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CIA Report on Possible Developments from Second Truce in 1948 War

(July 27, 1948)

This CIA report covers the second truce in the 1948 War, which began on July 18, and expressed doubt that a settlement could be achieved and concern about the Soviet Union creating instability by assisting both sides. The CIA expected to the issue to be referred back to the UN General Assembly or the International Court of Justice as it suggested in an earlier report. The report said the truce would only hold if the Israeli government controlled the Irgun and Stern Gang and the Arabs controlled their extremists.

The report notes that “the Arab people were confident of victory and were assured by their leaders that the truce would not be extended. Their bitterness may well erupt into violence against their governments or the Western powers or both.”

The Agency said the truce was unlikely to hold without the Security Council enforcing it. Otherwise, the report predicted the “Jews will increase their military potential…the state of Israel would be further consolidated, and the Arabs would be further weakened and isolated.”

The report also summarizes the military situation at the beginning of the second truce and the objectives of the Soviet Union. The CIA estimated the Arab forces had 46,800 fighters compared to 97,800 for Israel. The Agency was also alarmed by the supply of arms to both sides, but especially to Israel, from Communist countries, notably Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

Source: CIA.