740.00119 Control (Austria)/5–1949: Telegram

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

top secret

P 3382. Action Dept of Army for JCS pass to State from PACG USFA sgd Keyes. Subject is prolongation of Austrian occupation.

[Page 1282]

In respect to current deliberations regarding the status of Austria both in Allied and Austrian quarters I believe that we should clearly recognize for policy purposes that the continuation of the occupation of Austria is based upon the existence of East-West ideological differences, and no longer directly related to the military issues determinant in World War II. Consequently, the initial objectives for which the United States occupied Austria have become secondary and the struggle against Communism and against the Soviet aggressive economic and political penetration of Western Europe is now the primary purpose of our presence here. Upon this fact alone should rest the decision and justification of continued military occupation of the country. Knowledge of this policy will assure unity of purpose throughout all branches of our government.

This decision having been taken it should be recognized that benefits to be derived from military occupation will be measured in terms of Western political and strategic gains. Therefore, it is logical and appropriate for the Western powers to assume the financial burden and to pay their costs of the occupation thus compensating Austria for the physical inconvenience, the political interference, the indignity of being occupied and loss of prestige and sovereignty. In this way each will be contributing to the common cause and share in the final benefits.

Although unacknowledged, Austria’s acceptance of the burden of occupation can be considered as her share in the defeat of Communism. It is important, therefore, that the United States Government convince the British and French Governments of this realistic approach in order that the three powers join together in paying their way in Austria, and isolating the Soviet element as the one responsible for the financial difficulties facing the Austrian Government and economy.

Acceptance of this policy will permit united action throughout the departments of our own government as well as between the three Western powers.