740.00119 Control (Austria)/9–2244

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

No. 4620

The Secretary of State has now received a letter of September 22, 1944 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff85 commenting on the two policy documents transmitted to London with the Department’s instruction no. 4278 of July 8, 1944, namely, PWC–218 entitled “The Treatment of Austria” and PWC–217a entitled “Summary: The Treatment of Austria: Policy Recommendations.”

For your information and guidance a copy of the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is enclosed herewith, with the Department’s reply given in parentheses after each paragraph of the comments.

[Page 463]
[Enclosure]

Comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Papers PWC–217a and PWC–218 86

1. It is suggested that these papers be modified to conform with the most recently stated views of this government (C.C.S. 320/21) to the effect that “There is no change in the policy of the United States Government as regards occupational forces for Austria except that a token force similar to the force planned for Berlin may be sent to Austria in connection with a tripartite control of Austria that may be agreed upon.”

(The Department of State concurs in the arrangement whereby only token forces of the United States should be sent to Vienna in connection with the tripartite control of Austria and the local administration of Vienna.)

2. Paragraph II–(A) 16 of PWC–217a provides that the occupation and control of Austria should be separate from the military government of Germany. It is suggested that consideration may well be given to placing Austria, in the initial period following the defeat or surrender of Germany, under the over-all control of the Control Council which it is proposed to establish in Berlin. Inasmuch as consideration is now being given to placing both Germany and Austria under tripartite control of the U.S., U.K. and U.S.S.R., it is believed that the inclusion of Austria in the initial period within the jurisdiction of the Control Council in Berlin might facilitate sound administration, particularly in view of the fact that Austria is presently controlled by the German Government in Berlin. It is agreed that the occupation and control of Austria should be separated from the military government of Germany as soon as conditions warrant, but the possible desirability of controlling Austria through the combined machinery in Berlin at least for a brief initial period and until existing German controls can be untangled, should not be overlooked.

(The Department recognizes the administrative soundness and necessity of vesting control of Austria in the Allied Authority in Berlin for a brief initial period. Political considerations and the attitude toward Austria expressed in paragraph I–A–1 of PWC–217a, however, make it desirable that a separate administration be established for Austria as quickly as military and administrative conditions make it feasible. Rather than postpone the establishment of a separate regime for Austria until German controls can be disposed of, the Department of State believes that the untangling of Austro-German affairs should be carried forward through liaison offices in each capital.)

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3. Paragraph II–(A)17 of PWC–217a and paragraph III–(A)2 of PWC–218 suggest that control of Austria be transferred at an early date from the military authorities to an inter-Allied civilian agency which would be supported by military garrisons as needed. The transfer of control of what must presently be considered as enemy territory to civilian control is a question involving consideration of many factors, and the time when such transfer could be effected would be dependent in large part upon conditions as they existed in Austria at the time such transfer should be proposed. It is not believed that any decision could be made on this point at the present time.

(The Department of State agrees with the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the time of transferring control of Austria from military to civilian authorities will need to be determined in the light of future developments.)

4. Paragraph II–(B)21 of PWC–217a provides that “Austrian members of the Wehrmacht should be sent home without unnecessary delay.” It is believed that this should be a general objective to be sought rather than an indiscriminate policy without qualification. There may be violent Nazis among this group whom the occupational authorities may wish to retain in custody as prisoners of war or otherwise. Their Austrian nationality would not necessarily be the controlling factor. It is believed that the policy referred to is more properly stated in paragraph III–(B)1 of PWC–218.

(The brief statement with respect to Austrians serving in the Wehrmacht in paragraph II–B–21 of PWC–217a properly requires the qualifications contained in paragraph III–B–1 of PWC–218. The viewpoint back of the two statements is that Austria’s political reconstruction should be started as expeditiously as possible, and this process is dependent in large measure on the return of politically acceptable soldiers to their homes. If it becomes established Allied policy to hold active Nazis in custody or exact labor services from them, Austrian Nazis should receive the same treatment as the German.)

5. Paragraph II–(C)26 of PWC–217a and paragraph III–(C)3 of PWC–218 provide that Germans whose residence in Austria is connected with Nazi exploitation should be promptly deported to Germany. It is believed possible that there may be Germans in this category, such as war criminals, et cetera, whose deportation to Germany would be neither necessary nor advisable.

(The stated policy with respect to the deportation of Germans from Austria is limited to “those Germans whose residence in Austria is directly connected with the Nazi exploitation of that state.” It is not intended to prejudice treatment to be meted out to war criminals or other Germans liable to legal proceedings. The objective here envisaged [Page 465]is the elimination of carpet-baggers whose presence in Austria would be injurious to orderly political and economic reconstruction.)

6. Paragraph II–(B) 3 of PWC–218 provides for the maintenance of a civil police force composed “exclusively of Austrian nationals.” Such a provision is considered inadvisable inasmuch as there may be members of the civil police force who are not Austrian nationals whom it may be desirable to retain. The hands of the occupational authorities should not be tied by a restriction of this character.

(The provision that the police force should be composed “exclusively of Austrian nationals” grows out of the necessity to rid Austria of Nazi and pan-German influence and to prevent a new infiltration into such a critically important function as the police. However, this represents a general statement of policy which the Department does not regard as preventing the military government from retaining any particular individuals in the interest of security.)

7. Paragraph III–(D)3 of PWC–218 provides for “border control over trade between Austria and Germany.” It is believed that trade between Austria and all countries should be controlled by the occupational authorities during the military government period.

(The Department of State concurs in the view that the occupation authorities should control the whole of Austria’s foreign trade during the period of military government. The paragraph calling for control of trade with Germany in particular was not intended to exclude control of other trade.)

8. It is believed that the reference in paragraph III–(D) 5 of PWC–218 to “special commitments on the part of the United Nations with respect to Austria” should be clarified, as its meaning is not understood in its present form.

(The policy with respect to reparation payments by Austria will be given specific formulation later. Paragraph III–D–5 of PWC–218, therefore, may be considered held in abeyance.)

9. Paragraph III–(E)1 of PWC–218 provides for the reestablishment of Austrian political life on an enduring constitutional basis “as soon as political conditions have become reasonably stable and there is clear evidence of a desire by the Austrian people to act.” It is believed that this recommendation should be amended to assure consideration of the paramount requirements of military necessity.

(The reference in paragraph III–E–1 of PWC–218 to reasonably stable political conditions as a prerequisite to beginning the work of political reconstruction is interpreted in the Department of State to mean that no steps should be taken without due consideration of the requirements of military necessity.)

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