740.00119 EAC/8–2344

Memorandum by the United Kingdom Representative to the European Advisory Commission (Strang)71

E.A.C. (44) 24

Control Machinery for Austria

I circulate, for consideration by the European Advisory Commission, the annexed memorandum containing proposals for Control Machinery for Austria.

W[illiam] S[trang]

Memorandum by the United Kingdom Delegation to the European Advisory Commission

Control Machinery for Austria


1. The present memorandum deals with the machinery of control which will be required in Austria, and on the relation between such machinery and that already proposed for Germany (E.A.C. (44) 3, 14 and 17).73

2. The three Powers have declared that they wish to see re-established a free and independent Austria. It is therefore desirable that the measures taken for the occupation and control of Austria should be dissociated at the earliest possible moment from those taken in regard to Germany.

policy for the control of austria

3. The United Kingdom Delegation propose that the higher control of Austria shall be on a tripartite basis irrespective of the nationality and relative strength of the occupying forces.

separation of austria from germany

4. In 1939 Austria ceased to exist as an administrative entity. The central administrative machine in Vienna has disappeared. There is, however, a head Criminal Police Office for Austria as a whole. Mines, Airways, Waterways and Weights and Measures are also administered centrally from Vienna. The various civil administrative regions, [Page 456]Reichsgaue, into which the country is divided, are largely self-contained, and themselves deal with a great many aspects of civil administration. As regards military organisation, Austria is divided into two Wehrkreise. There are also two economic regions with the same boundaries as the Wehrkreise and with headquarters at the same places, namely, Vienna and Salzburg. Justice, Finance, Railways, Posts and Telegraphs are administered direct from Berlin through special local offices in Austria.

5. Since the purpose of the three Powers is to re-establish an independent Austria, it will clearly be necessary to set up in Austria, at the earliest practicable moment, a central administrative machine. It will also be necessary to detach the Austrian from the German administration, and to disentangle Austrian life, and especially economic life, from that of Germany. This latter task is likely to be both complicated and lengthy and involves the planning of Austrian affairs on new and independent lines.

6. In order to encourage the spirit of independence in Austria and to differentiate her treatment from that meted out to Germany, it is desirable that the Allied control machinery in Austria should be from the start separate from, and not subject to, that set up in Germany. For the same reason all contact between the Austrian Reichsgaue and the German administration in Berlin should be severed as soon as possible.

stages of control for austria

7. There are likely to be three stages of control in Austria:—

  • Stage I.—The period immediately following the cessation of hostilities.
  • Stage II.—The period of Allied central Government.
  • Stage III.—When an Austrian Government is established.

Stage I.The period immediately following the cessation of hostilities.

8. For a period, supreme authority must rest with each Commander-in-Chief in the area occupied by his forces. He would exercise control of civil administration through his own civil affairs organisation.

Stage II.The period of Allied central Government.

9. As soon as the Allied Commanders consider that conditions in Austria permit, supreme authority should be transferred to a tripartite Allied Commission in Vienna. The different civil affairs organisations of the occupying forces would then be controlled by this Commission. Initially, the Allied Commission should consist of the three Allied Commanders. It is desirable, however, that the military character of the Allied Government should not be emphasised for longer than necessary, and that, as soon as the military situation permits, [Page 457]the Allied Commanders should be replaced by civilian commissioners.

10. The Allied Commanders would preserve the right of appeal to their respective Governments and that of declaring a state of martial law within their respective zones of occupation.

11. The Allied Commission in Vienna would have four main tasks:—

To enforce in Austria the application of the terms of surrender.
To ensure that the government of Austria is carried on.
To build up an Austrian administrative machine as rapidly as possible.
To disentangle the Austrian from the German administration.

Initially, the existing autonomy of the Reichsgaue on matters of civil administration should be utilised, but should not be increased as this might make it more difficult eventually to centralise government in Vienna.

12. As soon as any department of a central Austrian administration has been sufficiently established, it should take over its particular function in Austria. The Allied Commission would then work through it. Direct government by the Allied Commission would thus progressively give place to indirect control. It is desirable that this control should be relaxed as rapidly as conditions in Austria allow, in order to encourage Austria to attain her independence.

13. Organisation.—The proposed layout of the Allied administrative machine is set out in the Appendix.74 The Commission would require a number of sections, the heads of which would form an Executive Committee of Control.

14. Personnel.—To preserve the tripartite character of the control, it is desirable that the staffs of the Allied Commission at the higher levels should be provided on a three-Power basis. Other Allied personnel might also be associated with the work of control.

15. United Nations Organisations.—The Allied Commission would give local direction to the operations in Austria of the various United Nations agencies, e.g., E.I.T.O.75

Stage III.When an Austrian Government is established.

16. It will probably take considerably longer for an Austrian Government to emerge than to establish an Austrian administrative machine. It may therefore be hoped that, by the time an indigenous Government is able to function, the Austrian administration will be in a large measure established. The nature and extent of Allied control that will be required at this stage cannot be foreseen.

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relationship between the austrian and the german control machinery

17. There will be a great many problems requiring concerted action in both Austria and Germany. This will necessitate the closest liaison between the Military or High Commission for Germany and the Allied Commission for Austria. Direct contact will be required between the sections of the control machinery in Austria and their corresponding sections in Germany, and this will probably have to continue for some time after the Austrian administration has been established.

Furthermore, there will be a number of matters, e.g., the elimination of Nazi laws, in which instructions drafted for Germany could appropriately be applied to Austria. Such matters could be transmitted to the appropriate Austrian authorities through the Allied Commission for Austria.

In the case of disarmament the Control Commission for Germany will have to co-ordinate the work in Germany and in Austria as may be necessary.

preparatory planning

18. The United Kingdom Delegation recommend that a British-American-Soviet planning body, and nucleus staffs, should be set up at an early date. This body, working within the agreed directives to the Allied Commanders and, of necessity, in close co-operation with their staffs, would undertake the detailed planning for the establishment of a central administrative machine in Vienna. It is important that it should work in conjunction with the similar body which it is proposed to set up in London to undertake similar planning for Germany (see paragraph 19 of memorandum enclosed in E.A.C. (44) 17).

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in the United Kingdom in his despatch 17616, August 23; received August 28.
  2. Memorandum originally circulated in the European Advisory Commission by the United Kingdom Representative on August 19.
  3. Ante, pp. 154, 201, and 211, respectively.
  4. Not printed.
  5. European Inland Transport Organization.