Memorandum by the United States
Chiefs of Staff
C. C. S. 896 (Terminal)
Internationalization of the Danube River
- The free efficient use of such rivers as the Rhine, the Weser, the Elbe, and the Danube in the supply of the armies of occupation and in maintaining the bare needs of the civilian populations under their control is essential in view of the limited means of transportation available to fulfill their task.
- Adequate machinery in the formation of the Rhine Navigation Agency under the Allied Control Council in Germany, and the active measures presently under way to clear the river of obstruction, scheduled for completion in the United States and British zones by 1 September and in the French zone by 15 October, promise to meet the basic needs served by the Rhine. Russia has now no representative on that agency because it has no supply interest. However, politically, it might be expedient to consider favorably a request from Russia for such membership.
- The Weser and the Elbe while important in the restoration of the German economy are not so vital to the fulfillment of immediate supply needs of the occupying armies.
- The Danube, however, though largely clear of obstructions and open to use, cannot fulfill its proper role as a transportation artery in the supply of the armies of occupation and of the populations under their control, unless a Danube Navigation Agency similar to that set up for the Rhine is organized promptly. The need for action is stated in Scaf 471, 3 July 1945, (Enclosure “B”).
- There are certain embarrassments to the formation of such an agency. Local Russian commanders have no authority to act. The river lies both in Germany and Austria and its regulation therefore involves the Allied Control Councils of both countries. The request does not include French membership although politically they are necessarily eligible and no vital disadvantage should result from their inclusion. A Russian protest to representation of the British and the French on the ground that they have no frontage on the river may lead to their request for membership on the Rhine Navigation Agency.
- The opportunity for the creation of a Danube Navigation Agency will probably never be more favorable than at this conference attended by the heads of state and their foreign ministers to whom the Chiefs of Staff may now so effectively appeal for assistance.
The United States Chiefs of Staff recommended that the Combined Chiefs of Staff forward the enclosed letter (Enclosure “A”) to the Department of State and to the Foreign Office.