740.00119 Council/7–2349: Telegram

The United States Deputy for Austria at the Council of Foreign Ministers (Reber) to the Secretary of State

secret

2906. Delau 183. From Reber. As will have been apparent from our daily reports of meetings no real progress has been made during the past week. It is true two Articles have been agreed1 but these did not present any differences of real importance. Soviet representative continues to insist upon rigid adherence to the wording of the Paris communiqué2 or upon acceptance of Soviet proposals as presented. In discussing Articles other than those covered by Paris decision, Zarubin has tediously reiterated well-known arguments hitherto employed.

It may be that the Soviets will be prepared to alter their position when the questions of oil and Danube shipping properties have been settled. This is the belief of my French and British colleagues. But we must not count on any substantial modification of Soviet claims in these important fields.

[Page 1109]

After we have considered the list of properties, should the Soviets then maintain their present rigid position and block progress on other issues, we must shortly be in a position to indicate our minimum requirements which if not obtained, will require further consideration of the treaty by the Ministers with the likelihood that the passage of time will not have improved the possibilities for agreement. I should appreciate an early expression of the Department’s views in this respect as I believe it will shortly be necessary for the three Western deputies to consider this larger aspect in order to present a common front. In my opinion these minimum requirements, in addition to oil properties to be discussed in separate telegram,3 appear to be a satisfactory adjustment of Paragraph 5 of Article 16, Article 27, the inclusion of transport and industrial equipment in war booty to be relinquished by the Soviets, a clear statement of the application of Austrian law, agreement upon the appointment of the third arbiter and Article 42 with adequate provision for compensation of UN interests affected by Article 35.

I fully appreciate the importance of formulating language which will reduce to a minimum possibilities of future misunderstanding and shall of course make every effort in this respect. The question which arises is, however, whether in the last analysis evacuation of Soviet troops and relinquishment by the Soviets of industrial properties now held by them will accomplish more toward limiting the area of Soviet control than additional treaty provisions which though desirable can be purchased only in return for other concessions. Our objective in securing a treaty for Austria, clearly delimiting the necessary concessions to the Soviets, is to create conditions in Austria and so to strengthen the Austrian Government as to make a repetition of what occurred in Hungary by means of Communist domination of the government difficult. In my opinion it is more material to determine without delay how Austria is to meet the obligations of payment to the Soviet Union rather than to discuss what might happen in the case of default which depends on many conditions not predictable at this time. It is equally urgent that Austria be in a position to ensure its internal security and for this purpose plans and preparations for the establishment of the Austrian Army4 on a realistic basis must be expedited. These, however, are not treaty issues as such but an early [Page 1110]solution of the problem put by them would obviate many of our difficulties as regards language in the treaty.5

Sent Department 2906; repeated Vienna 172.

[
Reber
]
  1. At their 106th meeting July 1, the Deputies had agreed on the text of Article 5 to read: “The Frontiers of Austria shall be those existing on January 1, 1938.” Article 2 was agreed at the 169th meeting of the Deputies July 4. It read: “The Allied and Associated Powers declare that they will respect the independence and territorial integrity of Austria as established under the present Treaty.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 114: Records of Decisions)
  2. Ante, p. 1062.
  3. Telegram 2915 (Delau 187), July 25, from London, not printed (740.00119 Council/7–2549).
  4. For documentation relating to the U.S. interest in the establishment of the future Austrian Army, see pp. 1236 ff.
  5. In telegram 2655 (Audel 106), July 28, to London, not printed, the Department of State concurred with Reber’s analysis of the minimum requirements for the treaty. It further stated that its instructions had been designed to secure a treaty which gave the Soviet Union no basis for unwarranted claims in Austria after the withdrawal of the occupation forces and made the Austrian Government fully aware of the extent of its obligation to the Soviet Union. (740.00119 Council/7–2549)