Vienna Legation Files

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

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P–7681. To War JCS pass to State from Keyes. Soviet reply40 to my statement of July 25 reiterated charges July 10 and called for abrogation of those parts of the Austro-American Assistance Agreement which contravene the provisions of the Moscow Declaration, the Allied Council Agreement and the prerogatives of the High Commissioners. I pursued subject and submitted letters to other three Commissioners requesting approval of my suggested plan for supervision. In spite of definite Soviet position taken, Kourasov agreed to study the plan and as Chairman advised other High Commissioners to do the same. See our P–7663, 15 August.41 This statement, and the fact that no relief supplies furnished under PL–84,42 have entered Soviet Zone, avoided the necessity of facing immediately the decision to exclude Soviet Zone from benefit US Foreign Relief Program. Failure to include Soviet Zone will abrogate Allied Council Agreement of 13 December 1946 “Both indigenous food and that to be imported by any of the four occupying Powers for civilian use will be pooled and placed at the disposal of the Austrian Government for distribution throughout Austria in accordance with the monthly food plan adopted by the Allied Council. The Allied Council, basing itself on the principle of the economic unity of Austria, confirms that food reserves may be transferred in accordance with the approved monthly food plan.” It is believed that the most probable results of failure to include Soviet Zone in distribution of relief supplies will be:

To place upon the US, the onus for the partition of Austria.
To bring counter action by Soviet by closing Zone to indigenous food exports to other Zones. As Soviet Zone furnishes most of the indigenous [Page 1196]food available for distribution, it will require the equivalent of 112,800 metric tons of flour or over 13 million dollars more food to sustain the 1550 calorie ration in the three Western Zones and Vienna than it will for Austria as a whole.
To endanger plan to continue feeding Vienna as Soviet may stop shipment of indigenous food from all zones to Vienna which includes all the milk, potatoes, fresh eggs and fresh meat. Soviet could also prevent shipment of our relief supplies across their zone to Vienna thus effectively starving the population of the city.
To cause the fall of the Figl Government as the present government would be unable to help population Soviet Zone and Vienna and immediate political crisis would arise. The fall of the Austrian Government might well involve the break-up of People’s Party–Socialists coalition.
To bring Soviet counter action by stopping delivery of all indigenous POL products to western zones and Vienna which would to a large extent prevent collection of indigenous foodstuffs, stop distribution of relief supplies except by rail, stop bus service, ambulances, police vehicles, and garbage collection, thus causing disease and unrest. Such action on part of Soviet would close certain large industrial enterprises which use crude oil, affect operation of the Vienna Gas Works, especially if the supply of natural gas should be cut off at the same time. Refer to our P–7671 18 August and USFA 2 and 5 of TT 37 18 August43 which states the urgency of our requirements for a reserve of POL.

All of the above appears to be the objective of the Soviets if responsibility for such action can be transferred to us in any way. It is our intention to delay entry of State supplies to Soviet Zone until final definite decision of Soviet is determined. You are aware that resources of Soviet Zone are now pooled with other indigenous production and that U.S. imports are essential to maintain present situation. Without waiting for council meeting, intend to discuss informally with Soviet their attitude and specific objections to Relief Agreement. Kourasov cited specific objection to Article II Paragraph A, Article IV Paragraph c and Article VII paragraph b. He stated these paragraphs to be in obvious contradiction with the new control agreement and the Allied Council decision 13 December 1946 partly quoted above. Refer to our P–7508, 11 July for Kourasov’s complete statement. I intend to approach the Soviets at once with following tentative proposals. Request your comment soonest:

After the word “agreement” in Paragraph A, Article II, add the following “and in accordance with the terms of the control agreement [Page 1197]for Austria dated 28 June 1946 and the decision of the Allied Council dated 13 December 1946 regarding the food supply to Austria.”
To change Paragraph c Article IV to read, “The Austrian Government will furnish regularly current information to representatives of the Four Powers regarding plans and progress in increasing production and improving collection of locally produced food stuff suitable for relief throughout Austria.”
To change Paragraph B Article VII to read, “The Austrian Government will furnish promptly upon request of any of the Four Powers information concerning the production, use, distribution, importation, and exportation of any supplies which affect the relief needs of the people.”

In spite of the above offered changes to the Relief Agreement the Soviets may remain adamant in their demands for abrogation of certain parts of the agreement. If so, to continue the consideration of Austria as a whole, may further modifications be offered? In this case, what further modifications may be offered?

Appreciate necessity of fulfilling the requirements PL 84 but since none of these supplies are entering Soviet Zone believe this continued negotiation necessary in order to avoid complete failure of our Government’s Mission to maintain a unified and independent Austria. Political Adviser concurs.

  1. Reference to the statement by Kurasov at the August 14 meeting of the Allied Council.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The Foreign Relief Act of May 31, 1947; see footnote 10, p. 1174.
  4. Neither printed.