740.00119 Council/4–2547: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State


1546. Delsec 1472. For the President, Vandenberg, Connally and Acheson, from Marshall. Final Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, April 24, Bevin presiding, opened with Molotov replying to statements made by Marshall yesterday on the Austrian treaty and the four-power pact for the disarmament and demilitarization of Germany.32 Molotov denied that the Soviet Union opposed a quadripartite treaty to insure German disarmament but insisted that the changes on the draft treaty he had proposed were necessary to prevent any new German aggression. He accused the United States of attempting to impose its will on other states by declining to discuss the Soviet amendments to the United States draft. He said he would continue to seek agreement on such a treaty on the basis of the United States draft and the Soviet proposals.

[Page 389]

Molotov stated that the Soviet Union viewed the question of German assets in Austria in the light of the promises made to the USSR covering German reparations. He repeated again the United States definition of these assets would deprive the USSR of assets which it had been promised at Potsdam. He rejected Marshall’s tentative suggestion to refer the question to the United Nations Assembly on the ground that the drafting of an Austrian treaty was beyond the competence of the United Nations.

After discussing several proposals, the Council agreed to appoint a special commission consisting of representatives of each Council member to meet in Vienna on May 12 to discuss all disagreed questions of the Austrian treaty. A special committee of experts will be formed under the commission to study the facts involved in the question of German assets in Austria and Austrian property in Allied and associated states. The commission will seek agreement on all differences and report without delay to the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Marshall brought up the United States proposal33 on the reduction of occupation forces to Germany which directs the Control Council for Germany to report to the Foreign Ministers on the size of the security forces which it is necessary for the occupying powers to keep in Germany. Molotov proposed that the Council limit the occupation forces in Germany to 200,000 men for the USSR, 200,000 for the United States and United Kingdom, since their zones are combined, and 50,000 for France. Bevin said he would agree to a limit of 145,000 men for the United Kingdom zone but that the USSR, United Kingdom, and United States zones should have an equal number. Bidault agreed that the occupation forces should be limited but he was not authorized to accept a revision of the previous figure of 70,000 men for the French zone.

Marshall asked the Council not to attempt to fix specific figures but to agree on the generalized United States proposal. He said the United States desired to reduce its forces as quickly and as far as the situation [Page 390] permits and rejected Molotov’s suggestion that the total forces in the US and UK zones should equal those in the Soviet zone alone. The Council agreed to ask the Allied Control Council to report by June 1947 on the maximum forces to be permitted in each zone.

The Council decided that its next regular meeting would be held in London in November. If all four Foreign Ministers attend the United Nations [General] Assembly meeting in December in New York, a brief meeting with a limited agenda will be held at that time.34

The agenda for the next session was then discussed. Bevin suggested that completion of the Austrian treaty be the first item. Marshall asked that a decision on the agenda await later developments and that the Ministers communicate their views through diplomatic channels. Molotov agreed with Marshall, adding that the Austrian treaty and the German question would of course be on the agenda. The Council accepted this solution.

The Council then discussed the meeting place for the Deputies for Germany. Bidault proposed London and Marshall suggested Berlin.35 The Council members will choose between the two cities and communicate their decision through diplomatic channels. The Council of Foreign Ministers then adjourned its fourth session.

Department please pass to Vienna as 57, Rome as 49, and Paris as 176.

Sent Department as 1546, repeated London 187, Berlin 332.

  1. For a detailed account of Molotov’s statements summarized here, see Molotov, Problems of Foreign Policy, pp. 448–453.
  2. The United States proposal under reference, circulated to the Council of Foreign Ministers as document CFM(47) (M)51, March 23, 1947, read as follows:

    The Council of Foreign Ministers instructs the Allied Control Council as follows:

    In order that the German economy may become self-supporting at the earliest possible date and to expedite the availability of products for export, the size of the occupying forces and thereby the costs of occupation should be reduced progressively to the minimum consistent with security and with the fulfillment of Allied objectives.
    The Allied Control Council will determine the security forces necessary in each Zone of Occupation as of 1 July 1947 and 1 July 1948. It will report its conclusions to the Council of Foreign Ministers not later than 1 June 1947. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 58)

  3. In connection with the holding of the next Council session, E. S. Mason of the United States Delegation sent Secretary Marshall the following memorandum on April 24:

    “Mr. Bevin wished to convey to you the following message. He prefers to hold the next Council Meeting after the General Assembly meeting. He recognizes that this would mean postponing the next Council Meeting until after the first of next year. He prefers London as the meeting place. I told Mr. Hall-Patch that I believed you favored holding the next Council Meeting shortly before the General Assembly convenes. You may wish to discuss this matter with Mr. Bevin before the meeting today.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 99: Procedure)

  4. On April 22, 1947, Secretary Marshall had written to Foreign Minister Bidault on this subject as follows:

    “I have been giving some thought to the question where our Deputies for Germany should meet after the present session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. As you know, it has been suggested that Berlin would afford certain advantages.

    “Among these are available staff, reference data, housing, and communications, and particularly the advantage of reduced expenditure, the latter I feel is not an inconsequential item as I believe our Governments are all interested in reduced public expenditure. I know my Government is. We estimate that the saving of public funds would be substantial if the Deputies would be established, at least temporarily, at Berlin.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 99: Procedure)