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April 4, 1962

Letter, Eng. Predrag Anastasijević to Comrade Secretary of the SKNE, 'Meeting with Comrade Djura Ničić, April 2, 1962'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)



To Comrade Secretary of the SKNE [Savezna komisija za nuklearnu energiju – Federal Nuclear Energy Commission][1]


Topic: Meeting with Comrade Djura Ničić, April 2, 1962


The meeting was attended by the representatives of the DSIP [Državni sekretarijat za inostrane poslove – State Secretarijat for Foreign Affairs], ABH [Atomsko-biološko-hemijska odbrana – Atomic, Biological, and Chemical Defense][2], Institute of International Politics[3] and the Commission [SKNE]. 

DSIP suggests the establishment of permanent cooperation and coordination between the above-mentioned institutions in order to provide its [DSIP] representatives with more elaborate arguments for participation in international negotiations in the United Nations, disarmament conferences, and other forums and initiatives that are discussing problems of detection of nuclear explosions, control of nuclear fuel production, enhanced levels of radiation and discovery of new nuclear and thermonuclear reactions that lead to [development] of new types of weapons.[4] 

Representatives of the DSIP emphasized that they do not have experts who could follow the complex problems in the materials on which discussions at disarmament conferences are based, and in that respect, direct contact with the Commission [SKNE] and nuclear institutes should be established, for expert analysis of these materials. Similarly, they would need expert analyses of the existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, production capacities for [nuclear] raw materials, analyses of economic aspects of [nuclear] weapons, expert estimates related to methods of detection of nuclear explosions, as well as the problems related to chemical and bacteriological weapons. 

Representatives of the DSIP asked to regularly receive internal studies of the above-mentioned institutions that could be useful, as well as to allow the use of libraries and expert documentation related to these problems. 

During the discussion, I raised the following questions: In case our Government intends to get more involved in [nuclear] disarmament activities, and considering the fact that it [Yugoslavia] is, besides India, the most developed nonaligned nation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy, perhaps it would be opportune to include several experts from our [SKNE] institutes who would be updated with the problems discussed in international forums in order to be in a position to provide expert analyses and opinions to our delegations about discussed matters. Similarly, and in relation to the first question about the level of Yugoslav engagement [in discussions], perhaps the inclusion of experts outside the DSIP in negotiations about [nuclear] disarmament should be considered, in the United Nations and other places where problems of [nuclear] disarmament, control of nuclear explosive production and detection of [nuclear] explosions are discussed. 

It was concluded that the DSIP would deliver to the above-mentioned institutions all the materials it has and that they would, in return, deliver studies that the DSIP would be interested to know of. 

In relation to the above-mentioned meeting, I suggest the following:

1. Commission [SKNE] should select a person with a task to receive and analyze materials delivered by the DSIP. 

2. In case the Commission [SKNE] estimates that it should be more deeply involved in this process, it should select persons in its institutes that could, besides the regular work, regularly follow and study the development of scientific achievements in the field of the production of [nuclear] raw materials, pure nuclear fuels, global capacities for their production, as well as control of production and methods of detection of nuclear explosions. 


Eng. Predrag Anastasijević


April 4, 1962


[1] The SKNE was the Yugoslav nuclear commission with a full authority of a ministry of the Yugoslav Federal Government (Savezno izvršno veće – SIV), except in name. It was headed by Aleksandar Ranković, then the Vice-President of SIV, the second most powerful politician in the country and the person in control of the Yugoslav secret police, UDB (Uprava državne bezbednosti – State Security Department). 

[2] ABHO was the full acronym of the Department within the Yugoslav People’s Army [Jugoslovenska narodna armija – JNA). It was a common practice of using simple acronyms in official documents, ABHO or ABH, like in this case 

[3] The full name is Institut za međunarodnu politiku i privredu (Institute of International Politics and Economics)

[4] In fact, Yugoslavia already had adequate equipment for measuring atmospheric radiation since the late 1950s, capable of detecting nuclear explosions from analysis of the atmospheric fallout. This is an additional confirmation that communication between the DSIP and SKNE previously did not exist. More in Marko Miljković, “Nuclear Yutopia: The Outcome of the First Nuclear Accident in Yugoslavia, 1958”, in: Labor History in State Socialist Europe after 1945: Contributions to a History of Work, ed. Marsha Siefert (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2020), 290-291.

Throughout the 1950s, Yugoslav nuclear policy was designed by President Tito and a small circle of his closest associates. Very few official documents from that time remain or indeed ever existed. Things began to change after the establishment of the UN Eighteen Nations Disarmament Committee (ENDC) in December 1961, followed by the committee’s first meeting in March 1962, which marked the beginning of global negotiations that eventually led to the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963. This initiative forced the Yugoslav political leadership to approach the problem more systematically. 

The short document presented here comes from the first meeting during which the Yugoslav nuclear policy started to be officially formulated. The meeting was organized by the Yugoslav State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs [Državni sekretarijat za inostrane poslove — DSIP] and included representatives of the Yugoslav People’s Army [Jugoslovenska narodna armija — JNA], the Institute for International Politics [Institut za međunarodnu politiku] and the Federal Nuclear Energy Commission [Savezna komisija za nuklearnu energiju — SKNE]. The main goal was to initiate the coordination of activities and permanent consultations between these institutions in order to provide expert support to the DSIP and better comprehension of the ongoing negotiations in the ENDC.


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Arhiv Jugoslavije (AJ), f. 11, 177. Contributed and translated by Marko Miljković.

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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY) and University of Southampton