far less likely to
grant naval air aCcess than ship facilities.
Other Egyptian Conveniences
10. The AI Gabbari shipyard at Alexandria provided
major replenishment and repair services-both routine
arid emergency-to the Fifth Eskadra, particularly to
its diesel submarines, in conjunction with Soviet
support ships stationed in the harbor as a floating base.
The Soviets had constructed this yard where some 350-
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400 Soviet personnel worked on Soviet ships under the Mediterranean they began nearly
control of a Soviet admiral. Untill972 the Soviets had submarine deployments there in H]64 .. (E. xce:pHoru
managerial control of the shipyard; after .that" they have.:., Black Sea Fleet
apparently lost control of and even access to facilities . conducted Mediterranean patrols
ashorC-except for _the graving dockS perhaps the ;. :\ .overhauls in the Baltic.) :
ia. use of Alexandria ._' .... _,, .. c.
to the Soviets had . been developing additional . . diesel submarines for major repair overhaul . ..
and more secure facilities for their own use further west therefore a significant expansion; of Soviet use of .
along the Egyptian coastiine at Mersa Matruh, .but the foreign Of the average 11 . !iiesel . attack '.
Egyptian government also quashed these Soviet plans. submarines deployed, about three used .this pOrt at. any .
11. Alexandria was also eonvenient in connection
with the important operating .for fresh
water. The presence of at least one water tender in the
Mediterrar:tean suggests th.at Soviet naval combat-
ants-espepially the .older units-have a restricted .
capacity distill their own water in adequate
quantities. Fresh water is also transferred to Soviet
combatants by oilers and by merchant tankers under .
naval chatter. When the Soviet navy had aCcess to
Alexandria, a water tender frequently operated from
this port resupplied naval units in :he eastern
Mediterranean. To date the Soviets have apparently
not found acceptable substitute and so have .
had to deploy water tenders from the Black Sea,
The Diesel Submarine Problem
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i2. Logistical support is inuch more a problem f<n ..
Soviet diesei submarines in the Mediterranean.than for' .
surface Since the ships primarily_ deploy.
. from the Black Sea .Fleet; major repair facilities hi. . .
home waters are more available. ::
crews of surface do not to face the 5ame
habitability. problems as found on submarines; sOViet .
submarines which routinely deploy to the .
Mediterranean, however, came from the Noitherr\ .
rather than, Sea Fleet. In part the Soviets seem to
have chosen this arrangement became of provisioils of
the Montreux Convention; Article 12 states that
submarines belonging to Black Sea powers iriay exit_
the Turkish Straits only for overhaul outside the Black
. Sea, that Aotiee must be given to the Turkish.
government,
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and that the submarines must transit on
the surface. No provision allows passage of submarineS
based elsewhere into the Black Sea. Transit through
the carefully monitored Straits inhibits flexibility and
compromises security. For these reasons the Soviets
have chosen to deploy Northern. F1eet submarines to the
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one ,time. Most work was .performed on submarines :' .'
afl;at in the harbor, but the yard's graving docks were. ::
also utilized for more repilirs la.Sting 'for
several months. Further, submarine crews eould get .:.
away from the confined and uncomfortable quarters .
found on these diesel boats. Now Soviet submannes '.
can only male limited use of repair facilities in Syrian.
arid Yugoslav ports. . . ..
14. Having been expelled from Alexandria, the
Soviets must make alternate arrangements to maintain
the previous level of submarine operations and
presence in the Mediterranean;
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-At a minimum the Soviets will probably seek to .,
maintain their previous level of .
submarine operation,s. They .<;!an do this by ., ,
. increasing the. frequiricy .or .turnover of their:;;:;:.
. submarines or by increasing the.
submarines tenders and repair .ship$ .deployed. . .
the Mediterranean. Either mor.e
around times or hicreased numberS of : ; : ..
. ships would be expensive and difficult .':' ..
but the Soviets could acconiplish)hf:$'::}:3' :; .
without a major reduction in theJr .< .,,; .
submarine operations. Since their final
froJ!l Egypt earlier this year the Soviets have 41. _:.::;:-. ;.:
fact had fewer diesel submarines in t}te;'. .
Mediterranean than earlier (e.g., 8 instead ofll):.< :.
However, they formerly kept more in Mediter-c:.; . .
ranean ports or anchorages than in. the last feW. :< . ..
months, netting out to essentially the saine
number operationally underway. The
although at the same level of operational actiofty,
is a lower Mediterranean diesel submarine
presence.
