740.00119 EAC/203: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

4844. For the Secretary and Mr. Dunn.46 This is in reply to your 4742, June 15, stating that a communication had been received from the British Embassy asking how far the United States was prepared to participate in the occupation and control of Austria. You also cite a telegram forwarded by the Combined Chiefs of Staff as of June 9th and the Department’s cable 3499 of May 1 (Eacom 18)47 in which the position of our Government was outlined in relation to the occupation of Austria at that time.

At an earlier stage in negotiations undertaken by the British with the Russians and later related to the work of the European Advisory Commission, the British, in presenting a plan of the occupation of Germany, set out a north-south line the area east of which was to be occupied by the Russians, the western area to be occupied by United States and British troops, the British placing themselves in the northern section of Germany on the west side of the line with the United States occupying the southern area, including Austria. The British also suggested the occupation of East Prussia by the Poles. This latter proposal was resented by the Russians and in their counterproposal they insisted on Russian occupation of East Prussia and asked for the tripartite occupation of Austria.

The President opposed the allocation of the northwest area to the British and the southwest area for occupation by United States troops. He insisted that the positions be reversed. Without compromise I have supported his wishes both within the Commission and outside. The British Delegation in the Commission realizing that the United States and British position was deadlocked on this issue and not wanting to further complicate their position with the Russians were quick to agree to the Russian occupation of East Prussia and a tripartite occupation of Austria. This disadvantaged us in the general negotiations and although we had not asked for Polish occupation of East Prussia I was not authorized to take a position in relation to the tripartite occupation of Austria. Therefore, the last day I was in Washington48 I took this matter up with the President and got his permission to agree to the tripartite control of Austria but with the understanding that I would in no way commit our Government as to [Page 437]the size of the contingent that we might be willing to contribute for this purpose. For example in working on drafts covering the subject of Austrian occupation I rejected the phrase “will be occupied by forces of the three countries” and have used a briefer and less concise [precise?] phrase “tripartite control”. I discussed this question with General Marshall49 when he was here explaining our limited position.

The important objective is to fix the line between the Russians and ourselves. This we have been able to do. I hope before the end of the coming week to be able to send you a paper in relation to occupation on which we will be able to obtain agreement within the Commission which would include the delineation of areas but leave open for later decision the question as to whether we or the British would move into the northwest or southwest areas of Germany.50 This latter question is under consideration by the President and the Prime Minister.51

Winant
  1. James C. Dunn, Director of the Office of European Affairs.
  2. Ante, p. 211.
  3. May 26.
  4. Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army.
  5. See telegram 4955, June 22, from London, p. 235.
  6. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.