INRNIE files

No. 633
National Intelligence Estimate2


Probable Developments in Yugoslavia and the Likelihood of Attack upon Yugoslavia, Through 19523

the problem

To estimate probable developments in Yugoslavia and the likelihood of attack upon Yugoslavia, through 1952.


The present Communist regime in Yugoslavia will probably retain control over the country during the period of this estimate.4
Although the regime has officially refused to modify its goal of an industrialized and collectivized economy there will probably be slight and temporary readjustments within the period of this estimate.
It is unlikely that present dissatisfaction among the peasants and discontent within the middle and lower ranks of the Yugoslav Communist Party will reach the point of seriously weakening the regime.
The assassination or death of Tito would weaken the regime and would afford added opportunity for the USSR to exploit political confusion and discontent, but would be unlikely to break the regime’s hold over the country or to produce fundamental changes in its foreign or domestic policies.5
Although the Cominform will continue its efforts to overthrow the regime, these efforts will probably fail.
If the adjacent Satellites, with Soviet logistic support, should attack before 1953, they could at least drive the Yugoslav forces from the plain area generally north and east of the Danube. The Yugoslav forces probably could not maintain effective organized resistance even in the mountainous area for an extended period unless adequately supported logistically from the outside. Guerrilla warfare would almost certainly continue should organized resistance cease.
The evidence of growing cooperation between Yugoslavia and the Western Powers has probably convinced the USSR that an attack by the adjacent Satellites would involve not only serious risk of war between the US or UN and these Satellites, but also the danger that such a conflict would develop into a general war.
On the basis of the foregoing, we believe that an attack upon Yugoslavia in 1952 is unlikely.6
[Page 1266]

[Here follows the “Discussion” section, comprising paragraphs 9–33.]

  1. National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) were high-level interdepartmental reports presenting authoritative appraisals of vital foreign policy problems. NIEs were drafted by officers from those agencies represented on the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC), discussed and revised by interdepartmental working groups coordinated by the Office of National Estimates of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), approved by the IAC, and circulated under the aegis of the CIA to the President, appropriate officers of cabinet level, and the National Security Council. The Department of State provided all political and some economic sections of NIEs.
  2. According to a note on the cover sheet, “The intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff participated with the Central Intelligence Agency in the preparation of this estimate. All members of the Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred in this estimate on 29 December.”
  3. The Director of Intelligence, USAF, prefers the following wording:

    “Barring a Soviet-Satellite attack, the present Communist regime in Yugoslavia will probably retain control over the country during the period of this estimate.” [Footnote in the source text.]

  4. The Director Joint Intelligence Group, prefers the following:

    “4. The assassination or death of Tito would so weaken the regime that almost anything could happen. It is possible that his present assistants could promptly stabilize the situation without any fundamental change of policy. But it is equally possible that the CPY could be torn to pieces and emerge as a regime subservient to Russia.” [Footnote in the source text.]

  5. The Assistant Chief of Staff, G–2, Department of the Army dissents from this paragraph and would replace it by the following:

    “8. During 1951 the Satellites adjacent to Yugoslavia achieved the capability of attacking Yugoslavia provided they are given logistic support by the USSR. Despite this capability, we believe it unlikely that Yugoslavia will be attacked during 1952 unless the USSR is prepared to accept general war. However, there is a continuing possibility that unforeseen political events and/or miscalculation by the Soviets might precipitate hostilities in Yugoslavia, intended to be localized, but which could expand into general war. We conclude therefore, that there is a serious possibility of an attack on Yugoslavia during 1952.” [Footnote in the source text.]