740.0011 EW (Peace)/10–147

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Williamson)

Participants: Mr. E. J. Barnes, Second Secretary, British Embassy
CEFrancis T. Williamson
Coburn Kidd

Mr. Barnes brought to this division today a report from Michael Cullis, Acting Representative of the UK on the Austrian Treaty Commission, that David Ginsburg, Acting Representative of the US on the ATC, had shown him a private letter39 from Joseph M. Dodge, US member of the ATC (who is now in this country), purporting to give the Department’s plans for future negotiations on the Austrian treaty. Mr. Dodge intimated in his letter that, after the termination of negotiations in the ATC, a personal approach might be made to Vyshinski in New York to discuss the problems of the Austrian treaty and the possibility of a direct approach to the Soviet Union for settlement of Soviet claims to German assets; that after the conversation with Vyshinski a direct approach could then be made to the Soviet Government offering a lump-sum settlement, with a stipulated amount presumably to be paid by the Austrians, to satisfy Soviet claims to German assets. Mr. Ginsburg showed this letter to Mr. Cullis in order to obtain the official British reaction to this proposal. Mr. Barnes inquired whether or not the views expressed therein represented the official position of the Department.

Mr. Barnes stated that the UK emphatically opposed any approach to Vyshinski on this question but was very much interested in a diplomatic approach to the Soviet Government for a settlement of the German assets question. He stated that within the next few days the Foreign Office would make concrete suggestions to the Department for a possible solution to this problem.

I informed Mr. Barnes that the position of the Department on the future steps to be taken with regard to the Austrian treaty had been determined only within the past three days and therefore could not have been conveyed to Vienna in Mr. Dodge’s personal correspondence with Mr. Ginsburg.

I further informed Mr. Barnes that within the next few days the Department likewise would make a precise proposal through diplomatic [Page 620] channels to the British and French Governments on the question of a direct approach to the Soviet Government, and that no personal approach would be made by any representative of the Department to Vyshinski on the question of the Austrian treaty.

Francis T. Williamson
  1. Not found in Department files.