740.00119 Council/9–1545: Telegram

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

218. I strongly agree about desirability of transferring Reichsdeutsche and Volksdeutsche mentioned in Department’s 99, September 8, 8 p.m.1 but not wholly with explanation of delay stated therein. Military Government Austria has done excellent job under difficult circumstances in handling displaced persons with full cooperation Austrian authorities.

Reichsdeutsche in US zone Austria numbered 122,000 on September 7. Volksdeutsche including Sudetens number 55,000 and in view of Potsdam decisions should now apparently also be sent to Germany. Plans for removal from Austria have long since been complete. Sole obstacle to removal lies not as in Department’s 99 but in unwillingness of military representatives of Four Powers in Germany to receive them there, on grounds of lack of food, shelter and Control Council arrangements for their distribution into zones in Germany.

The same objections as to food and shelter to their presence exist also in Austria in even greater degree. Moreover the number involved is great in proportion to population of Austria but small in proportion to refugee and Displaced Persons problem within Germany itself. In addition there are strong political reasons for getting these people out of Austria as quickly as possible: camps here are overloaded already and Reichsdeutsche Displaced Persons are necessarily billeted on Austrians and move freely among them talking politics and spreading propaganda especially that US looks toward war with Russia and does not really want to get rid of Nazi or other Germans.

Military Government Austria is ready and eager to send these Displaced Persons to Germany where they belong and also to admit Austrian Displaced Persons from Germany thus alleviating strain on food and shelter there and providing two way traffic.

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By destinations in Germany the 122,000 Reichsdeutsche breakdown into 9,000 to French zone Germany, 9,000 to US zone, 27,000 to British zone, 15,000 to Russian administered zone, 45,000 to Polish administered zone, 17,000 unclassified [as] yet[.] Military Government Austria has already initiated every effort to arrange through military channels for admission respective zones Germany.

  1. See telegram Secdel 13, September 8, to London, p. 582.