No. 545

740.5/8–2751: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Holmes) to the Secretary of State 1


1080. 1. Re first para Embtel 1040 Aug 25.2 This is tel re Austria agenda item.

2. Treaty deps talks

As reported Embtel 637 July 31,3 FonOff is not convinced that new session Aust treaty deps wld produce more good than harm. It feels arguments against session now have been buttressed by current discussions on Trieste which may bring solution that thorny problem. As Sovs have introduced extraneous issue of Trieste into last session of deps, FonOff believes session now wld provide them convenient forum to criticize West and further excuse for refusing any moves in Aust. Temptation for Sovs also to sour atmosphere for revision Ital treaty. They also feel session now not necessary to Aust morale.

On other hand, FonOff realizes desirable maintain continuity of Aust treaty talks and wld probably agree to dep session before end of year, especially if Trieste and Ital treaty revision issues are out of way by that time.

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If US desires another dep meeting soon, best approach to Morrison wld probably be in wider context than Aust: i.e., dept mtg shld be presented as opportunity to test sincerity alleged Sov desire for peace (Malik proposal,4 Morrison letter to Pravda,5 Shvernik letter,6 etc) in particular case where skillful diplomacy might place Sovs in position of putting up or shutting up. Labor party has always maintained that no chance must be lost to seek East-West détente by negotiations.

3. Occupation costs

Perennial question of occupation costs in Aust may become major issue again since Brit and Fr are feeling pinch of rising costs in Aust. FonOff has been under increasing pressure from War Office to get Aust payments to Brit increased, while Exchequer remains adamant against use of sterling to pay deficit. Morrison will probably come to talks fortified with statistics to prove increased occupation costs wld not be intolerable burden for Aust and wld still be smaller slice its budget than most NATO countries are devoting to defense. We have impression Brit very firm on this question, altho it wld probably welcome scheme by which occupation costs payments to UK and Fr cld be camouflaged, with public figure greatly reduced in order discomfit Sovs.

4. Possible steps to help Aust morale

Aust participation in Council of Europe (Vienna’s 730 of Aug 23)7 may be raised by Morrison. FonOff not adverse to Aust membership Council but does not think it desirable to let Aust slip in back door, i.e., through participation technical comites and sending of observers to assembly. Feels Aust must accept responsibilities if it desires benefits.
FonOff considering whether FonMins shld discuss raising Aust legations to embassies.8 This might be at least one tangible result from FonMin’s talks, wld be favorable from viewpoint public relations Aust, and wld be timely reminder that West powers value Aust friendship and cooperation, particularly since Ger missions in 3 capitals will probably soon be raised to embassies.
GA action Brit may wish discuss Aust desire to bring treaty question to UN General Assembly but appear as yet have no strong feelings on subject.

  1. Repeated to Paris and Vienna.
  2. Telegram 1040 described the political situation in Great Britain and British attitudes toward the United States as background for the Secretary’s planned discussions with British Foreign Minister Herbert Morrison. It stated that telegrams would follow outlining the Embassy’s estimate of British attitudes toward each of the agenda items. (396.1–NE/8–2551)
  3. Document 543.
  4. For Malik’s proposal regarding peace negotiations in Korea which was given in a radio speech on June 23, see the editorial note in vol. vii, Part 1, p. 546.
  5. On August 1 Pravda published a statement by Morrison in which he deplored Soviet internal and domestic policies. The Morrison letter was followed by an editorial which rejected Morrison’s charges.
  6. For documentation concerning the exchange of letters between President Truman and President Nikolai Shvernik of the Soviet Union during the summer of 1951, see Documents 787 ff.
  7. Telegram 730 informed the Department of State that while Austria had inquired whether it could send observers to the various committee sessions of the Council of Europe, Gruber did not appear eager to request membership at that time. (740.00/8–2351)
  8. See Document 517.