463.11 W 891/20: Telegram

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

25. Your No. 23, May 5, 11 A.M. Department is gratified that Austrian Government is disposed to sign tripartite agreement in form submitted by Department with amendment to Article VI as already agreed upon. With respect to reservation of question of liability and of the division of responsibility between Austria and Hungary, which Austrian Government apparently intends to make in note to be delivered when agreement is signed, it may be stated that the Hungarian Government as well as the Austrian Government is concerned in the question of liability and the division of responsibility, and that the Commissioner would be competent under the terms of the proposed agreement to determine whether there was liability to indemnify in any given case and how the burden of indemnifying should be divided between Austria and Hungary. The United States would prefer that this question be not raised by the Austrian Government, and if it is raised in the note as proposed, the United States would be obliged to answer as indicated.

The Austrian Government apparently intends to make in its note a further reservation regarding the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Commissioner. The purpose of the tripartite agreement is, as indicated in the terms of the draft submitted by the Department, to provide means for determining the amounts to be paid by Austria and by Hungary to the United States or to its nationals. Austria and Hungary are committed in the treaties establishing friendly relations to make suitable provision for satisfaction of claims of American nationals and the American Government. The agreement with Germany made no provision for the adjudication of any claims [Page 150] against the United States and its nationals, and the discussions with Austria and Hungary have proceeded on the understanding that the agreement was to be along the lines of agreement between United States and Germany. The Department considers it preferable that there be no reservations made in the note to be delivered by Austrian Government when agreement is signed.