840.811/5–146: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy) to the Secretary of State


1143. For Radius from Rainey. Reference your cable 982, April 26, 5 p.m.46 In our discussions leading to preparation of paper on policy recommendation for Danube March 22, we did not contemplate US initiative in bilateral negotiations with Soviet. Information at that time indicated that Soviet representatives would approach US representatives in Vienna to discuss some practical solution for movement of Danube traffic under control of US and Soviet forces. Soviet position at Council of Foreign Minister in London last September that control of waterways was a concern of the respective zone commanders has been reaffirmed at meetings of Transport Directorate, Berlin, with regard to Rhine and Elbe. It is our understanding that Soviet takes some [same] position in regard Danube and that they are strongly opposed negotiations with French and British who do occupy areas bordering Danube.

We appreciate the advisability of taking no action which might prejudice French and British interests on Danube or their participation in a permanent Danube regime, but believe that they realize the frontier between US and Soviet forces will remain “frozen” unless agreement is reached between the two occupying forces concerned. This is implied apparently in London’s discussion reported in London’s cable 4302, April 18.

Representatives Transport Division Berlin agree that establishment of interim traffic committee is most important step to initiate [Page 248] free movement on Danube as recommended in our paper. Recommended temporary Danube conservancy commission is less significant at this time and might be omitted from US-Soviet discussion if you believe that bilateral establishment of such a body might prejudice French and British participation in some future Danube Commission. However, US-Soviet discussions limited to that stretch of the river where occupying forces are contiguous could result only in opening the Danube in Austria and Germany. This would not permit significant Danube traffic and probably would sacrifice the present US bargaining position. Therefore, believe that any negotiations with Soviets at this time should concern traffic on entire river.

Reference your paragraph 4, Transport Division Berlin assumes that former enemy vessels are captured enemy equipment. They now fly US flag as property under control of US Forces and therefore Transport Division believes that there is no possibility of claims against US Government in event of loss or damage. At present each vessel on Danube flying US flag has at least one member of US Armed Forces aboard. On Rhine and at Bremen German ships operated without US personnel aboard fly the international “C”. It is not clear under present instructions whether these Danube vessels could move under US flag without US personnel. Will investigate further. We assume vessels would be operated by national crews and by [apparent garble] companies as at present on Rhine and Danube.

In view of discussion in London and possible discussions meeting Paris, suggest you request me report Washington for consultation to discuss this Danube matter in greater detail before I leave service. [Rainey.]

  1. Not printed.