POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF COMMINIST CONTROL OF GREECE IN THE ABSENCE OF US COUNT

Created: 2/9/1948

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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF COMMUNIST CONTROL OF GREECE IN THE ABSENCE OF US COUNTERACTION

ORE 69

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Central Intelligence

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF COMMUNIST CONTROL OF GREECE IN THE ABSENCE OF US COUNTERACTION

SUMMARY

Assumption; that the "Markos Government" has gained effective control of alt Greece, including Crete and the Aegean and Ionian Islands.

The problem: to estimate the consequences of the assumed development In thc absence of specific US counteraction.

A direct consequence of the assumption would be that the USSR would gain access to advance bases for: (a) military domination of the Straits; (b) envelopment of Turkey; and (c) Interdiction of waterbornc traffic in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Far more disastrous than the loss of Greece itself would be the psychological and political repercussions of that event. These repercussions. If unchecked by US counteraction, could result in international panic.

There would be an immediate clamor for US economic assistance and military guaranteescale far exceeding what would have been required to prevent the fall of Greece and involving greater risk of collision with thc USSR.

Iran and the Kurdish area of Iraq would probably fall under Soviet domination, giving the USSR effective control of the Iranian and Iraqi oil fields. Turkey and the Arab States would continue to resist Soviet domination, but would be in grave jeopardy.

Italy would probably go Communistew months. In France, however, DeGaulle would come to power. Great Britain would seek urgently to check theof the fall of Greece and lo this end would press for US commitment to aprogram of combined strategic counteraction. Spain would seek to escape from political isolation into military alliance with the US

From the economic point of view, the most serious consequence of the fall of Greece would be thc possible loss of the petroleum resources of the Middleof proven world reserves) through political repercussions in that area. Another serious possibility would be that of Communist "capture" of the Greek and Italianfleets. Otherwise the USSR would gain no great benefit, nor would the US and Western Europe suffer any great loss from Soviet control of Greece, Italy, or Iran.

The European Recovery Program would be little affected by the loss of Greece, per se, but it would suffer severe adverse effects from thc psychological and political repercussions or that event.

Note: The information In Ihls report is as otanuary 1MB. al which time lhe report was Eub-mittcd to the member agencies ol the Interdepartmental Advisory Council tor eoordinaUon. The intelligence Division. Department of the Army, and the Air Intelligence Division.of intelligence Department of thc Air Force, have concurred in the military aspects of this paper but have not commented on the political aspects. Thc statement of theOrganization of the Department ol State disassociating itself from the paper Is set form in Enclosurehe dissent of the Office of Naval Intelligence. Navy DcoartmenL is set forth In Enclosure

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POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF COMMUNIST CONTROL OF GREECE IN THE ABSENCE OF US COUNTERACTION

ASSUMPTIONS

Control or Grelcx.

For lhe purposes ol this estimate it is assumed that the "Provisional Democratic Government ol Free Oreece" (the "Markosas gnined effective control of all Greece. Including Crete and the Aegean and Ionian Islands.

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A further assumption is necessary in order to estimate the consequences ofcontrol of Greece. Foreign developments are in large measure determined by the actions and supposed intentions of the US. No valid estimate of prospectivecan be made without authoritative information or assumptions regarding pertinent US intentions and capabilities. In the instant case, the fact that the US had permitted Communist seizure of Greece would be taken generally to indicate the absence of any effective US intention to prevent further Soviet aggression, and Hits supposition would have more far-reaching consequences than would the fall of Greece perrompt and vigorous US reaction, however, would tend to check these reper-cussiuns Thus the consequences of Communist control of Greece would dependon tlic US reaction thereto. Inasmuch as we cannot prejudge the US reaction, our estimate of other reactions must be based on the only assumption open to us: that existing US plans and policieshe European Recovery Program) continue to be carried out as presently Indicated, but that no new commitments are made. Our estimate of the consequences of Communist control of Greece Is then our appreciation of what would probably happen in the absence of specific US counteraction.

DIRECT CONSEQUENCES

By the very fact of Communist control of Greece thc USSR would complete its controi of the Balkan Peninsula (except for Turkish Thrace) and would thereby gain certain local advantages, such as:

a. Further consolidation of lhe Soviet position in Bulgaria. Yugoslavia, and Albania by the diminutionhc subversive exampleelatively Independent and democratic neighboring state,ong land frontier across which there might have been substantial infiltration of subversive ideas and agents into the Balkan Satellite States

ti. Eliminationotential beachhead which, in time ol war, might have servedase for operations In defense of thc Straits and for the liberation of the

c. Acquisition of potential advance bases in Greece. 4. Soviet Capabilities fhom Greek Bases.

