840.811/7–1548: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State


1333. Though recent months have produced no fresh indications of position Soviets will probably take at Danubian conference (Deptel 368 to Belgrade, repeated Moscow as 795 July 121), it is presumed their line will differ little from views made so clear in the past, particularly at conference of Paris, and Paris and New York CFM’s 1946. Department’s files undoubtedly more complete this respect than ours (see, for example, Danube section, peace treaties report, Division Historical Research project 44 October 1947). In particular, following points seem pertinent:

Soviets have already made it clear they will not accept unanimity voting principle at conference (Depinfotel June 25 and Belgrade’s 790 to Department June 29).2 Even if present Tito-Cominform rift should result in Yugoslavia voting in some instances with western powers and against Soviet bloc (compare Belgrade’s 851 to Department July 7), latter would still have effective majority of six against four (with Austria represented only in consultative capacity). There is no reason to change previous US view that Soviets will continue oppose establishment of any Danube regime providing representation for non-riparian states. In view continuing Soviet propaganda on American and western imperialist designs, Soviets will doubtless develop further Molotov’s Paris argument that imposition any such international regime would be act of imperialism impinging upon sovereignty riparian states, as well as suggestion that if principle of international regime valid, it should also be applied, for example, Suez and Panama Canals. In addition to supporting strongly Austria’s right for representation, western powers should presumably emphasize present lack freedom and equality Danube navigation, referring specifically 50–50 shipping companies monopolistic position and practices, as well possibly as reiterating US occupation southern Germany additional reason for our interest in settlement, and questioning right of both Ukrainian SSR and USSR be recognized as riparian states. Reported Rumanian action in restricting Danube traffic few days ago might also be cited not only as violation peace treaty but example present absence freedom navigation.

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As yet no announcement regarding composition Soviet delegation conference.

May add, with reference Tito-Cominform rift, Yugoslav press attaché has told American correspondents here that if any of them want to go to Belgrade for conference they will be welcomed. This is almost revolutionary change of attitude.

Sent Department 1333, Department pass Belgrade 38.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Neither printed.