863.48/7–2547: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Austria (Keyes) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff


PC–17246. From ComGenUSFA, Vienna, Austria, sgd Keyes cite pasgs to War JCS pass to State. Subject is Allied Council meeting 25 July French Chairmanship.

The United States High Commissioner replied to the Soviet charges made 10 July concerning the United States Relief Assistance Agreement with Austria of 25 June. (Reference cable 7508).33 Full text of United States statement follows:

At the Allied Council meeting of 10 July the Soviet High Commissioner, in a prepared statement, commented on and insisted upon discussion of the relief assistance agreement entered into by the Governments of the United States and Austria on 25 June 1947. Under the terms of Article 6 A of the Control Agreement of 28 June 1946, both the Austrian and the United States Governments were within their rights in reaching the agreement bilaterally. The Austrian Government, under the terms of the same article was required to do no more than bring the agreement to the attention of the Allied Council. It did so at the meeting of 28 June 1947. Nevertheless, I welcome the Soviet High Commissioner’s concern for the effect of the agreement on Austria as a whole, and I hope that his insistence on discussing this matter will serve as a precedent for Allied Council review of all matters of general Austrian interests. With that idea in view I make the following statement.

I welcome the Soviet High Commissioner’s recognition of Austria’s need for economic assistance at this time and his solicitude for Austrian sovereignty in consonance with Moscow Declaration.

As for General Kourasov’s concern about possible American control over the Austrian economy, I can state categorically that the United States does not seek such control and I find it impossible to understand how the furnishing, on a relief basis, of certain basic materials, fertilizers, pesticides, fuel and seeds, should be construed as an attempt to gain control of the Austrian economy. The supervision and control [Page 1191]over the distribution of supplies provided for in the agreement have but one purpose—to assure the American people that their latest contribution to Austrian recovery, coming after more than $200,000,000 already provided since 1945, will be utilized in such a way that all classes of the population, irrespective of purchasing power, will receive their fair and equitable share. The United States would welcome similar action in support of Austria and under the same conditions by any other power. Moreover, no information will be required from the Austrian Government which would not normally be made public or which will not be equally available to each of the other occupying powers.

For the practical accomplishment of this relief program for the benefit of all Austria, I shall welcome the assistance and cooperation of the other three High Commissioners and I invite each of them to assign a representative to accompany the American representatives charged with observing the actual distribution of supplies to the Austrian public. The observation contemplated by the Relief Assistance Agreement will not in any way impair the authority of the Austrian Government, which alone is charged with full responsibility for the distribution of all supplies furnished under the agreement. The American relief program will be carried out within the framework of the Allied Council’s decision of December 13, 1946 dealing with the preparation and approval of monthly food plans, the like of which you have just considered and which included some 17,000 tons of flour now arriving in Austria in accordance with the agreement.

As to General Kourasov’s apprehension that this assistance may not be extended equitably and uniformly to Austria as a whole, I wish to emphasize that, far from having any distrust in the Austrian Government, the United States is confident that the Austrian Government, in carrying out its responsibility for distribution, will allow no zonal discrimination. By the very terms of the agreement the supplies are “to be distributed by the Austrian Government to all classes of people throughout Austria.” End of statement.

At the close of General Keyes’ statement, General Bethouart said: Have the other High Commissioners anything to say in connection with General Keyes’ statement?

General Kourasov : With great attention I have heard the statements made by General Keyes, and with equally great attention I shall try to have this document studied after which I shall be able to express my point of view on it.

General Steele : It seems to me a frank statement which ought to satisfy everybody. I would just like to reserve my position regarding the appointment of a representative to accompany the American representative [Page 1192]for observing the actual distribution of supplies to the Austrian public.

General Bethouart did not comment.

New subjects—Actions of Allied Council.

[The remainder of this message reported upon other matters taken up by the Council.]

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 27, p. 1185.