-The Soviets could also maintain their former
average Mediterranean diesel submarine presence
by further straining their logistics support.
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-The: most preferable alternative for the Soviets .
would be success in orie or more of their efforts to
additio'!.,B:! .shore facilities, as major repair
of diesel submarines at sea is impossible, and even
support is far from easy.
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Curreht SOviet Port Access
15. cu:rrent access by Soviet units . to shore-
based facilities (other than as part of official port visits)
is limited to Syria and, for repair facilities
only, Yugoslavia. Syrian port facilities in both Tartus
and Latakia, improvements, are limited.
Neither of these two crowded harbors can be used on
the same 'scale as Alexandria since they lack graving
docks and other. requisite facilities. There has been,
however, near continuous presence of a support ship
in one ori the other Syrian ports since the 1973 war,
providing
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services to visiting Soviet diesel submarines
and In addition, most of the Soviet
support ships which were until recently stationed in
Alexandria :).re now stationed in Tartus. Replenish-
ment of and prov'isions is probably available to
the Soviets calling in Syria; however, there are
currently bo indications that Soviet naval units obtain
fuel oil id Syrian ports. There is evidence that the
Soviets been pressuring the .Syrians, thus far
unsuceess(uUy, for some additional access.
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16. have long . been interested in
Yugoslavia's facilities on the Adriatic, but Tito' s
has so far strictly limited Soviet
Nevertheless, by late 1973 the Soviets .were granted
limited . and . began to send unamled naval
auxiliaries 'to_. Yugoslav shipyards for overhaul. 10, April
1974 mari.time law was revised' to permit the
repair . of i foreign combatants and _auxiliaries in
. Yugoslav ports. The provisions of the law are strict,
however, limiting the number of ships to two of the
same nati9n under repair at any one time in any one
port. Foreign can be repaired only in a
Yugosla:v n'ttlitary shipyard; currently, Tivat is the only
Yugoslav port so designated. Furthermore, work must
be done exclusively by Yugoslav personnel, using
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Yugoslav material and repairs and must be completed
within six fuonths. Munitions and armaments must be
unloaded placed in the care of Yugoslav military
authorities,! and only one third of the foreign crew is
allowed tol stay on board. The law also specifically
prohibits foreign installations or fuel depots on
Yugoslav Finally, a size limitation of 4,000
tons for warshiPs and lO,QOO tons for auxiliaries is


imposed. The Soviets apparently accepted aiL: ':\ ..:,
these restrictions. They delivered a large < ': '
floating drydock to Tivat in 1975, thereby increasing
its capabilities, and since 1974 several Soviet .
submarines have undergone overhaulS,
Tivat is still far less than the facilities arid condition$ of': .:.
use they enjoyed at Alexandria, , . . :. : .
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17. The Soviets are not known to ha"ve other logistics. ' . >
support arrangements in Mediterranean countries. In
the western Mediterranean merchant tankers,
supporting naval operations through .of
fuel, water, and limited provisions, frequ'ent port
calls to purchase water and provisionS. Port . visits by
these units are accomplished without the prior
clearances and formalities required of naval vessels,
and such visits are relatively frequent to Tunis, .
Tunisia; Calabria, Cagliari, and Palermo, Italy;
Algeciras, Spain; Gibraltar; and Algiers aml Annaba,
Algeria,
ll. LIKELY PROS?:CTS, COUNTRY BY COUNTRY
18. Moscow's general desire to improve its navai'
access to shore facilities in the Mediterranean focuseS'
on specific possibilities in the light two sets_ (:, . .
considerations. The physical aspect nature.
and location of existing the.i_i.:,_
. susceptibility to. improvement. There 'Innumerable.
ports along littoral where
supplies, or even POL might be amf ritinor
repair.S. to Soviet .undertaken. .. .
there are a number of. ports suitable fat the ... type 'o(
-- major formerly made at Alwndria. In order to
protect the seaward approaches to the Blaclc Sea to
maintain a presence close to several unportant crisis
areas, the Soviets have focused the flfth ' .
major operations in the eastern Mediterranean. We .
expect them to continue this practice in. the near term
and thus Soviet naval planners w:ould logically
to seek shore access reasonably close to these.rionitat:
eastern Mediterranean operating areas, but would .of..
