BEGINNING OF THE OPERATION OF THE INTELLIGENCE DIVISION May the 6th 1920


Immediately before the transition to the peacetime period, when the rest of the Staff of the Superior Command was supposed to become the Main General Staff of the Army of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a legal act was issued on April 10, 1920 providing the basic rules on the Main General Staff and general staff vocation (Official military gazette No. 24/1920).  

The Main General Staff consisted of the four divisions:

  • Operational,
  • Intelligence,
  • Transport
  • Historical and Geographical Institut.

Intelligence division performed the following tasks:


  • elaboration of the foreign countries and armies studies and collection of the related data;
  • maintaining of the relations with foreign military attaches and missions
  • organization of work on supression of the enemy operations related to collection of data about our army and country (Article 7 of the Act).
Intelligence division of the Main General Staff of the Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was developed functionally and structurally and it always had two main functions: military intelligence and counterintelligence. In addition to that, it pointed out the necessity to intensify psychological propaganda. The number of units and sections was increased so that in 1940 it was transformed into the Second direction of the Main General Staff with two intelligence divisions and several intelligence centers. Its work was predominately successful and it informed the military and state leadership, in an objective manner, about numerous activities of internal and foreign ennemies.
Before the WWII the Intelligence division was divided in the First and the Second section out of which one was responsible for intelligence and the other for counterintelligence activities.
The Head of the Intelligence section of the Operational division of the Main General Staff , and later on of the Supreme Command in 1913 was Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic Apis. During the so-called 1917 Thessaloniki process, he was succeeded by Colonel Danilo Kalafatovic who later became army general.

Military attaches of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

 

After the WWI, the army of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had its own delegates of the Supreme Command within the allied supreme commands. They were rather the forerunners of the defense attaches (high-ranking officers, usually colonels, responsible for General Staff work).
After the transition from wartime to peacetime period (April 10, 1920), at the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes embassies, military attaches were installed abroad and they represented organ of the Army and Navy Ministry.
From 1922 onwards military attaches were subordinated to the Intelligence division of the General Staff, that is to say to the Chief of the Main General Staff whereas they remained disciplinary subordinated to the Minister of the Army and Navy.
From 1929 onwards, military attaches were fully subordinated to the Intelligence division of the General Staff.

 

The main principles of the Yugoslav intelligence service were:

  • build-up of the intelligence service: offensive and defensive. (Since 1937, they were actually divided although they remained present at the top of the intelligence division of the General Staff)
  • persistence and patience,
  • secrecy, as one of the most important prerequisite for work,
  • lasting relations and incessant informing, connection among all organs encompassed by cooperation, particularly between the police and defensive intelligence service,
  • direct informing,
  • permanent staff and
  • economy and adequate distribution of credits.

TASKS

Offensive intelligence service was tasked with collecting military and political data in neighboring countries, keeping record of military force and war potentials in general, reading their print media, publications etc, and launching propaganda activity for Yugoslavia in foreign countries by using print media, brochures etc.
Offensive intelligence service was divided into:

  • further informing –operative data on neighboring countries, and
  • close informing – in the border area.
Defense intelligence service was tasked with monitoring and informing about all events and circumstances in the country, of the particular interest to the army, prevention of foreign agents operations and operations of destructive and anti-state elements in the army. Defensive intelligence service relied upon military аnd police organs.

Organization

The Main General Staff of the Yugoslav army underwent different stages of development and organizational form as well as an intelligence organ itself and the organization of the intelligence service in the army.
 

Intelligence division was within the Main General Staff as the supreme intelligence forum. It was called Division, Bureau, Section or Directorate, at different stages of its development.
In 1939, reorganization was carried out after which the three directorates were established, out of which the first encompassed Operative and Intelligence division.
The intelligence division preserved its four sections (for foreign armies, domestic affairs, foreign print media surveillance and section for encryption, photography and chemistry), and section for relations with foreign military attaches.
According to the last regulation from March 1, 1940, the Second directorate was extracted as intelligence directorate, and it had two divisions as follows
:


Intelligence directorate:

  • I division (for offensive intelligence service), was divided into sections – depending on countries in which the intelligence activities were performed.
  • II division (for defensive intelligence service)
  • Section for internal service
  • Section for encryption, register and cryptography
  • Section for photography and chemistry and
  • «М» - Section (or TS) – section for secret service.
Extensive correspondence of the Second division indicates that this division forwarded reports and information to: Presidency of the Government, Ministry of Foreign and Internal Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Navy, General Staff, First intelligence division, Fortification Command and all the other army commands. The intelligence division had its confidents in country and abroad. They were under direct command. In addition to that, certain intelligence missions were carried out by some intelligence officer. They wore civil clothes while performing such missions and they travelled to many foreign countries.

Special service

 

Out of four sections within the Second division, the most important one was section for secret service, also called the "M" section or the "TC" section. It was formed in 1937 as an executive organ of the intelligence division, in charge of secret field service – espionage and counterespionage. (One should bear in mind that all the officers in the Intelligence division neither had insight into the work of the aforementioned section, nor they could access to it.It was not like the other sections, because it had an official character and was not envisaged by «Instructions for intelligence service».)
Head of the section for secret service was also in charge of field organs, intelligence centers and his own agents. He should have great ethical qualities and extraordinary character, and he should always be helped in case of need.
The «М» section differed from the Second division as a whole by its tasks, although it was the fourth section within that division. It was in charge of management and coordination of intelligence centers operation. It had the following tasks, field military offensive service in foreign countries and counterespionage in the country. Counterespionage was performed primarily by monitoring important persons from political and public life, as well as some military officials, the agents of «М» Section. «М» Section monitored the work and movments of foreign military attaches, particularly those who were coming from enemy countries.

 

Registry

The intelligence division registry was divided in general and particular. General registry contained files that enabled easy access to a person filed in the registry and prevention of duplication of work. Particular registry was divided by countries and the following groups: political figures, suspicious persons, officers, military defectors, visas, smugglers, offenders etc. Yugoslav citizens' files contained the following groups: suspicious in terms of espionage, military defectors, emigrants, supporters of Radic, communists, supporters of Pavelic and Macedonian nationalists. There were about 100,000 files in the registry. 

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