740.00119 Council/9–645: Telegram

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

Secdel 13. [For Secretary Byrnes.]66a In reply to your Delsec 2 Sep 667 Dept submits the following résumé of views on the Austrian question and recognition of Renner Govt:

[Page 583]

Dept believes that after establishment of Allied Council in Austria there should be a basic reorganization of the Renner régime which will insure full and unhampered participation of the three principal parties68 in its political activities and avoid undue dominance by a single party through any such device as control by counter-signatures of deputy ministers. Following such a reorganization of the Renner cabinet we should be prepared to deal with it as the provisional authority to be replaced in time by a Govt elected by the Austrian people under Allied supervision. Final form of Austrian Govt is one which properly should be determined by the Austrian people themselves after free political discussion and unhampered party activity. Dept considers Renner régime if reconstituted with above guarantees would be useful as instrumentality for establishment of a nation-wide administration and arrangement of elections on a unified nation-wide basis. Dept recognizes importance of discussing Brit objections that the balance of parties in Renner administration should be changed.69 Admission of representatives of the provinces to the cabinet and establishment of a federal structure may be desirable but Dept considers that these questions are not vital requirements for a provisional régime.

Chief qualification involved in US-UK decision to deal with Renner authority is prevention of excessive control by one party at present typified by the Communist control of Ministry of the Interior.70 Dept realizes it is politically necessary to include Communists in cabinet and also considers that removal of Communist Minister of Interior would be difficult to achieve but that US-UK should press for transfer of control of police force and supervision of elections from Ministry of Interior to Allied Control Commission in order to insure free elections and prevent misuse of power by one party.

Dept considers that recognition of a reorganized Renner administration would facilitate early achievement of our objectives in Austria. Dealing with it as a de facto authority would make possible early transfer of administrative functions from Military Govt to Austrian administrative system, the early holding of free elections in the provinces to ascertain exact balance of party strength and [Page 584] would be a step in fulfillment of objectives stated in Moscow Declaration of 1943. Dealing with it would also make possible early reduction of occupation forces of the four powers, thus reducing both volume of Allied supply into Austria and present drain on Austrian resources. Brit have already proposed discussion of supply question for Austria and entire Danubian area as a basic problem in US-UK relations with Soviets.

Delay in establishment of Allied Commission and lack of a unified administration has made impossible a nation-wide system of denazification and removal of thousands of Reichsdeutsche71 and Volksdeutsche from Austria. (Gen. Hilldring72 reports that one third of total population of our zone in Austria are Reichsdeutsche and their immediate removal to Germany is an urgent necessity to achieve our objectives under the Moscow Declaration.73) Dept believes that dealing with a provisional Austrian authority following establishment of Allied Commission will facilitate solution of these problems.

If agreement is reached on question of dealing with Renner régime, you may also wish to discuss future policy in Austria. In political field Dept believes following steps should be taken after an effective Austrian administration is established.

Reduction of occupation troops on a quadripartite basis and transfer of administrative functions to the provisional Austrian state.
Progressive change from the purely military character of Allied occupation to civilian control by the introduction of civilian elements into Allied Commission at an early date.
To propose abolition of zones of occupation in Austria and to replace control machinery by an Allied High Commission in Vienna supported by small garrisons of the four powers stationed throughout Austria. Dept believes that garrisons could be maintained in areas now designated as zones and would not necessitate intermingling of troops. Dept likewise considers that these garrisons need only be token forces which could be removed at discretion of Allied High Commission.

Sent to Secdel, London as 13; repeated to AusPolAd, Vienna as 99; repeated to Moscow as 1983.

  1. Secretary Byrnes was en route to the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London.
  2. Not printed; in this message originating aboard the S.S. Queen Elizabeth, the Secretary requested the Department’s views regarding the recognition of the Renner government since Foreign Secretary Bevin wished to discuss that question in London (740.00119 Council/9–645).
  3. Austrian People’s Party, Austrian Socialist Party, and Austrian Communist Party.
  4. In an aide-mémoire dated September 3, 1945, the British Embassy urged the Department not to recognize the Renner government. It also informed the Department that British authorities in Austria were being instructed to make the greatest possible use of Austrian provincial authorities in order to increase the importance of the latter and perhaps pave the way for constitutional developments in the direction of a federal structure. (740.00119 Control (Austria)/9–345)
  5. Franz Honner of the Austrian Communist Party was the Minister of the Interior at this time.
  6. Subjects of the German Reich.
  7. Maj. Gen. John H. Hilldring, Director of the Civil Affairs Division of the War Department.
  8. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 761.