course accept it elsewhere. Facilities for fairly extensive
work on submarines in sites also suitable for crew rest
are higher in Soviet priorities than repair facilities for
surface ships. And, their past use of Alexandria
notwittUtandirig, the Soviets would a less
conspicuous site to enhance their- ships' security, For
all the advantages of an established harbor, the
precedents of Soviet interest in Mersa Matruh suggest
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they would prefer to avoid . a busy commercial

19. More ptoblematical is the political aspect of the
. Soviets' problkm-the likelihood of various littoral
countries allowing Soviet shore access, and what ..
under what conditions. For the near teim, we believe
that Soviet. prospects for increased access to
Mediterraneart shore facilities for substantial repairs
and regular replenishment are dim, except in the case
of Yugoslavia, where they are marginally better but
still Over the longer teim, major
political variables in countries all around the littoral
could dramatibally affect Soviet In the
meantime the : are likely to plug -away at
insinuating themseJves and their Mediterranean ships
into more modest port arrangements with the more
. promising pote:ntial hosts.
Unlikely Prospects
20. An otherwise disparate collection of
Mediterranean :countries is unlikely in the near term to
be actively wooed by the Soviets for their shore
facilities. Port calls by Soviet combata,nts to France
and for example, appear .to be motivated
by broader political . objectives-the USSR's
demonstration pf its legitimacy as a
power, weakening NATO, and improving
: . . state. of ..
- securing access to naval facilities in those countries.
Increased Communist Party influence, OC' evenfor'mal
participation, in the government of Italy is for .
the foreSeeable , future to change this situation. The
party would presumably want to_ avoid the sart of
political-military to the USSR _ that" would
validate NATO:govemments' concerns and stimulate
a sharply negative reactio_n. . .
21. Greece or Turkey present equally unlikely short-.
tenit possibilitieS for Soviet naval access. Any SoViet
effort to acquire (acUities in , one greatly
complicate with the other, of course.
Moreover, the Soviets appear to be playing for much
higher stakes tpan naval facilities in both these
countries-namely, enticing them out of the Western
camp into at least the nonaligned Third World. Any
premature attempt to obtain naval access to facilities
_in Greece or Turkey, and the unwanted attention it
would surely d'raw, might very well be counter-
productive to this larger objective. In the case of
Turkey, other Soviet military
transit through the Turkish Straits and . utaLr v' -related
overflights through T,urkish air
access. 8oth Greece and Turkey
anti-foreign sentiment in general.
have expresSed concern in NATO .
naval presence in the Mediterranean,; .. hiLdic:$tiin9.:
both would probably be pc;.,rriiV . . --... _, '(.;.
more than periodic Soviet naval
France and Italy. . .. . '
22. There are three ports in Cypnis-Larnaca,'.
Limassol: and Famagusta; only the last deep water .. ; ..
port. The island no graving docks pr bther major .
shipyard facilities. This unpromising physical base, . .
plus the continuing uncertainty over. the . political
future of Cyprus, make it unlikely that the USSR sees :
any hope for significant naval facilities there ..
Moreover, the USSR would be reluctant to set in
motion naval access gambits which might risk direct :
Soviet involvement in the event of renewed .conflict.
Additionally, Greece and Turkey would probably be
no more willing to accept Soviet access to C)pdot ports
than to their own, and even Makarios be
unwiliing to contemplate such action.
23. In three other Mediterranean countries-:-Spairi;
Alb{lnia, and Lebarion-Soviet naval by .
"ships is a . remote (>ossibility for- the. . . ..
. foreSeeable future. lri order to transform any:
into vial>le . high . ::. ' : :
drastic l;lnd regional politieal !?(.- ...,\ ... : .
required. .-: . . . .. .. <-.:::,;:.-.
. 24, With Egypt, however bieak . ::
prospects . the .SoViets p. robably nurtu. . .
. .. . . ; , , ... .
hope that Cairo will eventually come again 'vithin pull .; . .
of Soviet influence and allow at least ::. :
access to the kind ofextensive facilities there; that they' .. ,.:
previously enjoyed. It woJid be premature, however, .
to rule out a unilateral move on Egypt's part ttllowing
for some resumptien of Soviet naval access.C . ... .
\it would eertainly be conceivable for
Egypt to adOPt something like the Yugoslav legal
formulaE .
. ]that would allow both US
and Soviet warships to use Egyptian shipyards.[
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Some Soviet Effort
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25. Morocco's location :. in the far western
Meditertanean probably reduces its at least
for use by .the Mediterranean Eskadra as presently
. deployed; .to Soviet naval planpers . . The two major
ports s Mediterranean coastline, Ceuta
and are enclaves Spanish control.
