800.48 FRP/7–2347: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Legation in Austria
534. For Erhardt and Giblin pass to High Commissioner. Dept in general agreement with views expressed Legtel 624 Jul 1730 and Keyes’ P–7547 Jul 1931 re situation created by Kourasov protest of relief agreement and Figl reply. Following points stressed:
- As we see it, your immediate problem not so much that of emphasizing firmness your reaction, means for which lie in your hands, as that of exercising maximum skill in arriving at arrangement with Sov authorities which will permit relief supplies to enter Eastern zone. Legal opinion Dept (Deptel 523, Jul 1832), with informal concurrence legal division General Accounting Office, is that if relief cannot for any reason be distributed one part Austria it can continue be distributed [Page 1189]other parts. If operation relief program for all Austria should prove not possible under agreement as it stands, we are prepared to operate program in three Western zones with possible modification certain provisions existing agreement specifically referring to all Austria. You are accordingly fully backed up under most unfavorable hypothesis that Sov authorities definitely prevent compliance conditions agreement their zone.
- Exhaust means to reach mutually acceptable arrangement. Most important that relief supplies continue to enter Eastern zone, in order to strengthen Aust Govt, to avoid Sov withholding indigenous supplies their zone from Vienna and western provinces, and to forestall division of country if possible. High Commissioner may in his discretion threaten withholding supplies if necessary for purposes bargaining with Sovs, but should also agree to any feasible working arrangements, such as suggestion Legtel 624 that US observation teams in Sov Zone be accompanied by Sov liaison officers, where possible without compromising basic provisions of law. Dept has given explicit assurances to Congress on latter point. Complete reciprocity may be offered for Sov supervision any relief imports they provide.
- No leeway under existing commitment to Congress for High Commissioner to accept merely partial compliance with basic terms of agreement or law, although Dept fully aware that in dealings with Sov authorities such increased manoeuvrability would strengthen High Commissioner’s hand. Meanwhile report soonest any development which cannot be met under your present instructions and if possible suggest arrangements necessary your judgment to counter Sov obstruction in order avoid alternative of confining relief to Western zones.
- Difficulties of situation should not be publicly magnified into greater issue than it actually is. Suggest brief but effective assurance to other High Commissioners, Aust Govt or public that “US intention is to supply relief envisaged by agreement in whatever areas it is possible, to the extent that, in the judgment of the US authorities, the purposes of the agreement can be carried out”. Agreed that Figl will be backed up, but Figl should understand that if Sov authorities do not permit compliance with agreement result will be that despite our understanding of Aust helplessness under circumstances we must nevertheless withhold supplies to Eastern zone. Position of Aust Govt fully appreciated.
- Agree that US, Brit and Fr High Commissioners should be prepared for emergency that may be created if Kourasov refuses to permit working arrangement. Any effort to make US withdraw from [Page 1190]Vienna or attempt to divide country further or abolish Control Council will of course be resisted and should be countered as violation existing agreements between occupying powers.
Repeated to Richard Allen, Rome, as 1210.