800.48 FRP/8–2747: Telegram

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

top secret

789. Every effort is being and will be made to secure working arrangement with Soviets permitting us observation and reporting on US relief program in Soviet zone to extent necessary for formal compliance with relief act and relief agreement. However in order to relieve us of pressure of time and to avoid interruption in flow of essential supplies into Soviet zone urgently recommend approval of plan submitted in P 7700 August 2246 which was developed in course of extensive consultation and discussion among General Keyes, Giblin and myself.

In addition to reasons given in reference telegram following points are suggested for Department’s consideration:

Soviets may well be trying to trap us into refusing aid to their zone and their recent attempts here to intensify war of nerves through press and otherwise may have that purpose. Economic sealing off of eastern Austria would fit in admirably with their aims by facilitating [Page 1200]economic integration of area with surrounding eastern countries and leading to ultimate absorption of eastern Austria and Vienna into Soviet sphere politically; but they probably are not ready to repudiate Moscow Declaration unless they can place blame on us. Recent Communist press charges that US will withhold aid from Soviet zone in order to partition Austria suggest Soviets hope we will take action enabling them to place blame on us for that result.
Austrian Socialist Attaché at Paris has written unofficially to Schaerf purporting to summarize conversations with members French Government (principally Mayer, Tanguy-Prigent and Ramadier) concerning Bidault’s report to cabinet in July in which latter is said to have expressed fear Soviets were preparing to repudiate agreements for quadripartite occupation Vienna and to terminate western forces rights of transit and supply through Soviet zone. Western powers could thus be forced withdraw their military establishments from Vienna. While this is only a possibility to be borne in mind (Gruber thinks French are unduly alarmed) Soviets should be deprived of every pretext for such action.
Owing to great importance of partition issue, because of effect on Austria and on other countries, consider it essential to maintain present status quo until meeting CFM November.
Austrian public apparently does not fully appreciate binding effect of relief act stipulations (though effort is being made through Wiener Kurier to explain this point). If current food deliveries were disrupted and supplies to lower Austria shut off, many would interpret this as an act of peevishness against the Soviets on our part.

Sent Department as 789, repeated Paris as 131.

  1. Supra.