84.811/7–2748: Telegram

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


950. Deldu 8. USDel had profitable meeting today with Austrian Minister to Bulgaria, Orsini-Rosenberg. Rosenberg plans to claim full voting rights for Austria at early stage in conference and US will support this request, I hope with British and French backing. Austrian delegation appears competent and takes realistic view of possibilities of reaching agreement at Belgrade.1

In general, Austrian views regarding new convention parallel ours. They will observe right to accept or refuse any convention concluded at Belgrade. They do not submit draft treaty and are prepared to accept 1921 convention as basis for negotiation. They feel Russians will advocate two commissions, one for Maritime and one for fluvial Danube, which from Austrian standpoint would be satisfactory. They are concerned about their position on any commission on which their voting position would be weak and are exploring means for strengthening their position in this respect. They will advocate that commission’s procedure require two-thirds majority on the votes and would [Page 633] favor continuance of the prewar arrangement whereby Germany had two votes. We are exploring implications of this suggestion and would appreciate any comment Department may wish to offer.

Austrians are quite naturally concerned about possibility of political interference by Soviets in affairs of riparian states through instrumentality of Danube Commission and would like to limit authority of commission to purely technical matters. They are especially interested in ensuring that commission have no authority to interfere with power plants on Austrian sector of river.

Austrians take legal position that 1921 convention can be abrogated only with unanimous consent of all parties thereto but adopt practical view that non-riparian states signatory to 1921 convention and not represented at Belgrade will undoubtedly accept new convention if agreed upon by all parties to Belgrade Conference.

Delgation leaves by air for Belgrade July 28, a. m.

  1. A more detailed Summary Record of Discussions between the United States and Austrian Delegations to the Danube Conference, held in Vienna on July 27, was sent to the Department of State from Belgrade in despatch No. 682, on August 19, 1948; not printed. (840.811/8–1948)