740.00119 Control (Austria)/5–549: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Austria (Keyes) to the Department of the Army


P 3312. From USFA sgd Keyes for JCS State and ECA from PACG.

1. We have had under consideration for several weeks the matter of revision of the control agreement for Austria. This is a recurring project on a statement in article 14 of the control agreement which provides for consultation by the four powers six months after the approval agreement of 461 with a view to its revision. The fact that no such formal consultation has taken place as well as the fact that at an Allied Council meeting last year a proposal by the French element suggesting a revision was warded off by the Soviet element by a statement that it was without authority to make such revision, is sufficient evidence that a formal proposal for revision would probably never be accepted locally. Our present review of this matter was initiated with a view to its propaganda value for possible use at the termination of the current treaty discussions in London.2 The Socialist Party has made this subject a campaign issue and by so doing has practically nullified the propaganda advantage from our point of view. Minister Gruber of the People’s Party told Mr. Reber he did not feel this of great importance, however, we believe support of this position by the People’s Party will undoubtedly follow.

Were the four powers concerned cooperative and moved by the same desires a substantial revision could be made and with benefit to all concerned; however with the established opposing points of view there is no more hope of bettering the present agreement than there is of getting an acceptable agreement on the state treaty. While certain provisions in the present agreement are objectionable some of them are rarely involved and on the whole the agreement restrains the Soviet element and affords protection to the Austrians. Any revision acceptable to the Soviet element will entail important concessions on the part of the western elements, within the end, the retention or even strengthening of those articles now objectionable to the western elements and the Austrians. As indicated by Mr. Gruber to [Page 1280]the chargé d’affaires of the Legation he fears that conclusion of a new control agreement would be taken by the Austrian public to be an indefinite prolongation of occupation.

Should it become advisable or appropriate to attempt revision on government level it should be effected here within the framework of the Allied Council. There is precedence [precedent?] for this as the present control agreement was negotiated here. Each time that matters are taken out of Council it not only weakens the council as a whole but invites the Austrian Government to seek action out of channels and usually results in an uncoordinated solution.

2. It is not felt that the suspension of the treaty talks will change local conditions materially. The population is well informed on the talks and are prepared for a suspension or even a complete breakoff of the talks. Neither is it expected that the Soviets will change their attitude or policies materially as a result of suspension of the treaty talks.

3. Do believe however, if no settlement to the Austrian problem is reached at either the London Deputies meeting or the CFM there should be some specific recommendation submitted by the western powers to relieve the burden on Austria. We are now working on recommendations on this subject.

PolAd concurs.

  1. For the text of the New Control Agreement for Austria, signed at Vienna June 28, 1946, see A Decade of American Foreign Policy, Basic Documents, 1941–1949, p. 614; for documentation relating to the negotiation of the agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. v, pp. 283 ff.
  2. For documentation relating to the first series of meetings of the Deputies for Austria of the Council of Foreign Ministers, London, February 9–May 10, see pp. 1066 ff.