The purpose of this paper is to investigate the elastic buckling of FGM truncated thin conical shells under combined axial tension and hydrostatic pressure. Here axial tensions are separately applied to small and large bases of the truncated conical shell, respectively. It is assumed that the cone is a mixture of metal and ceramic, and that its properties changes as the power and exponential functions of the shell thickness. After giving the fundamental relations, the stability and compatibility equations of an FGM truncated conical shell, subject to combined axial tension and hydrostatic pressure, have been derived. Applying Galerkin's method general formulas have been obtained for the critical combined and separate loads of FGM conical shells. The appropriate formulas for homogenous and FGM cylindrical shells are found as a special case. Effects of changing shell characteristics, material composition and volume fraction of constituent materials on the critical combined and separate loads of FGM shells with simply supported edges are also investigated. The results obtained for homogeneous cases are compared with their counterparts in the literature. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.