740.00119 Council/6–1049: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers

top secret
us urgent

Secdel 1671. We have recently reviewed Aust problem in light of probable course of CFM discussions1 and resumption Deputies’ negotiations,2 [Page 1283] and believe plans shld be formulated immediately with Brit and Fr at Paris with regard to positive steps that can be taken now. Problem is to offset developing political situation in Aust which is compound of disappointment over lack of achievement of Treaty discussions, exasperation with burdens and restrictions of military occupation, and opportunity presented by approaching elections3 to fan resentment against occupation powers for failure to resolve their differences at expense Aust people. Opportunistic elements already making determined effort to turn opposition which Aust people have felt against Sov policies by shifting blame for continuation occupation to Western powers.

Under circumstances, believed that strength Western position will be progressively undermined if we remain content merely with status quo for indefinite future pending successful conclusion of Treaty. Equally undesirable to endeavor bolster Aust sentiment by unilateral concessions our part. In view need to provide adequate safeguards for maintenance internal security and protection southern frontier as well as need to settle German assets question on Treaty basis, we consider that drastic break shld not be made in present four-power arrangements. On other hand a progressive solution liberalizing four-power occupation policy, such as substantial reduction occupation forces, progressive relinquishment Allied Council authority, and shift to civilian High Commissioner wld meet Aust criticism until agreement is reached on remaining basic issues in Treaty.

Consequently we favor solution along foregoing lines. Detailed memorandum being dispatched air pouch. Recommendations approved include:

Discussions immediately with Brit and Fr to formulate program to be followed on either tripartite or quadripartite basis. Problem of occupation costs shld be reopened with Brit and Fr on high level and effort made convince them of necessity assuming such costs in Aust.
If agreement that action shld be initiated in Paris, tripartite program might be presented Sov FonMin in Paris, urging him cooperate in creating conditions in Aust which will approximate post-treaty period and proposing definite steps. Proposals might include appointment civilian High Commissioners; abolition present controls over Aust govt except for functions specifically reserved to AC by Art 5 of Control Agreement; reduction mili forces to minimum figure required for merely police functions. Actual number of troops wld be determined by agreement. Our maximum position shld be to obtain equal number of approximately 8,000 in each zone. Failing this we [Page 1284] shld seek approximate limitation Sov forces to 15,000 with 5,000 in each of Western zones. While steps are now being taken to train police, we shld seek to obtain agreement for training gendarmerie and possibly seek formation of army as agreed in Treaty to assume gradually security functions now exercised by occupying powers.
In view desirability divorcing action this type from actual treaty negotiations, recommend that action shld be initiated informally in Paris and distinct from Treaty negotiations. Discussion of specific proposals should be conducted by High Commissioners, Vienna or through regular diplomatic channels.
If Sov refuse agreement recommend that steps along line proposed above be taken by three Western Powers to extent possible without prejudicing our existing rights under Control Agreement or involving reduction troop strength on unilateral basis.

Action proposed would not invite split of Aust as it would leave intact Control Agreement as basic law covering Pour Power relations. Negotiation of a new Control Agreement would involve same difficulties encountered in Treaty discussions. Secondly, we do not consider that action proposed wld affect our security interests as it would provide for safeguards against internal disorder and maintain the Allied Council as check against Sov efforts to extend their authority beyond Eastern zone. Finally, such action would not be interpreted as a substitute for the Treaty since it wld not attempt local settlement of disagreed Treaty issues. If proposals were accepted by Sovs it would result in distinct material advantages for Aust. If rejected by Sovs Western position would be strengthened and subsequent steps by Western powers wld ease burden of occupation in Western zones. In view of the probable timing of discussion of Aust it seemed desirable to transmit our thinking along above lines.

Discussions at present being held with Dept Army. Mili aspects are under consideration by JCS and will be subject of further communication.4

  1. For documentation relating to the proceedings of the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Paris, May 23–June 20, 1949, see pp. 913 ff.
  2. The Deputies for Austria at the Council of Foreign Ministers resumed their deliberations on July 1 in London. For documentation on their discussions, see pp. 1097 ff.
  3. For documentation relating to the formation of new political parties in Austria and the national elections of October 9, 1949, see pp. 1206 ff.
  4. For the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning the military aspects of the solution outlined in this telegram, see the letter from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of State, June 15, p. 1285.