740.00119 Council/1–1748: Telegram

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

secret

60. Allied Council meeting January 16. No agreement on any subject. US element introduced paper on turn over of additional responsibilities to Austrian Government. Soviets (a) attempted to place Allied Council on record as approving or disapproving changes in Austrian Government, (b) issued the expected blast against Austrian Government for laxness in denazification (coupled with this was attack against three other elements for alleged indulgence of such Austrian laxness), (c) read lengthy statement, reported more fully by USFA, claiming that western allies systematically block demilitarization of western zones “in order to transform western Austria into military base of Anglo-American imperialism.”

Soviet statements were replete with misstatements of fact and deliberately strong language. On denazification Soviets repeated distortions which had only few minutes before been factually refuted by Winterton. Tenor and timing of demilitarization statement make it seem likely it was prepared by or at least specifically authorized by Moscow. Attack against western allies for building up “war potential” of their zones closely parallels propaganda line used in Germany which so far has not been major Soviet topic here.

Some long range significance also adheres to Soviet stand on changes in Austrian Government. Issue was reply to letter of Chancellor announcing appointment of Migsch as Minister of Power, US element consistently took position changes in Austrian Government do not require Council approval but are administrative measures which stand-unless [Page 1412]unanimously disapproved by Council. Although in 1945 Council did specifically approve Cabinet list, US took position that February 1947 appointment of Altenberger constituted best precedent. At that time Council merely noted change in government.

Other significant items of agenda were autobahnen and Austrian budget, which are fully reported in USFA telegram,1 as is reception accorded the US proposal for increased responsibilities of Austrian Government.

Erhardt
  1. Not printed.