From air and naval bases in Greek territory the USSR, al slight cost in terms of additional occupation and defense commitment, could (a) dominate lhe straits and the Aegean approach thereto, fb) extend, on the west, lhe existing double envelopment Of Turkey; and (c> Interdict wateihoiiie traffic in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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The airfields presently existing In Greek territory, allhough generally unsuitable for use by US Air Force standards, could probably be made ready to accommodate lighter Soviet aircraft with relatively slight engineering effort From Greek bases Soviet bombers with fighter escort could reach Tripoli, Cairo, or Haifa.

Soviet naval action from Greek bases would be limited primarily to the use of submarines.

By air and submarine operations from Greek bases the USSR could endanger shipping throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and effectively close to traffic the passage between Crete and Cirenaica.

Efttct.

Far more important than any advantage to be gained by the possession of Greece Itself would be the profound psychological shock which would be felt around the world. The fall of Greece would constitute the first actual extension of Sovietcontrol since the Soviet armies halted al the conclusion of World War II. The Soviet acquisition of control over Eastern Europe could be accepted as an inevitable but incidental consequence of operations directed toward the deieat of Germany and as possible only in thc special circumstances of that lime. Thc subversion of Greece three years later would be an ominous portent that the USSR was capable of successful aggression in present circumstances and that further Soviet advances were lo be expected. That the subversion of Greece could be accomplished in defiance of the "Truman Doctrine" would convince all concerned, both Communist andthat assurances of US support afforded no effective guarantee against Soviet aggression and that all who ventured to resist the inexorable advance of the USSR did so at their dire peril.

political repercussions

The fall of Greece would cause every Government, Including that of the USSR, to revise its estimate of the situation. The USSR would be emboldened to press its evident advantage and to allow the antl-Communlst world no opportunity to rally. Every non-Communist government would re-examine its policy lo determine whether It conformed to the true national interest in the altered circumstances. In addition, popular reactions would affect domestic political alignments and the stability of various governments. Initial reactions toreece would be compounded by reactions to developments in other countries, with strong possibilities for International panic The consequent instability of the world situation would be out of all proportion to the intrinsic importance of Greece.

Soviet control of Greece would most directly threaten Turkey; Communistto power in Greece would leadenewal of Soviet demands regarding the Straits and northeastern Turkey. Turkish resistance to these demands wouldbe as resolute as in the past. At the same lime Turkey would demand of the US greatly increased economic assistance and military guarantees. As Soviet pressure continued the Turks might yield minor concessions (eg. air rights) not directly affect-

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lng Turkish territorial integrity, in order to gain time and impress on the United States the danger that Turkey might fall into the Soviet orbit. Eventually. Increasingand economic disruption would undermine Turkey's ability to resist the USSR, however strong thc will to do so.

Iran would Immediately demand or the US increased economic assistance and military guarantees. Lacking these, Iranian will and ability to resist the USSR would dissolve. Under the external pressure of the USSR and the internal pressure of leftist elements and regional Interests, the Iranian Government would be compelled to curtail US influence, admit leftists to positions in the administration, and grant economic concessions lo thc USSRhc desired oilhese developments would stimulate existing disruptive tendencies ln Iran and lead lo Increasing assertion of provincial and tribal autonomy. Thc process thus begun would result In theof Iran and Soviet domination of the country, Including eventual Soviet control of the oil fields of southwestern Iran.

Kurds.

Kurdish autonomy in northwestern Iran would stimulate nationalistic aspirations among the Kurds in neighboring areas of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This development, encouraged by the USSR, could, in thc circumstances, leadoviet capability at least to prevent effective operation of the Kirkuk oil field in northern Iraq. 10 Tru Arab States.

Fearing the USSR and lacking confidence in thc power of Great Britain to protect them, the Arab Governments would call on thc United Stales for economic assistance and military guarantees. If this call went unanswered, US Influence In thc Arab world, already severely damaged by US support of Zionism, would be destroyed by loss of confidence in US capabilities and Intentions. The Arabs would not turn lo the USSR as an alternative to the US. Lacking any reliable outside support, they would turn inward,onsequent intensification of nationalism, Pan-Arablsm, and xenophobia. All restraint on the Arab reaction to lhe situation in Palestine wouldull-scale holy war to expel European Jewish intruders from that country could readily develop. Attacks on US nationals and property would Increase: although oilin Saudi Arabia might be relatively secure for the time being, the operation of pipe lines lo lhe Mediterranean would become impossible.

