863.48/8–2247: Telegram

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

top secret

P–7700. From ComGenUSFA Vienna Austria sgd Keyes cite pasgs to JCS pass to State info AmEmbassy Rome for Allen Belief Administration. Reference paragraph 3 Top Secret rad July 23, 1947, Secretary State to Vienna for Erhardt and Giblin,44 and our P–7681, 19 August.45

Subject is relief supplies for Austria.

We will not make the tentative proposals for modifying relief agreement mentioned in paragraph 5 of our P–7681, 19 August. Pending your reply to the following proposed plan informal discussions with the Soviets will continue in an effort to clarify their position.

In view impossibility of securing at this time satisfactory plans of cooperation from Soviets in order to implement PL 84 and relief assistance agreement we cannot authorize distribution State Department [Page 1198]supplies Soviet zone. Since provisions PL 84 can be met Vienna and 3 western zones distribution will continue there as planned. Soviet statements, Communist press attacks and our negotiations indicate Soviets believe they have us in position whereby any action we take on this matter will work to their benefit.

They believe that if agreement is altered substantially Soviets can claim responsibility for alteration and thus state that only upon their insistence was sovereignty of Austria maintained.
If we deny assistance to Soviet zone we break existing quadripartite agreement regarding the pooling of food resources and thus justify expected Soviet action in refusing to release to other zones excess indigenous production from their zone. This would be the first step toward division of Austria. Division at this time coinciding with new harvest starting 16 September will give Soviets tactical advantage in use of surplus indigenous production to increase caloric diet population their zone.

[Here follows a brief review of food availabilities in the Soviet zone of occupation of Austria and estimate of increased import requirements for the American, British, and French zones should the Soviet zone resources be cut off.]

In view of this situation believe we should avoid relief assistance agreement becoming Soviet vehicle by which Austria is partitioned. Propose that WD/CA/MG stocks be used for Soviet zone and State DML stocks be restricted to distribution 3 western zones and entire city of Vienna where no obstacles exist.

[Here follows a detailed plan for the distribution of food relief to the Soviet zone of occupation of Austria.]

Briefly by the expending of 3,374 metric tons of fat and 5,094 metric tons of pulses from CA/MG stocks and by restricting State program to Vienna and western zones, we will:

Checkmate any Soviet attempt to make our failure to distribute food in their zone responsible for the break up of Austria.
Remove a threat to the stability of the present friendly Austrian coalition government.
Preclude the additional import of the caloric equivalent of 112,814 tons of wheat representing the additional expenditure of $13,000,000 to maintain current ration level in western zones and Vienna until July 1, 1948.
Prevent a complete shut-off of the only available source of indigenous petroleum products. The elimination of the Soviet zone from the benefits of United States relief would in effect bring about an economic and political division of Austria and a retrogression to the status prior to 1 April 1946, the pre-UNRRA period. The objectives [Page 1199]of United States occupation so bitterly fought for in the ACA for the past 2 years and the millions of dollars expended in an effort to bring about economic recovery to hold these objectives will be lost. The Soviets will thus have attained their primary objective of weakening the economic and political structure of Austria and thereby facilitate the spread of Communism.

Propose to utilize CA/MG stocks in Soviet zone and utilize State Department stocks in all parts of Austria that comply with provisions of PL 84. Under this plan we do not anticipate any change in the United States Austrian agreement of 25 June 1947. We will continue our attempts to secure entry into Soviet zone. It urgently desired that the contents of this plan be kept “Top Secret” until approved and implemented inasmuch as we will continue to press the Soviets for their cooperation.

Distribution of coal does not present a problem since requirements of Soviet zone can be met from barter agreements and purchases from other funds available to Austrians.

We feel that food and coal are the crux of the problem in Austria and we are confident that the above plan will permit a satisfactory solution for other items procured under PL 84.

Request approval of above plan. Political Adviser concurs.

  1. Telegram 534, July 23, to Vienna, p. 1188.
  2. Supra.