863.6363/9–945: Telegram

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

7749. For Secretary Byrnes. General Clark (P2045, September 874) reports pressure of Soviet Government on Renner to sign before noon September 10 agreement setting up Austro-Soviet corporation for control of exploitation of oil industry in Austria. Renner is attempting delay until Allied Council meets on Tuesday75 but may be compelled to sign. If he does Clark proposes to ask Koniev on Monday status of alleged agreement and stress interest of Control Council in disposal of such an important natural resource. If Renner is able to delay signature Clark proposes to bring question to Allied Council on Tuesday.

War Department has sent following reply to Clark:

“We fully agree with your proposed action. Koniev’s attention should be directed to Article 5 of the Agreement on Control Machinery in Austria76 which provides that the Allied Council will initiate plans and reach decisions on the chief military, political, economic and other questions affecting Austria as a whole. Since the Supreme Authority in Austria is exercised jointly, according to this agreement, we cannot recognize the authority of the Renner Cabinet to conclude an agreement involving the development of oil industry in Austria which is bound to affect Austrian economy as a whole. It should further be emphasized that there are direct U.S. interests involved in the ownership of properties in the eastern zone which were not renounced by the Potsdam agreement.77 You should also inform the British and French Commanders of your proposed action.”78

  1. Not printed.
  2. September 11.
  3. For text of the agreement between the Governments of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the Provisional Government of the French Republic on control machinery in Austria, signed July 4, 1945, see Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. i, pp. 351 ff.
  4. Reference is to section IV, subsection 9 of the Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, August 2, 1945; for text, see ibid., vol. ii, pp. 14991514. For documentation on discussions at the Berlin Conference on the questions of reparations from Austria and the disposal of German assets in eastern Austria, see ibid., vol. i, pp. 342347; and ibid., vol. ii, 432434, 441442, 446447, and 663667.
  5. This War Department message was repeated by the Department to Vienna as telegram 100, and to Moscow as telegram 1994. In the telegram to Moscow, the Acting Secretary also instructed Ambassador Harriman: “In your discretion you are authorized to approach Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and state that US Govt will not recognize any action affecting oil properties in Austria that is not approved by Allied Council. You may further state that this Govt considers improper and contrary to Moscow agreement and article 5 of Agreement on Control Machinery in Austria efforts of Soviet representatives and authorities in Austria to press Austrian Govt into decision on this matter before meeting of Allied Council.” (740.00119 Control (Austria)/9–1145)