463.11 W 891/15: Telegram

The Minister in Austria (Washburn) to the Secretary of State

17. Department’s telegram 15, March 28, 5 p.m.21 As a result of two extended Foreign Office conferences during the last fortnight and note received today, I can definitely state that Austrian Government accepts submitted draft of the proposed claims convention in principle and agrees to request the President of the United States to select a single commissioner. Austrian Government makes the following suggestions:

The question against which party or nationals a special claim should be properly made is in each instance a legal question which the agreement to a tripartite convention should not be construed as prejudicing. A future official communication will be made to me upon this point.
Proposed claims convention modified the question for mixed arbitral tribunal provided for in the treaty between the United States and Austria August 24, 1921, and article 256 of the Treaty St. Germain, which treaties have force of law here. Austrian Government is without sufficient power to make new convention operative by simple decree but must secure ratification by Parliament and Federal President. German Constitution gives more latitude in this respect. Suggestion is therefore made that article 6 of proposed draft should be amended to read as follows: “The present convention shall be ratified in accordance with the constitutional forms of the high contracting parties and shall take effect immediately on the exchange of ratifications which shall take place as soon as possible at (blank).”
Proposed convention does not invest single commissioner with all the jurisdiction conferred upon mixed arbitral tribunal by section 6 of part 10 of St. Germain Treaty (see especially article 256, subsection b). Government desires to avoid expense of two tribunals operating possibly on diverging legal principles, and therefore suggests investing single commissioner with absolute and exclusive competency to exercise all jurisdiction contemplated by the peace treaty.

I am asked to ascertain whether these suggestions are acceptable. I infer that understanding here is that Hungarian Government has not subscribed to any specific text. Certainly the two Governments are in an advantageous position and since tripartite agreement is proposed, Austrian Foreign Office is preparing to hand to the resident Hungarian Minister a memorandum embodying substance of its views as above outlined.

  1. Not printed.