The Ambassador of the Soviet Union (Panyushkin) to the Secretary of State

No. 57

The Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics presents its compliments to the Department of State and, in reply to the Department of State’s note of February 27 concerning postponement of the convocation of a conference on the Danube, upon instructions from the Soviet Government I have the honor to communicate the following:

The Soviet Government cannot agree to the proposed postponement of the convocation of a conference on the Danube in view of the fact that the settlement of questions of navigation on the Danube is of grave importance to the Danube countries, particularly in connection with forthcoming navigation. As to the consideration expressed in the said note concerning the inexpediency of setting a definite date for calling a conference in view of the fact that the question of the treaty with Austria has not yet been settled, such an argument cannot be recognized as well founded. The decision of the Conference of Foreign Ministers of December 6, 1946 in New York did not provide for the obligatory participation of Austria in the conference, which, according to the first paragraph of the aforementionel decision, must be called within six months from the time the peace treaties with Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary come into force. Provision was made for the participation of Austria in conferences only after the treaty question has been settled with Austria.

In view of the foregoing, the Soviet Government proposes that a conference be called for drawing up a new convention on a system of navigation on the Danube at the earliest possible date, in any event [Page 595] not later than April or May of this year in the city of Belgrade.4

  1. The note of March 12, 1948, in reply from the Ambassador of France Henri Bonnet, and the note of March 13, from the Ambassador of the United Kingdom Lord Inverchapel, were both agreeable to the proposal to prolong the time until the end of 1948 for calling a conference on the navigation of the Danube river. Neither commented on the question of a treaty with Austria or about Austrian participation in a conference.