740.0011 EW (Peace)/8–3049

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Chief of the Division of Austrian Affairs (Williamson)

Participants: Dr. Ludwig Kleinwaechter, Austrian Minister
Mr. Robert Murphy, GA
Mr. Francis T. Williamson, GAA

Dr. Kleinwaechter called immediately following his return from London to communicate Dr. Gruber’s views regarding the conclusion of the Austrian Treaty.

In general terms Dr. Kleinwaechter stated that Dr. Gruber was very anxious to secure the conclusion of the Treaty at this time and feared [Page 1128]that any reference to the Ministers would involve a long delay. He urged that agreement be reached by accepting the Soviet position on the remaining unagreed articles. Dr. Gruber was reported to have considered that undue delay in the conclusion of the Treaty would cause many Austrians in the Eastern zone to join the Communist Party as a measure of self protection. He urged, therefore, that the Treaty be concluded as rapidly as possible and stated that any delay in ratification would not effect the situation in Austria since the mere signing of the Treaty would give the Austrian people hope that the occupation would be terminated at some future time.

In particular, Dr. Gruber requested that the US change its position in order that the Soviet position on the following articles could be met.

Article 16 on displaced persons—to accept the disputed paragraph 5 which requires that Austria shall not give relief to any displaced person who fought against their homeland during the war;

Article 27—the Soviet version prohibiting foreign technicians in civil aviation and permitting the three annexes to be included in the Treaty should be accepted;

Article 35 (German assets)—Dr. Gruber considered that the Soviet position should be met on the question of oil exploration, rolling stock, schedule of payments, and settlement of disputes;

Article 48—the Soviet position regarding pre-1938 debts should be accepted.

Article 48 bis—the Soviet claims for supplies and services furnished by the occupation powers could be met by bilateral negotiations.

Dr. Gruber concluded that in all of the unagreed articles the position of the Western Powers could be met by bilateral negotiations between the Austrians and the Russians if satisfactory treaty language were not achieved in the negotiations.

In reply to Dr. Gruber’s views it was made clear to Dr. Kleinwaechter that the US could not agree to the conclusion of the Treaty through the acceptance of the Soviet terms. It was pointed out that we could not ask the Senate to ratify a Treaty which was made up of a series of concessions to the Soviet Union without evidence that every effort was made to secure better terms or evidence adduced to concessions on the part of the Soviets. Dr. Kleinwaechter was informed that we could not accept a Treaty which nullified the Moscow Declaration by making it possible for the Soviets to impose on Austria a settlement inconsistent with that Declaration or providing a basis for future Soviet domination. It was pointed out further that we could not underwrite an Austrian settlement which required replacing in Austria any industrial or transportation equipment which would be removed by the Soviets under the terms of the Treaty. Finally, Dr. Kleinwaechter was informed that we did not approve of an approach [Page 1129]to the problem of the Treaty which isolated specific instances and required an answer whether the US would block the conclusion of the Treaty on any one issue. He was informed that the remaining unagreed issues constituted a single problem involving the total obligation to be imposed on Austria, its ability to discharge that obligation and the foothold which would be acquired by the Soviet Union for future pressure on the Austrian Government. He was urged to communicate this view to Dr. Gruber in order that the problem of the Treaty might be judged in terms of Austrian security interests and the long range effect which the Treaty would have on Austrian national life.1

  1. On September 1, Williamson reviewed the United States position on the treaty with Kleinwaechter, since Reber had reported from London that Gruber felt the United States was more concerned with the implications of concessions to the Soviet Union than with completion of the treaty and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Austria. Williamson reiterated the effect on public opinion in the United States if the Soviet terms were accepted and the long range effect of such a treaty on Austria. Kleinwaechter stated that he would attempt to clarify the United States view in a message to Gruber. (Memorandum of conversation, September 1, not printed, 740.00119 Council/9–149)