Casablanca ori the Atlantic has better facilities
including a graving dock of some 150 meters (490.
feet). Rabat" may have agreed in 1975 to allow the
Soviets more freedom in using its ports in exchange for
expanded militar)' assistance. But; even before the
USSR's for Algeria over Morocco in the
Spanish 'Sahara dispute cast a pall over Soviet-
Moroccan relations, Morocco tended to regard
I . .
Western naval visits . more favorably than Soviet port
calls. And since the Sahara crisis Morocco's attitude
toward us navy has become even more favorable.
While this favor could certainly deteriorate, Moroccan
caution i(l dealing with the Soviets will probably be
more lasting. And, in the near term, the Soviets will
probably not press for naval access there.
26. Ma.fta offers an excellent location for central
Mediterranean naval operations, and Valetta's
extensive :facilities include five graving dockS-'-the
largest 292 meters (962 feet) well trained,
.experienCed personnel. Prime Minister Mintoff s
w_illingness to discomfit Western. p(,wers is also
celebrated, but overall (>olitical relations with
the USSI(\ have. been too poor to offer much present
hope .for Soviet naval access there. Indeed, Malta now
has better relations with the PRC the USSR Any
future by Mintoff to exploftJears.in: the West
of Soviet naval access to Malta complicate his
desire to . figure prominently . in the nonaligned
movement\ and would alienate Libya. Malta's entry
into the nonaligned group in 1973 was . apparently
conditioned on a promise that no foreign military
presence would be allowed aftet the British lease
expired in' 1979. The 1979 expiration of .the b.ase
agreement ;awkwardly (for Mintoff) coincides with a
triennial nieeting of the.nonaligned conference. Any
continued : foreign military presence (Western or
Soviet) in his country would also discredit Mintoffs
attempt to set himself up as the spokesman for the.
Mediterranean world in any expanded follow-on
European !security conference. Nevertheless, the
Soviets will
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presumably be alert to any signs of further
shifts in s foreign priorities that they might
exploit for even conditional naval access. :
they may play on Mintoffs nonaligned pretensions to '. ' . t:\
argue for greater equality of treatment vis-a-vis British /:):<.
and other Western ships. The economiccoiiseq"uences'.:.
. of British particularly if sufficient Ubyan ' :
financial aid is not forthcoming, may also:
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. Moscow some leverage. A Soviet promise of regular:
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dockyard revenues, perhaps. initially associated with ' ;.
service for noncombatants, could prove attrac-
tive-particularly as Western ships . will probably
continue to use the facilities, allowins Mintoff to
argue the case of impartiality. Malta is one of $everal
Mediterranean countries that might in some
circumstances choose to develop the Yug95lav model
of port access that is strictly regulated but available to
both Soviet and Western ships.
Some Active Effort
27. Algeria is rather well endowed with port .and
related facilities:
....:...of some eight major commercial
ports, seven (Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Ghazaouet,
Mostagnem, Skikda, and Oran) have faidy
. extensive anchorages and berthing facilities
lack shipyards for major rei?air work. has
one of the largest ports. the
with shipyards, the larger.having two graving
docks and extensive related
-Mers-el-Kebir, once a French base but now
has a and .well protected harbor.
Although it now possesse$ no major repair
facilities, in ciQ.mbinaHon With the
excellent commercial faciiities at nearby oran,
has the potential for a majot western Mediter-.
ranean complex.
! . . : .
28. Although the Algerian government has for many
years permitted periodic port calls by Soviet ships at
Algiers . and Annaba for showing the flag and
replenishment, it has steadfastly all Soviet
attempts to obtain any access to Mers-el-Kebir and to
repair facilities at Algiers. There have been no
indications of any shift in Algeria's position. StUI, the
physical attractiveness of Algerian facilities; combined
with the USSR's large political investment in that
country, will probably motivate the Soviets to some
level of continued effort. Should the Soviets at some
future time move toward expanded naval activity in
the western Mediterranean, the attraction of Algeria's
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excellent facilities would obviously increase.
status as Algeria's principal arms supplier gives the
USSR potential leverage. The unhappy Soviet
experience with Egypt, has probably made
the USSR more conscious of the hazards of (although
not necessarily wisedn) manipulatingan anns supply ,
relationship. Moreover, the USSR's reliance on
Algerian overflight rights and. landing privilege$ to
. support its southwest African interests provides Algeria
with signifidnt bargaining power o( its own. A
deterioration in the Algerian-Moroccan situation
might provide. Moscow with some opportunities to
press its case by exploiting Algeria's probable desire for
greater military and political support. But even in this
case, barring an Algerian debacle of unlikely
proportions there seems little prospect that Moscow
would gain kind of access it wants to Algiers or
Mers-el- Kebir.
