740.00119 Control (Austria)/5–1647: Airgram

The Minister in Austria (Erhardt) to the Secretary of State

confidential

A–192. Vice Chancellor Dr. Adolf Schaerf and Dr. Julius Deutsch have indicated to me in a private conversation a number of relaxations of the burdens of military occupation which the Austrian Socialists consider especially important and ask us to support. Schaerf on May 6 made a speech before the Socialist Party Convention which was distinguished by its defense of the Western Allies, and specifically the U.S., against Communist allegations of ulterior motives. (Reference my despatch 3061 of May 12.11 Analysis of the full text of Schaerf’s speech shows that his defense of the American policy toward Austria was even stronger than was revealed in the Vienna press.) His suggestions for relaxation of Allied controls and extension of Austrian sovereignty are based on the Socialist Party’s announced program, but cover only those points which are considered especially important or easiest of fulfillment:

1.
Renunciation of Occupation Costs. A unilateral step in that direction, Schaerf said, would have a strong effect on the moral position of the other occupation powers. As an alternative, we might propose in the Allied Council that after a certain date, no more occupation [Page 1176]costs should be charged to the Austrian Government. (See Legation’s report 77 November 8, 1946,11a p. 2 and 2a.)
2.
Termination of Civil Censorship. This quadripartite activity, Schaerf said, is primarily supported by the Russians, though entirely paid by the Austrians. Some 2,000 censors are currently employed, and most of them are Communists. Aside from being wasteful of manpower and contrary to avowed U.S. policy, censorship activities are also in conflict with the Austrian constitution.
3.
Relinquishment of Control over Interzonal Travel.
4.
Repeated explicit confirmation that Austrian Law governs throughout Austria. In this connection, mention was made that, for instance, the arrest of Austrian speed violators by American traffic police, and their summary conviction by American courts; are making a bad impression and are considered at variance with the new control agreement.
5.
Customs, Duties, Visas. Schaerf characterized the situation as “particularly humiliating” that French and Russian civilian as well as military personnel are completely exempt from customs examinations. As to visas, he suggested a unilateral declaration that Austrian visas for foreign travelers would be automatically honored in the U.S. zone. (Reference our telegram 42 to London April 24, Secstate 299 May 7, London 77 May 9.12
6.
Release of property, especially dwellings under requisition, also release of the blast furnaces at Linz which the Government is still anxious to barter for Czech coal.

Detailed discussions are at present taking place in USFA with regard to these requests and suggestions, which have also been brought to the personal attention of General Keyes. At the same occasion, Schaerf was informed that the US does not support or associate itself with any one Austrian political party and that consequently it is not true, as rumor in Vienna has it, that the U.S. is more friendly toward the People’s Party or that it is cool toward the Socialists because of their theories about economic planning. Such theories, Schaerf was informed, relate to internal Austrian affairs which it is the U.S. policy to let the Austrians themselves decide.

Erhardt
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