Although the Initial Arab reaction, indicated above, would be unifying in effect, thc isolation of thc Arab States would in the long term favor the recrudescence of latent disruptive forces such as ethnic separatismf the Kurds. Assyrians,ynastic rivalries (as between the Hashimites and Ibnnd ancient tribal feuds The USSR would bexciting and exploiting these disruptive tendencies, and in stirring up mass discontent with the existing economic and political order in the Arab States Eventually Arab Governments might find themselveshoice between coming to terms with thc USSR or being overthrown and replaced by govern menu subservient lo the Soviet Union This situation could arise most readily in Iraq.anon. and Egypt Saudi Arabia will prove relatively stable during the

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lifetime of Ibn Saud, but on his death will tend to break up, with consequent Jeopardy to US oil interests there in the circumstances envisaged.

Continued reliance on US support would be the only course open to the De Gas peri Government. It would clamor for greatly increased economic aid and for military guarantees. The disillusionment of the Italian people would be such, however, that, without convincing evidenceew US determination to defend Italy oncale as to guarantee that country againstattleground, De Gasperi's popular support would tend to disintegrate. The Communists, as thc only practical alternative to De Gasperi in the circumstances, would correspondingly gain strength.ree election were lo be held, this popular reaction would probably carry theto power by political processes. If not, the demoralization of their opponents would probably permit the Communists to seize power by force. One way or the other, the fall of Greece to international Communism would probably be followedew months by the fall of Italy.

Thc Schuman Government would fall almost at once, but In France the immediate alternative to Schuman would be. not Communism, but De Gaulle. If Dc Gaulle failed to bring order, military strength, and economic recovery, the only remaining alternative would be Communism. On this basis De Gaulle would demand not only greatly increased economic support, but also US aid In French rearmamentirm military alliance.

United Kingdom.

Official and popular opinion in Great Britain would be proloundly shocked by thc loss of Greece and the consequent danger to traditional British interests in thc Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The prestige of the US. the Labor Government, and the Foreign Minister alike would suffer. There would, however, be no reversal of present British policy. Rather the British reaction would consist Of urgent efforts lo control the damage, both directly and by pressing the us for more effectiveof the "Trumanhese eflorts would include an endeavor tocombined strategic planning, as during the war. and to commit Lhe USefinite program of combined strategic counteraction

On its own account the UK would suspend redeployment and demobilization,the Eastern Mediterranean, intensify its efforts to reach satisfactory military agreements with the Arab Stales and press more vigorously for the formationestern Bloc in Europe.

At the same time the UK would urge upon the United States thetrategic position along the southern littoral of the Easterneconsideration of the Palestine problem, and the provision of requisite economic, moral, and military support for the threatened countries of Europe and the Near and Middle East.

In consequence of the UK's already acute dollar crisis, the impaired prospects of the European Recovery Program, and the emergency measures envisaged, the UK itself would require additional US financial and economic assistance.

Soviet propaganda would make extraordinary efforts to convince the Germans that US interest in Germany was ephemeral and that the future of the country lay in collaboration with the USSR. It is unlikely, however, that this propaganda would have serious effect so long as the US stood Arm in Germany. Many Germans might well be confirmed in the supposition that now surely the US must make heavy contributions toward restoring, perhaps even rearming, western Germany in anticipation of war. Western German political leaders would actively seek to exploit the situation to obtain that result,

in Western Europe.

Peoples and governments would be highly alarmed, but generally disposed to await further developments. Belgium and the Netherlands might take the occasion to seek of the US greater economic assistance and military guarantees. On the other hand, the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland would be all the more wary of becoming committedestern Bloc. Austria might be Influenced to seek an accommodation with the USSR. Franco would endeavor to exploit the situation to get Spain out of political Isolation into military alliance with Uie US, hoping also to obtain important US economic assistance.

ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES

East On..

From the economic point of view, the most serious consequence of the fall of Greece would be the possible loss of thc petroleum resources of the Middleercent of proven world reserves) tlirough political repercussions in Iran and thc Arab stales (see. The USSR would derive little immediate benefit from control of thc oil fields of Iran and Iraq (comprisingercent of proven worldnasmuch as means of delivery of oil therefrom to the Soviet Union would be lacking in the circumstances envisaged. Denial of this oU lo the Western Powers, however, would have drastic effect on both their strategic capabilities in the region and the economy of Western Europe. With the construction and operationipe linn to the Mediterranean impossible, the compensatory effectiveness or increased production in Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, and Kuwait would be limited by the availability of tankers for shipments via the Persian Gulf. The deficiency in the provision of oil supplies to Western Europe would have to be made up principally by shipments from the Caribbean, also limited by the availability of tanker tonnage. This increased drain on the oil reserves of thc Western Hemisphere, if long continued, could make the US liquid-fuel position precarious in the event of war. Eventual loss of the petroleum resources of Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, and Kuwail would put in question the adequacy of the resources remaining available to the Western Powers to meet their future needs even in time of peace.

