740.00119 Control (Austria)/8–2245: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Austrian Affairs (Erhardt) to the Secretary of State

152. At General Clark’s invitation Soviet, British, and French commanders and their political advisers came to Salzburg to attend a. festival concert. Owing to Marshal Koniev’s illness he was represented in accordance with previous understanding, by Colonel General Zheltov.46

General McCreery told General Clark he had instructions from his Government which Winterton47 later confirmed in an informal meeting of the deputy COS (Chief of Staff) on August 20 that the FonOff (Foreign Office) view was that the AC (Allied Commission) should not be formally established until questions of Austrian food supply have been settled on long term basis including agreement on supplies [Page 574] from Hungary and Rumania as normal sources. British idea was that meanwhile CINC (Commanders-in-Chief) should meet only as COS (Chiefs of Staff) and not as AC (Allied Commission). Zheltov reacted violently saying McCreery would have little authority if he could not act on such questions himself.

General Clark after hearing both views informed both Zheltov and McCreery that he did not agree with British proposal and that he felt AC (Allied Commission) should meet at earliest possible date and should itself attempt to aim at a satisfactory Austrian solution.

Mack also discussed food questions in conversations with me. He would like to have only interim emergency contributions made by Western powers until Soviets agree to meet certain demands. These would include using Austrian exports to pay for imports and compensation to Austria by the Soviets for plant and equipment already removed to the extent necessary to pay for food imports. Pending settlement of food questions on long term basis British Govt would favor having each of occupying powers provide 6,000 tons of food monthly for Vienna to be distributed by Soviet authorities under surveillance of observers from other three powers. This interim arrangement might continue for 2 months but would be subject to termination by other powers on short notice. Mack indicated also that pending settlement of food questions British Govt would prefer to postpone establishment of AC (Allied Commission). Meanwhile they would not recognize Renner regime. Mack believes he has support of Foreign Office for policy of seeking reconstitution of Renner regime with significant changes including particularly elimination of Communist control of internal affairs.48

At one point Mack intimated that in Austrian negotiations British representatives have Balkans in mind. They feel that at Potsdam considerable progress was made toward a more satisfactory basis of Allied participation in Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. They wish to prevent Austria from coming under Soviet domination as those countries did. British presumably reason that delay in establishing AC (Allied Commission) and in introducing a higher food ration in Vienna will further weaken Soviet position in Austria.

During visit Genl. Clark had conversations with Genl. Zheltov in which Genl. Clark spoke out bluntly and vigorously. He said he had heard of complaints by Zheltov that US-British-French bloc was taking form in opposition to Soviets in Austria. He pointed out that on many points he differed with British views particularly with regard to British proposal not to hold meeting of AC (Allied Commission) until long range food solution was found. (Clark feels and I agree that holding meeting of AC (Allied Commission) will not in [Page 575] itself commit US Govt to unsatisfactory decisions since no decision can be taken without our concurrence.) Clark furthermore told Zheltov he was doing everything he could to eliminate suspicion and establish good relationship with Soviets and demanded that they do their part. Zheltov apologized and promised to recommend favorable action on several matters including allocation of 20 communication channels between Vienna and Salzburg. In response to questioning by Genl. Clark, Zheltov stated that Marshal Koniev really was ill due partly to anxiety over Austrian problems. I believe our relations with Russians were considerably improved as a result of our extremely frank talks.

While this message was being written Genl. Clark as well as British and French received an invitation from Koniev for an AC (Allied Commission) meeting on Thursday, Aug. 23. Genl. Clark has accepted and so informed the French and British. Genl. McCreery, we have been informed by Mr. Mack, will refuse without any explanation. In this event there will of course not be a Council meeting but Genl. Clark is hopeful of constructive results from talks with Koniev in any case. Moreover, French Commander has informed Genl. Clark he will accept and Genl. Clark hopes that Genl. McCreery will reconsider and accept invitation.

Repeated to London as 35, Moscow as 16, and Paris as 19.

  1. Col. Gen. Alexey Zheltov, Deputy Commander, Soviet Forces in Austria.
  2. Maj. Gen. T. John W. Winterton, British Deputy Commander.
  3. The Ministry of the Interior in the Renner provisional government was headed by Franz Honner of the Austrian Communist Party.