740.0011 EW (Peace)/5–1447: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative on the Austrian Treaty Commission (Dodge) at Vienna1


320. For Dodge from the Secretary. The following instructions are for your guidance in the work of the Commission to deal with unsettled questions concerning the Austrian Treaty.

The positions taken by the United States on the unresolved issues in the treaty have been communicated to you and have been discussed in detail between officers of the Department and your staff. In the conduct of your negotiations, you should seek a settlement of these issues in keeping with the spirit of the positions previously taken by the United States. Should you consider it necessary to make any substantial deviation from these positions you should submit your recommendations to the Department and seek its instructions.

In particular, the Department does not feel any change should be made in the position taken by the United States that the Austrian frontiers should be left as they were on January 1, 1938 (Article 5) and that no reparation should be exacted from Austria (Article 34). With respect to the other disagreed provisions, you should keep in mind the fundamental purpose of the United States that the treaty should establish Austria in a political and economic position which will enable it to maintain its independence and which will be conducive to continuation of a democratic system of government.

I feel that the Austrian settlement will turn upon a satisfactory resolution of the question of German assets. The Department believes that, under the American definition of German assets as proposed at Moscow,2 the Soviet Union would in fact receive a substantial number [Page 580] of properties, together with an important sum in schillings representing Soviet share of Austrian debts to Germany. It should therefore be possible to reach practical solution of this question which would satisfy the legitimate claims of the USSR without prejudicing the interests of those who have been victimized by Nazi looting in Austria.

You should press within the Commission and within the Committee of Experts for an early resolution of this question. You should seek to direct the discussion toward the identification of the specific assets which are to be regarded as German assets, particularly those to be transferred to the Soviet Union. In the examination of particular properties which should be regarded as German, you should be guided by the views which I expressed at the Moscow Conference. If it is not possible to reach agreement with respect to specific matters, you should press for the development of agreed factual information which would be of assistance to the Council of Foreign Ministers in reaching final decisions on such unresolved questions. You should not take any action which would prejudice the claims of American nationals to property in Austria without specific approval of the Department.

The terms of reference of the Commission,3 which are being telegraphed separately, call for a report to the Council of Foreign Ministers without delay.

  1. Messages to and from the United States Delegation to the Austrian Treaty Commission were transmitted through the Legation in Vienna and bore Legation telegram numbers.
  2. The joint United States–United Kingdom proposal for a definition of German assets was set forth as paragraph 2 of article 35 of the Draft Austrian Treaty, p. 535. A new United States proposal for article 35 was circulated to the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow as document CFM(47) (M)141, April 18, 1947; the text appears in footnote 9 to article 35.
  3. The terms of reference for the Austrian Treaty Commission were set forth in Item II of the Provisional Record of Decisions of the 43rd Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers at Moscow, April 24, 1947, p. 386.