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CIA Report on the Consequences of Partition

(November 28, 1947)

This CIA report assesses the situation in Palestine following the UN vote in favor of partition. It says the Arab states are prepared to fight any attempt to create a Jewish state while the Jews are equally determined to establish one. The CIA wrongly predicted the Arab governments would not declare war but would allow their people to join the battle. The Agency anticipated a force of 100,000 to 200,000 Arab fighters. The Zionists were expected to have 200,000 fighters. The CIA believed the Zionists would achieve initial success because of superior equipment and organization; however, the economy would break down as a war of attrition continued and without substantial aid in manpower and materiel, they could hold out no longer than two years.

The report adds that the U.S. lost prestige in the region by supporting partition. The Agency warns U.S. commercial and strategic interests are at risk. Without American aid, it cautions the Arab states will be impoverished and become more susceptible to Soviet influence. The Agency claims that Soviet agents are in the region, some of whom were “smuggled into Palestine as Jewish DPs. This was another staple of Arabist thinking at the time, the belief that many Zionists were Communists and that a Jewish state would be aligned with the Soviet Union, which voted for partition.

Source: CIA.