740.00119 Council/2–147: Telegram

The United States Deputy for Austria at the Council of Foreign Ministers ( Clark ) to the Secretary of State


709. Delsec 1174 from Clark. The Austrian deputies on January 3112 opened their session with a discussion of the Yugoslav allegations concerning Dr. Piesch. It was agreed to request the Allied Commission [Page 122] for Austria to investigate his record for Nazi connections and to report to the deputies by the 15th of February. Gousev reserved right to question Piesch when the Austrian delegation came to the meeting.

It was agreed to hear the Belgian representatives on February 4 and the New Zealanders February 5.

On my suggestion an economic sub-committee was appointed. I informed the meeting that I would not submit a draft of all the economic clauses at once, but article by article during the course of discussion. Hood said that the British draft on economic clauses, more or less complete, would be circulated soon and a new draft of the clause on restitution would be circulated this week-end. M. Couve de Murville said French draft of economic clauses almost complete and suggested that in any case the sub-committee could meet Monday and prepare an agenda and begin discussion available drafts.

In answer to Hood, Gruber, who was spokesman for Austrian delegation, replied that 90 percent of Carinthian population had voted on 25 November, 1945, for the three Austrian political parties which Carinthians knew stood for the integrity of Carinthia within the Austrian state. In reply to my question as to whether Austria was prepared to discuss Czechoslovak frontier demands bilaterally before or after signing of Austrian treaty, Gruber stated that his government had notified Czechoslovakia that they would study the Czechoslovak demands and discuss them after the establishment of Austrian sovereignty. He stated also that special attention would be given this matter since Austria considered Czechoslovak friendship an essential policy aim.

Gousev asked if the Austrian Government recognized the Moscow declaration13 completely or only partly. Gruber replied completely, but pointed out that in regard to the responsibility of Austria for taking part in the war with Germany, it should be understood that there could be no question of responsibility of the Austrian Government since there had been no such government after the Anschluss and there could only be responsibility of individual Austrians. Furthermore, in judging the part played by Austrians during the war, a balance should be made between the minority which helped the Hitler machine and the majority who opposed it and assisted in their own liberation. This answer did not satisfy Gousev and he stated that the Three Great Powers had stated in November 1943 that they did not recognize the annexation of Austria by Germany. Austria must be considered either as a separate state or a part of the German Reich [Page 123] in the past. Hood said at this point that his government had in fact tacitly accepted the fact that Austria had ceased to exist as a sovereign state in March 1938, and for that reason had wished to make plain in 1943 that the annexation of Austria was null and void. Gruber said that the Moscow Declaration had been addressed to individual Austrians and not to an Austrian state and that recognition of the non-existence of an Austrian state was indicated by the fact that there had been no Austrian Minister at the capital of any one of the states represented by the deputies. Gousev repeated his question whether the Austrian Government recognized completely the Moscow Declaration or not. Gruber replied in the affirmative but stated again that the Declaration in 1943 could not have been addressed to an Austrian state and that the war responsibility of the Austrians could not be judged in 1943 but must be judged now in the light of history and Austria’s contribution to her own liberation. Gousev asked for a detailed estimate by the Austrian Government of the Austrian contribution to their liberation and for an explanation of the words in annex A of their memorandum “supported by the attitude of the Austrian population”. Gruber will present a memorandum on this subject.

Gousev made inquiry as to the number of Austrians serving in the German Army and the number of divisions or military units. Gruber replied that there had been no Austrian divisions but only German divisions in which Austrians had been forced to serve, and that consequently the Austrian Government had no figures. He said he would undertake to submit a memorandum on this subject. Gousev asked that Gruber include in his memorandum data on the number of Austrians employed in military industries and the number who served the German war machine.

Gousev asked if the Austrian Government recognized the Potsdam decision regarding German assets in eastern Austria14 and intended to fulfill it. Hood noted that the decision affected western Austria as well as eastern Austria. Gruber said that Austria recognized the Potsdam Agreement but that the Agreement had never been formally communicated to his government, and that as for fulfilling it his government was bound by the control agreement for Austria15 under Article I B and V which forbade Austria taking any action in this matter without the written permission of the Allied Commission. He said that no instructions had been received from the Allied Commission on this matter. The Austrian Government had written several letters to the [Page 124] Allied Commission regarding this matter, but had received no reply. However, Gruber said, Austria was willing to carry out the provisions of the Potsdam Agreement when ordered to do so by the Commission and wished only that Germanized Austrian property should be restored to Austria in accordance with the London declaration of 1943 regarding forced transfers.16

I commented that on many occasions I had raised the question of German assets in the Control Council, but that the Soviets had always refused to discuss the matter. Gousev said that he was not interested in the past but wanted to know whether the Austrian Government does recognize the Potsdam decision and if it is ready to fulfill its provisions. Gruber then replied categorically that his government recognized the Potsdam decision and that it wanted to begin fulfilling its provisions as soon as it received the order to do so from the Allied Commission.

It was agreed to discontinue the questioning and that the Austrian representatives should be asked to appear at a later date if any of the deputies felt that this would be necessary.17 It was agreed to resume discussion of the political clauses at the next meeting on Monday, February 3.

Pass to War Department for information.

  1. This was the 12th Meeting of the Deputies for Austria.
  2. The reference here is to the Declaration on Austria, included as Annex 6 to the Protocols of the Moscow Tripartite Conference of Foreign Ministers, November 1, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 761. The Declaration on Austria was made public at that time.
  3. See Part IV, paragraph 9 of the Report on the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, August 2, 1945, Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1506.
  4. For the text of the agreement between the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France on the machinery of control in Austria, June 28, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, July 28, 1946, p. 175.
  5. The reference here is to the Inter-Allied Declaration Against Acts of Dispossession Committed in Territories Under Enemy Occupation or Control, released to the press on January 5, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 443.
  6. At the 15th Meeting of the Deputies for Austria, February 5, the Austrian representatives answered a series of questions put by the Deputies; this hearing is summarized in the addendum to document C.F.M.(D) (47) (A) 23, January 30, 1947, not printed.