740.00119 EW/6–2446: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State


1122. ReDeptel 770, June 20. In my opinion:

The Czechoslovak control of any Danubian barges which might be returned at this time would be purely nominal. I believe Soviets would exercise effective control which Czechoslovak Govt would not dare challenge.
Having regard to the domination the Soviets are seeking to achieve over Southeastern Europe, it seems most likely that these barges would be put to whatever use best served Soviet purposes from day to day. As Czechoslovakia’s coal production is insufficient for its own requirements, it is most unlikely that for a long time to come there will be any substantial quantities of coal to move from Bratislava to Vienna or on the lower Danube.
Aside from lip service there is no evidence that the Czechoslovak Govt supports US view of freedom of navigation on Danube or that Czechoslovak Govt would support this view in opposition to Soviet wishes.

Sent Dept 1122; repeated Vienna 48; Moscow 13; and USPolAd Berlin 66 in reply to its 1546 of June 19 to Dept; repeated Praha as 58.