The British Embassy to the Department of State


The attached paper entitled “The Future of Austria”9 has been considered by His Majesty’s Government who would be glad to receive any comments on it which the United States Government may wish to offer.

It may be observed that the paper contemplates two stages in the future development of Austria after the war: first, the re-creation of an independent Austrian state, and second, the subsequent association of Austria with some form of Central or South-Eastern European confederation. When Mr. Eden visited Moscow in 1941,10 M. Stalin told him that he thought “Austria should be restored as an independent state”. It has been noted, however, that, in the communication which M. Molotov addressed to His Majesty’s Ambassador at Moscow on the 7th June last, he indicated that the Soviet Government were unwilling to pledge themselves in regard to the creation of a federation embracing Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria and Hungary; and that they disapproved of the inclusion of the last two countries. It may be hoped that this disapproval would not extend to the inclusion of an independent Austria and possibly a reformed Hungary in some confederation of the kind adumbrated in paragraphs 30–34 of the Foreign Office paper, on condition, of course, that any such confederation was in no way hostile to the Union of [Page 516] Soviet Socialist Republics. The difficulty of striking the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of the inclusion of Austria in such a confederation is fully realized. On the other hand, a free and independent Austrian state will inevitably be weak and therefore a potential danger spot, and with a view to strengthening her international position it is considered essential that the way should be left open for her inclusion, if circumstances permit, in whatever form of international or regional structure may develop in Central and South-Eastern Europe. Indeed His Majesty’s Government see an advantage, if it is at all practicable, in bringing about such an inclusion as soon as possible after the war has ended, before there has been time for opinion to harden on other lines.

As the tide of war turns increasingly in favour of the United Nations, the possibility of causing embarrassment to Germany by encouraging resistance and sabotage in Austria improves. Anti-German feeling appears to be growing and there is some evidence that active resistance to the German regime is on the increase. On the other hand opinion in Austria seems to be aimless and in need of reassurance regarding the aims of the Allies for the future of the country. With this in mind and in the hope that the United States and Soviet Governments will be prepared to agree in principle to the re-creation of an independent Austrian state after the war, His Majesty’s Government have prepared as a basis for discussion the draft of a declaration to be issued jointly as soon as possible by His Majesty’s Government, the United States Government and the Soviet Government, making clear their desire to see re-established a free and independent Austria. A copy of this draft is attached and His Majesty’s Government would be glad to receive as soon as convenient the United States Government’s views upon it.

His Majesty’s Government are also consulting the Soviet Government on this subject.


Revised Draft Declaration

Austria was the first free country to fall a victim to Nazi aggression. In 1938 the Austrians were deprived by the Nazis of the rights of self-government11 set forth in the Atlantic Charter,12 and reaffirmed by the United Nations.13

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The Governments of the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America are determined to liberate the Austrian people from German domination. Having taken counsel together in the spirit of the Atlantic Charter, they hereby declare that they regard the union imposed upon Austria by Germany on the 15th of March 1938 as null and void. They regard themselves as in no way bound by any changes effected in Austria since that date. They declare that they wish to see re-established a free and independent Austria, which shall enjoy, in association with those neighbouring States which will be faced with similar problems, that political and economic security which is the only basis for lasting peace.

The Austrian people must, however, remember that they have a responsibility which they cannot evade, and that in the final settlement account will inevitably be taken of the part they play in assisting to expel the German invader.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For correspondence concerning the visit of Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in Moscow for discussions, December 16–22, 1941, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, pp. 192205.
  3. For correspondence on the annexation of Austria by Germany, see Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. i, pp. 384 ff.
  4. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, ibid., 1941, vol. i, p. 367.
  5. Declaration by the United Nations, signed January 1, 1942, ibid., 1942, vol. i, p. 25.