29. Libya doc: not have developed port facilities or
natural harbors. The three principal ports, Benghazi,
Tripoli, and Tbbruk. lack shipyards and other facilities
of the sort available in Egypt. Benghazi and Tripoli do
have shipyards with limited facilities, and Tripoli
. apparently has recently acquired a floating drydock.
For relatively low levels of usage, various other Libyan
offet it would still be necessary to
facilities neai-ly from scratch. along the lines
of the Soviets' endeavors in Berbera: Somalia, oi: as
they stl!-rted t() do at Mersa Ml!-truh. .
30. The Soviet- Libyan courtship. of the last two
years has not flourished in the naval access area.
Despite some reports from_ .time. to time [
J of impending access, there
have been no visits by Soviet nayal combatants
Libya since the September 1969 revolution. Other
evidence indicates that Libya is still resisting SOviet
overtUres fot some degree of navar access. Nevertheless,
in the long terrii Libya is probably destined to remain
attractive to the Soviet navy. In the last two years,
Moscow has substantially increased its involvement in
Libya's military development. Along . with large
quantities of Soviet armor, aircraft, and other land-
based equipment Libya is to acquire naval ships.
Soviet training of Libyan naval personnel, the
probable growth of substantial requirements for Soviet
technical/training support to maintain Li_bya's Soviet-
supplied ships, . and assistance in developing port
facilities, all may provide Soviet personnel with greater
opportunities for influence in Libya. We think it
highly probable that .u;;irig<
assistance projects as the wedge, will .
gradually to gain access to Ubyan .. ;.A lthc:)US!:h}{
this process is likely to be painfully .. ;
term retumsminimal, it could
a favorable P'reS!:nt: .. u.b
attitudes or leadership. Mosoow .would in ..
good position to try' to exploit leverilge ;'. . .
should Qadhafi's Ubya come under preSSure .. ... :
hostile neighbors. , .. . :
Probal;>le High Soviet Effort
31:Syria is one of the USSR's current principal .
clients in the Arab world, and Soviet navy hlis
enjoyed a near continuous presence in Syrian waters'
since 1975. Nevertheless the Soviet navy's .access to
Syrian ports remains .uncertain. f'.1oreover, the Soviet-
Syrian political relationship appears currently to be
deteriorating over Lebanon. Existing port facilities are
crowded and were inadequate for .Soviet needs,
especially submarine even before the
Soviets lost facilities in Egypt. Syria has rio graving
docks or trained shipyard work.ers. Further:J?rominent
Syrian officials have expressed th(: viewL .
. . :J that .
. .. . ,.;
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Egypt went too far in extending Alexandria s port
facilities to tile. Soviet navy. They hl!-ye argued tha.f.
Syria has, . agreed \ >,.
nattue' .was clearly in its i>wri '". ::; ....
And Sy{ia. . cO(ltinues to . Soviet reque5ts f4?r.: .
increased . i:\<< "
32. , The Soviet navy's of Syriari port$< . .
to be . part of a quid pro quo for . p(>liticai>:.:. :::. :r:,';:.,. . .
supp()rt .. and economic anc;l military
A5sumirig that their present relationship.Q9ntiriues, .: .. ..
SOviets will probably try to take advantage of Syria's ,. . f ' : ,
inCr:easing military and debt to thein ::: : ...
leverage for expanded access. Syria's proximity 'to tlie;:: -: :.
Mediterranean Eskadra' s. principal deployment areas.
the USSR's heavy military inveStment
probably guarantee continued . Soviet pursuit of :.
improved port access. The Syrians would surely require.
that the Soviets build the new facilities necessary to
accommodate much additional naval access there.
And, under no foreseeable circumstances are the
Syrians likely to grant unrestricted to any naval
facilities in their country. Moreover, Soviet lack of
influence over recent Syrian military involvement ln
Lebanon does not augur well for other Soviet efforts to
parlay aid into increased infl.uence.
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33. Tunlsla ha5 four principal parts:
-Tunis, a large commerCial port extensive
anchbrage space, only a small .shipyard.
