740.00119 Council/6–749

Memorandum by Charles C. Yost of the United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to the Alternate Member at the Council (Jessup)


While in view of the Soviet attitude on German questions there seems little prospect of agreement on the Austrian treaty, I do not [Page 964] believe this should be taken as a foregone conclusion. We considered at Vienna that, though the Soviets would probably prefer, purely from the point of view of their position in Austria, not to have a treaty, nevertheless their interests there are not so vital as to prevent their agreement if they see over-all advantage in so doing. If the Soviets should by chance feel, particularly in the light of almost total disagreement on other issues at the CFM, that their program of appearing to relax tension in the cold war requires some concession on their part, they might consider the Austrian issue as the one they could concede with least damage to their general position. If their interest in relaxing tension is slight, there will certainly be no treaty.

On the Austrian side, there are rather disturbing symptoms of increasing restiveness and impatience which may well boil over if there is no progress at this meeting and particularly if it is not perfectly clear that the Western powers have made every possible effort to push the issue to the utmost. This “boiling over” might take the form of

A bilateral Soviet-Austrian modus vivendi on the German assets issue which would greatly increase the profitability of the Soviet-held enterprises;
A refusal by the Austrians to pay further occupation costs which would confront the British and French with a dilemma and embarrass us indirectly;
A demand for an early troop withdrawal without a treaty which would be less satisfactory to us than would a treaty.

In view of these factors vis-à-vis both the Soviets and the Austrians, it would seem desirable to press the Austrian issue as vigorously as possible before the CFM. It is suggested that in an opening statement the Secretary might wish to point out:

That it is extremely difficult to justify a continued military occupation of Austria six years after the US, USSR and UK agreed at Moscow that she should be treated as a liberated country and four years after the end of the war;
That we strongly urge agreement at this meeting on the three basic issues separating the four Powers and on explicit instructions to the Deputies to complete the drafting of the treaty by September 1;
That as evidence of our good will we are prepared to go far toward meeting the Soviet position on German assets provided we can be assured this settlement will return these assets, except those reserved to the Soviets under the treaty, free and unencumbered to the Austrian economy;
That, while this meeting of the CFM has so far failed to settle the basic obstacles to agreement on a German peace treaty, the Austrian peace treaty affords another opportunity to demonstrate to the world that cooperation among the Great Powers is still possible and still fruitful.

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While these opening remarks will presumably be made in a private session to which the tripartite proposal on Austria is presented, they can, if the Soviets prove unyielding, be repeated later in a plenary session where they will serve not only to impress upon the Soviets the importance we attach to this issue but also to demonstrate to the Austrians that we have done our utmost to obtain a satisfactory settlement.

Charles W. Yost