CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 62: Verbatim Minutes of Meetings

Statement by the United States Representative to the Austrian Treaty Commission ( Dodge )31

secret

I am today delivering to each Delegate on the Commission a copy of the letter of Colonel General Kourasov to the U.S. High Commissioner, dated 2 August, and the reply of Lt. Gen. Keyes, dated 6 August.32

These letters refer to the Soviet action in seizing the Lobau Refinery as a German asset.

Your attention is directed to the following: This property is located in an area of Austria which has been continuously under Soviet control for approximately two years. Until now the property apparently has not been claimed as a German asset. Some days ago Soviet troops occupied the property as a German asset.

This was done after nearly three months of meetings of the ATC, which was established to consider the facts regarding alleged German assets in Austria and to use these facts in coordinating the different viewpoints. The facts regarding the Lobau Refinery had been presented to the ATC for its information and consideration on 22 July by the US Delegation. The US Delegation advised the Commission at that time that it was of the opinion that the Lobau Refinery was not a German asset under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement.

In view of these circumstances, unless the refinery has been taken over under some theory of trusteeship, the action taken and its timing can only be regarded as a unilateral pre-judgment of the conclusions of the Commission and the Council of Foreign Ministers. Such action must then be considered in disregard of the function of the Commission, the nature of its discussions, and the views of other Delegates, and in utter disregard of the necessity for a cooperative settlement of a difficult problem.

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Seizure at this time could only serve to establish direct control over a property which had been specifically named in the Commission as an Anglo-American interest, without in any degree resolving the legal and interpretative problems which had made necessary the establishment of the Commission. At best the action simply enlarged the degree of Soviet control over a property already in their possession. At worst it casts doubt on the good faith of the Soviet Delegation in its participation in the work of the Commission.

  1. This statement was made during the 43rd Meeting of the Austrian Treaty Commission, August 11, 1947. The source text is the draft verbatim transcript of that meeting.
  2. Neither of the letters under reference here is printed.