740.00119 Control (Austria)/9–1145: Telegram

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

202. Allied Council for Austria held first formal meeting of Council in Vienna today September 11.

Preparatory documents transmitted despatch 172, September 8.80

Council decided: To assume supreme authority in Austria as from September 11; to have chairmanship rotate once each month in order of United States, United Kingdom, France, USSR with General Clark assuming chairmanship as from September 15; that chairmanship of Executive Committee and meetings of directors of division would rotate simultaneously; staff of presiding commissioner will prepare documents for and from meetings during his presidency; Executive Committee comprising Gruenther, Winterton, Cherriere81 and Zheltov as well as rest of Allied Commission assume functions as from September 11; inter-Allied Kommandatura of Vienna function as from September 11 under Generals Lewis, Palmer du Payrat [Page 588] and Blagodatov; and that Executive Committee work out by September 18 rules of procedure for Allied Commission and Kommandatura.

Council also decided to “allow as soon as possible” freedom of movement throughout Austria of Austrian officials, commercial travelers and other persons and of road and rail traffic and reestablishment of telegraph and telecommunications throughout Austria under plans to be worked out by Executive Committee which is so directed to work out by October first a plan for utilization of country’s productive capacity and supplies of foodstuff and raw materials.

Agreed agenda for the meeting comprised: Commencement and method of operation of the Allied Commission; approval of minutes of meeting of Commanders in Chief on August 23; extension of the competence of the central Austrian administrative machine to all provinces of Austria; new ration scales for population of Vienna; political activities of democratic parties in Austria, confirmation of list of urgent problems; proclamation to Austrian people; communiqué.

On extension of the central Austrian administrative machine it was noted that apart from freedom of movement and communication, consideration of this broad subject should be deferred to next meeting of September 20 following reports yet to be made by committee studying the subject.

It was agreed that new ration scale for Vienna effective September 23 should run from 1,300 calories for normal consumers up to 3,000 calories for heavy workers. British and American insistence raised scales to these figures. Koniev had preferred lower scales based on average of 1,550.

He said in agreeing to higher figure many difficulties must be envisaged and supplies Vienna gets from other Austrian areas would have to be taken into account. Gen. Clark stated his understanding that food supplies from Austrian sources will be developed subsequently, but that at outset Allies agree to provide quantities desired.

Council approved a proclamation that “effective this date democratic political parties are hereby allowed maximum freedom to develop their political activities throughout Austria”.

McCreery called attention to disquieting financial situation and said he would like Council at next meeting to examine measures to combat inflation. It was agreed Executive Committee should prepare report on matter for consideration at next meeting.

Agenda moved with speed and precision until draft proclamation evoked conflict between Soviets and British over mention of provisional Austrian Govt. McCreery requested deletion of statement inserted by Soviet member of Deputy Commanders meeting September 6 that “the Allied Council will also study the decisions of the Berlin [Page 589] Conference regarding Austria and will submit for extension the competence of the provisional Austrian Govt over all Austria.” He quoted the Potsdam Declaration that the “Govts” will examine this question and explain that a flat statement that the Allied Council will submit a proposal for the extension of the competence of the Provisional Austrian Govt would be misunderstood by British people. Béthouart agreed that proposed paragraph would raise question of extension of powers of a govt not yet recognized. Clark recommended substituting “the question of” for “a proposal for”. Koniev urged inclusion of paragraph as originally proposed, arguing people of Austria have noted Potsdam Declaration and expect action by Council. Several substitute formulations were suggested by Clark, who was endeavoring to arrive at one which would not commit Council members to a recommendation to accept the Renner Cabinet as now constituted, but they were all rejected. Koniev then stated that under these circumstances there could be no proclamation [apparent omission] was not issued it would be notice to the Austrian people that the Council was failing.

In this deadlock the Council requested political advisers to work out formula acceptable to all. The resulting formula, although saying little, finally made possible the proclamation as it appears in my separate telegram.82

Finally, Béthouart asked permission to state that Tirolean delegation recently expressed to him their desire to have south Tirol population to rejoin Austria, Béthouart recommended that this desire be made known to Govts so that London Council of Ministers may obtain views of Tiroleans from Council members informing their Govts of importance attached to south Tirol by Austrians before determination of Italian frontiers by London Council of Ministers.

Complete report including substance of discussion airmailed next pouch.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Gen. Paul Cherrière.
  3. Not printed. For text of the communiqué of the first meeting of the Allied Council, see the Gazette of the Allied Commission for Austria, No. 1, December 1945–January 1946, p. 26.