. an natural harbor and the
majorhomepart. ofthe TuniSian Some 18
kilom:eterS (l2 . to the southwest is the
Socomena . Shipyard . four drydocks,
largest being 250 meters (82:0) feet long.
-Safayis and Susah, with small shipyards suitable
only for minor repairs.
34. Soviet warship port . calls began in 1974 and
increased !in frequency d4ring 1975. Their initial
successes apparently led the Soviets to adopt a hard-
sell approach. But repeated badgering by Soviet
diplomats a more liberal port call policy has
served to antagonize Tunisian officials,
including President Bourguiba. Recent evidence
indicates that the government has revised its initially
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sympathetic attitude toward Soviet naval visits. There
is no sign, however, that the Soviets have toned down
their approach. ?'-:ow that they have been expelled
from Tunisia is all the more attractive to them.
Moscow might additionally proffer economic aid or
arms supplies. Tunisia has long sought to the
port at Tunis, and a Soviet o.ffer to assist such
a project thight be well received. In general, the
probably hope to gain a foothold in Tunisia
before Boutguiba dies, iii hopes of . improving .their:
position dutin.g the uneertain suceession period that
will probably follow.
35. Tun:i.sian . "bureaucratic inefficiency in coordi-
nating requests for visits has been a helpful
element in Moscow'-s effort to keep its program of port
f . .
visits However, we expect the Tunisian
government! to review Soviet requests for naval visits
more closely arid when they OccUr, to them .
. more .tightly .than in the past. Moreover, . recent
heightened tension with Ubya[ .
J is likely to affect
Tunisia's willingness to accept more frequent Soviet
naval visits. \
36. Beyond to expand their present limited
access to :Yugoslav repair facilities at Boka
encompasses Tivat-the Soviets are
reportedly maneuvering for naval access to other
suitable facilities, including:
-Pula, with its two graving docks, marine railways,
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building ways, etc.;
-Rijeka, with two large shipyards capable of major .
repairs.
There are also various naval yard facilities at Split; but .
the Yugoslavs are least likely to allow any Soviet
presence adjacent to their owri :mairi 11ava1
headquarters. Yugi>slav ports have the additional
attraction for the Soviets of potential overland
resupply, albeit easier to Pula and Rijeka than over the
treacherous Montenegran terrain to Boka Kotorska; on
the other hand, they are all located in the Adriatic,
which is susceptible to closure in crisis situations
(see Figure 2).
37. These excellent Yugoslav shipyards appear to be
the only viable Mediterranean shore access alternative
to Egypt for the Soviets in the near term. Moscow will
probably use whatever leverage-political, economic,
or military assistance-it has to try to secure the
greater access it seeks in Yugoslavia. There is some
reason to think that the Yugoslav government might
show a willingness to open an additional shipyard to
foreign, including Soviet, use urider. strict legal
provisions outlined in Section I above. The Yugoslavs
have alSo recently indicated to US officials that . they
have no jntention of allowing a greater Soviet naval
presenCe ashore, and have specifically invited US navy
use of Yugoslav shipyards.
38. For the although hopes of
increasing their use of Yugoslav ports may not be very
high, Moscow obviously intends to keep trying . to
increase itS access under the current law and, if
(>9SSibfe, Open new ports . to Soviet . i.Jse:.
39.[ . . .
final Yugoslav-Soviet over the
European Conference of Commumst Parties (ECPC),
Tito promised that he issue instructions to allow
greater Soviet use of Yugoslavia naval repair facilities,
although Yugoslavia restrictive laws would remain
unchanged. Whether the will follow
through on this carrot, now that the ECPC has come
and gone with the Soviet "concessions" desired by the
Yugoslavs, is problematical. Other .Soviet incentives
might include offers of assistance and economic credits
or increased Soviet work orders for Yugoslav shipyards.
Yugoslav present dependence on Soviet supplies of the
more sophisticated types of military equipment may
provide some leverage. In the longer term. Tito' s
departure could provide Moscow with increased
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opportunities.: While the eventuality of severe strains any deterioration of the Yugosla
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in Yugoslav cohesion would favor possible augmented Belgrade deal with the Soviets a:t ....... ,,. , .... ..,
Soviet this. might not pertain on the naval orderly transfer of power and .. ,.,,.
acceSs issue. 1The Croatian Republic contains most of policies of nonalignment "'buld . .: ... "'u"'"'
the attractive port real estate, and Croatians might be Moscow no better off in naval_ . ., . __ ... __ -... -.-
more rather less resistant to Soviet port access in present.
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* capital
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