Department of the Army Files: Telegram

No. 773
The Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean (Alexander) to the Combined Chiefs of Staff1
top secret

Naf 1042, FX 24640. Cite Fhgct. Sent to the Special Signals Office of the Air Ministry for the British Chiefs of Staff, and to the Adjutant General, War Department, for the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Repeated for information to the Berlin Conference for the personal attention of Field Marshal Alexander.

There follows an outline, for your information, of a report which the Commanding General of the Eighth Army, General McCreery, has made concerning contacts of recent date with Soviet officers.

On July 16, 1945, Eighth Army representatives,2 accompanied by representatives of France and the United States,3 held two meetings in Vienna with the Soviet authorities. The British, French, and United States parties left Vienna the following day.

The Soviet authorities refused to discuss such questions as civilian supplies, railways, roads, and signal communications, despite the fact that Marshal Konev, in writing to McCreery, had agreed to hold the meeting and had stated his belief that the meeting could settle many questions. The reaction of the Allied representatives to the uncooperative Soviet attitude forced the referral of the matter by the Soviet representative to Konev, who agreed that a quadripartite discussion, by specialist officers, should take place at once concerning these questions.

The meeting then made good progress on most of the abovementioned subjects. Guarantees were received for telegraph and telephone facilities both (a) between Vienna and the occupation zones and (b) within the city itself. The meeting reached agreement on establishing combined signals and railways boards, which will not [Page 670] function, of course, until we have reached agreement on moving advance parties into Vienna. Agreement was also reached on road communications.

The Soviet authorities claimed that, since the European Advisory Commission agreements have not been approved at the governmental level, they lacked authorization from Moscow to reach any decisions to implement those agreements. Therefore they could not discuss the movement into Vienna of advance parties of the three Allies or the occupation of Styria on the part of the Eighth Army. Unless steps are taken at the highest level to ensure that Moscow sends the necessary instructions to Konev, it is clearly possible for the Soviet authorities to continue to block any move into Styria or Vienna. Our belief is that we can accomplish nothing more through local contacts. We approached the Soviet authorities on July 1 with respect to the occupation of Styria, and we believe that it would be undesirable to run the risk of a third rebuff on the part of the local Soviet commander.

The Chief of Staff4 to Konev stated that the Marshal would extend invitations to the three Allied commanders for staff meetings, to be followed by a meeting of the commanders, as soon as he had received instructions from Moscow.

  1. Received by the United States Delegation to the Berlin Conference on July 19 as a retransmission from the War Department. This message was signed with Alexander’s name although Alexander himself was at the Conference.
  2. The ranking British representative was Major-General John Winterton.
  3. Brigadier General Paul-Raymond-Philippe Cherriére and Major General Alfred M. Gruenther, respectively.
  4. Army General Ivan Efimovich Petrov.