740.00119 Council/2–1747: Telegram

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


1077. Delsec 1245 from Clark. Deputies for Austria on February 15 devoted entire session to discussion frontiers, the main issue being Yugoslav claim to part of Carinthia.28 I opened discussion by stating that after hearing oral statements of Yugoslav and Austrian representatives and giving thorough consideration to all written memoranda and data submitted by both parties, US delegation had concluded that Yugoslav claim was not justified and should not be supported. For this reason US maintained position that frontiers should not be changed from those existing prior Anschluss. Paris, substituting for Couve, immediately agreed with me.

Gousev then went into long dissertation on great difference in roles played by Yugoslavia and Austria in the War, on Yugoslavia’s important contribution to allied cause and to sacrifices and deprivations [Page 133] suffered by Yugoslavs. He touched on ethnical problem only slightly, maintaining that diminution Slovene majority in Carinthia proved subjection to Germanization program. He did not mention economic and geographic considerations. Gousev then stated that Soviet Delegation believed Yugoslav claims based on just grounds and that Soviets supported these claims. He proposed referring all data to special committee for study and report to Deputies.

Hood then took same position as US and French, reciting historical facts re Carinthian problem and stating that though events since 1920 plebiscite justified consideration this problem now, British Govt, after careful study all aspects of the case, has concluded that Yugoslav claims not justified and that alterations 1937 frontiers would be great mistake. Starting point UK delegation was Moscow declaration, in view of which it would be disastrous at outset to reduce Austrian territory and thus cause Austrian people to lose confidence in sincerity of Allies in matter of establishing an independent and democratic Austria.

Hood and I both voiced opposition to Gousev’s proposal to refer Carinthia problem to committee, on grounds that nothing further would be gained thereby. I stated it was obvious there was fundamental difference of opinion, that I assumed Deputies themselves had thoroughly studied the matter as I had, and that reference to committee would result only in another delay.

Gousev referred several times to a letter from British Government to Tito, May 12, 1945, in which Yugoslavs were asked to respect 1937 Austro-Yugoslav frontier as temporary frontier pending final settlement at Peace Conference.29 He maintained Yugoslavs interpreted this as British intention to support their claim against Austria and withdraw their troops from disputed areas for this reason. Hood denied letter expressed or implied any promise of British support and pointed out that British policy always has been that final delineation of disputed frontiers should be settled by a treaty. In the interim, temporary delineation is necessary for administrative and control purposes.

Gousev obviously disappointed and perturbed by US and UK refusal to refer whole question to committee. My opinion is that he desired to keep subject under discussion for purposes of impressing Yugoslavs with Soviet interest in their demands, creating additional source of propaganda and withholding Soviet agreement with view to using it later as a bargaining point.

Final action was that US, UK and French Deputies agreed on clause: “The frontiers of Austria shall be those existing on January 1, [Page 134] 1938”. Report to CFM expected to include Soviet views as minority opinion.

Re United States article 830 concerning Austro-Italian agreement of September 5, 1946. Hood and Couve had no objection. Gousev did not commit himself. It was agreed to ascertain views Italian Government on inclusion this clause in Austrian treaty.31

Re US proposal concerning Berchtesgaden salient, Hood and Couve stated agreement but Gousev, inferring that this proposal was inconsistent with mission of preventing Austro-German union, said he could discuss matter only at time peace treaty with Germany. I then stated that we would leave article in draft reported to CFM, showing agreement by all but Soviets.32

Pass to War Dept for information.

Sent Vienna as 50.

  1. This was the 22nd Meeting of the Deputies for Austria.
  2. On May 15, 1945, the American Ambassador in Yugoslavia addressed a note to Yugoslav Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito similar to the British communication of May 12, 1945, to Tito under reference here. For the text of the American note, see telegram 88, May 14, 1945, to Belgrade, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. v, p. 1319.
  3. The article under reference here was included in the proposals of the United States Delegation for the political clauses of a draft Austrian peace treaty, circulated to the Deputies as document C.F.M.(D) (47) (A) 6, January 18, 1947, not printed. The proposed article would have taken note of the Austrian-Italian agreement of September 5, 1946, regarding Bolzano.
  4. At the 28th Meeting of the Deputies for Austria, February 24, 1947, the United States Delegation withdrew its proposal cited in the previous footnote in view of the negative reply returned by the Italian Government to the query addressed to it by the Deputies on this subject. The Italian communication, dated February 20, 1947, was circulated to the Deputies as document C.F.M.(D) (47) (A) 96, February 24, 1947, not printed.
  5. The United States Delegation proposal referred to here called upon the signatories to an Austrian treaty to undertake to support inclusion in the settlement regarding Germany of provisions for freedom of transit and communication between Salzburg and Lofer (Tirol) across the Reichenhall-Steinpass. In the Draft Treaty for the Re-Establishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria, p. 516, this United States proposal was included as an unagreed provision for article 52, p. 557.