740.00119 Control (Austria)/9–1045

Memorandum by Mr. Emile Despres, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State, and by Mr. Henry P. Leverich of the Division of Central European Affairs to Assistant Secretary Clayton

We recommend that the Department of State propose to the War Department that an attempt be made to reach a quadripartite agreement limiting the size of occupying forces in Austria.

Three factors make such an agreement strongly advisable: (1) the general poverty of Austrian resources; (2) the practice of the Russian forces (and French forces) of “living off the land” and the Russian contention that maintenance of the occupying forces should be a first claim on Austria’s resources; and (3) the desirability of conditioning any reduction in our own forces on corresponding reductions on the forces of other occupying powers.

The first factor requires no detailed explanation. In view of its scanty resources, Austria will continue to require outside assistance. Before 1938, Austria was only 75 per cent self-sufficient with respect to food. It is estimated that 265,000 tons of foodstuffs per year will be needed to supply our zone in Austria and our sector in Vienna, assuming a daily ration scale of only 1550 calories per person.

The Russian practice of living off the land is reflected in their large requisitions of Austrian foodstuffs and their heavy expenditures of Allied Military schillings. In August alone, Russian forces spent 450,000,000 AM79 schillings as compared with a total of 100,000,000 by the forces of all the other occupying powers. Expenditures at this rate threaten not only to create serious inflationary conditions but also to exhaust our AM schilling inventory, particularly if the contemplated conversion of Reichsmarks into AM schillings is carried out. At the same time, the heavy Russian drain on Austrian food supplies will, if continued, inevitably force us to supply more food at our own expense (either in form of direct US military relief or in form of our contribution to UNRRA).

The Russian zone in Austria is far better supplied with food than the other zones and would, in fact, normally be able to spare considerable food for other parts of Austria. Before the war, the provinces now in the Russian zone accounted for 47% of the productive area in Austria and produced 52% of the wheat, 58% of the rye, 72% of the barley, 49% of the oats, 47% of the corn, 55% of the potatoes and 88% of the sugar beets grown in Austria. Moreover, the same area accounted in 1934 for 49% of the chickens, 45% of the pigs, 46% of the horses and 33% of the cattle in Austria.

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At present, however, the Russian zone has a food deficit owing to the combined effect of the war and Russian requisitions. The Russians have proposed that Austrian resources be pooled and that Austria be considered as a single economic unit, but under existing conditions, this would mean only a pooling of deficits.

Throughout the occupied countries of eastern and southeastern Europe, the USSR appears to be “pasturing out” its army. The advantage of this practice to the USSR is obvious, since it considerably reduces the drain on Soviet food supplies. This practice, however, is a considerable burden on a small country like Austria which requires and is obtaining assistance from us. While the State Department possesses no figures indicating the size of Russian occupying forces in Austria, such figures as are known regarding forces kept in other countries make it appear likely that their size is out of proportion to reasonable requirements.

For these reasons, an agreement limiting the occupying forces appears imperative. It is not within the province of this Department to determine what the size of the total occupying force should be but it is suggested that a relatively small total should be quite adequate for the purpose of controlling Austria.

  1. Allied Military.