Commodities.

With respect to other commodities the USSR would gain no great benefit, nor would the US and Western Europe suffer any great loss, from Soviet control of Greece Italy, or Iran. None of the foodstuffs or metallic ores CX|>orlrd from Ihose countries is

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of strategic significance to the US ot Western Europe. In fact, Oreece and Italy ate liabilities in terms of food supply, fertilizers, and chemicals: the elimination of those countries from consideration would permit increased supply to others.

Capacity.

Italy Is thc only country considered likely to fall under Communist control which has any significant industrial capacity, Utilization of Italian industry requires heavy provision of oil. coal, and Important raw materials, which the USSR, however, could make available. Selective employment of this capacily. particularly of the mechanical skills and plant facilities of the machinery industry of northern Italy, would be very advantageous to thc USSR. The Balkan Satellite States, moreover, are dependent on supplies of Italian manufactured goods. The US and Western Europe are not

Shiiting.

The Greek and Italian merchant fleets nre each comparable in tonnage to that of the USSR. Communist "capture" of these fleets intact would be of great advantage to thc USSR Soviet economic development Is presently handicapped by lack of shipping, especially In thc Black Sea.

European Recovthv Program.

Thc Program would be little affected by the loss of Greece, per se, but would suffer severe adverse effects from lhe psychological and political repercussions of that event, with particular reference to (a) the resulting loss of essential confidence, (b) the tendency of the Western European community to disintegrate, and (c) thc possible loss of essential oil supplies.

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ENCI.OSURE "A" STATEMENT OF THE 1NTEIXIGENCE ORGANIZATION DEPARTMENT OF STATE

In the opinion of the Research and Intelligence Organization of the Department of State the assumption that tbe United Stales would take no specific counteraction in the event thai lhe "Markos Government" gained control of Greece furnishes, ifno feasible bastsound analysis of the consequences of such control. The Intelligence Organization is therefore compelled to forego comment in detail onnd to disassociate Itself from the paper.

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ENCLOSURE "B"

DISSENT OF THE OFFICE OF NAVAI. INTELLIGENCE. NAVY DEPARTMENT

The Office ot Naval Intelligence does not concur In this paper lor the following reasons;

does not consider It feasible to compound the lack of realism of(see p.ar.etailed forecast of events to happen over aof the earth. ONI believes that the consequences of the fall of Greececannot be detailed accurately beyond the following statement:

"If the Communists took over Greece, it would be cited as an example of Uie futility of US policy to check thc advance of Communism and would have ai profound influence on the poliUcal orientation of other countries in Europe and the Near East Greece is the keystone, inoliticalilitary sense, in the whole anti-Communist circle "

conclusions are not examined with reference to time giving thethat these events are inevitable and will occur forthwith.

4. It is doubled that the psychological and politicalbe so disastrous as to bring on internaUonal panic.

6. Iran and Kurdish area of Iraq could possibly fall underbut not necessarilyesult of Communist control in Greece.

Turkey has always been realistic; she could under these circumstances orient toward USSR.

c. Par. 7. ONI is not prepared to say without qualification that Italy would go Communistew months, or thai DcGaulle would come to power immediately.

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DISTRIBUTION

Tne President Secretary Of State

CruelSUA b> ComaiaiKler in Chief Secretary of Defense See re lory of the Ami Secretary of th* Navy Secretary o? Ihc Air

Eneeumt Secretary.mny Council Chairman. National Security Rescuicoi Board Chief of Stan. USf Na<al Operation! Chief of Staff. US Air Force

Dirrctoi of Plans and Operations, General Buff. US Army Dcpu'y Chief Of Navalperational Dirvior ol Plain and Operation* US Air Force

Special Aui.ta n'. lo the Secretary of State. Itriearcli and Intelligence

Director of lute)licence. Oeiieral Staff. US Army

Chief of Naral Intelligence

Dlreetor ot InieUicertee. US Air Force

Secretary. Joint Chief* of Bud!

Secretary. Joint Intelligence Oroup

Seerrlary.rmy-Na*y- Air Forte Coordinating committee

ecretary. MilitaryCocr.mllUehe AtomicCcmni.uior Dlraiioi of Security and Intelligence. Atomic BiietKy Commission Cruel. Acquisition and DUJlribuUon. OICD. DrnarLncrit of BUM

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