740.00119 Control (Austria)/6–645: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

1921. ReEmbtel 1582, May 15, noon. In reply to Roberts’ letter of May 14 regarding participation of Yugoslav troops in occupation of Austria Vyshinski in note dated May 31 reiterated position of Soviet Govt that Yugoslav troops should be permitted to participate. Rejecting British arguments Vyshinski declared that Soviet Govt saw no grounds for refusing to use Yugoslav troops in joint participation with Red army units in Soviet zone in Austria. Such refusal would be wrong primarily because of contribution made by Yugoslav army to expulsion of Fascist occupants from Austria which has secured to Yugoslavs right to participate in occupation of Austria territory. Yugoslav troops must be granted same right in this respect as was granted in case of Germany by agreement between Four Powers to Dutch, Belgian and other Allied troops which actively participated in fight against Germany.

Vyshinski states that British arguments rejecting analogy between participation of Yugoslav troops in occupation of Austria and participation of troops of western European states in occupation of Germany are unconvincing. He declares that difference between Allied treatment of Germany and Austria does not preclude occupation of Austria as of Germany by Allied troops and therefore does not affect question of occupation. Failure of draft agreement on occupation of Austria to mention participation by troops other than those of principal Allies can have no significance since it is only a draft which has not yet been accepted. Vyshinski also rejects Brit arguments based on claims of Yugoslavia to Austrian territory asserting that territorial question has not been raised and should in the opinion of Soviet Govt not be connected with question of participation of Yugoslav troops in occupation. Solution of questions involving territorial claims must be related to peace settlement and cannot depend on occupation of certain areas by Allied troops.

In view of foregoing Soviet Govt cannot agree to objections raised in Brit note to participation of Yugoslav troops in occupation of Russian zone in Austria and continues to adhere to its point of view on this question.

Sent Dept 1921, rptd to AusPolAd Florence for Erhardt and to Belgrade as 12.

[Page 1327]

[By means of a paraphrase of a Foreign Office telegram of June 13, 1945, handed to the Department on June 19, the British Embassy notified the Department: “As we have already informed the Yugoslav Government that we cannot agree to hand over part of the British zone or permit the Yugoslav troops to participate in the British zone, we see no need to make any further reply at present to the Yugoslav Government’s note of April 2.” (740.00119 Control (Austria)/6–1945) For the contents of the Yugoslav note under reference, see telegram 2825, April 11, to London, printed on page 1314.

A telegram to the Embassy in Belgrade was prepared in the Department on June 27, 1945, but was not sent. It was hi reply to the Yugoslav note of April 2, and rejected the Yugoslav proposal on the grounds that it was impracticable to increase the number of powers participating in the occupation of Austria, and that such a step might prejudice the future orderly settlement of the area in question since Yugoslavia had already declared its intention to annex it. Attached to the file copy of this draft telegram is a notation of July 3, 1945, by Ware Adams of the Division of Central European Affairs, which reads:

“Mr. Grew prefers that we not inform the Yugoslav Government, if it can be avoided, that we would oppose its participation in the occupation of Austria.

Therefore, in view of the already long delay and the considerations just mentioned, Mr. Grew has decided that this message should not be sent, and that no reply should be made to the Yugoslav note of April 2 unless the question should arise again.” (740.00119 Control (Austria)/4–945)]