763.0221/1–2152: Telegram

No. 788
The United States High Commissioner for Austria (Donnelly) to the Department of State1

top secret

2383. Meeting held today with western HICOMs before and after quadripartite meeting occ costs.2 At morning meeting with western colleagues, we discussed Figl letter reported to Dept Embtel 2365 Jan 18,3 as well as general subject occ costs figures. Regarding letter, general agreement that it was ill-advised on part of Aus Govt. We agreed that a strong negative reply essential preserve quadripartite unanimity, and draft reply formulated, later approved at HICOM afternoon meeting on occ costs.

I laid cards on table at morning western meeting, giving my French and Brit colleagues gist Deptel 1827, Jan 19.4 I continued stress need for paring costs to minimum. Caccia offered immed furnish me specific breakdown, stating he felt confident he could demonstrate need for more than 185 million schilling figure. Payart as usual, ill at ease at mention breakdown of occ costs.

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In afternoon meeting attended by Kraskevitch, Payart, Caccia, with myself in chair, reply to Figl letter (Embtel 2372, Jan 215) agreed.

After preliminary remarks, with French stating they would recommend figure 185 million plus escalator, plus cash provision, and Brit stating would recommend 185 million, Kraskevitch blandly stated: “The Sov element will accept any amount not lower than 151 million schillings under condition that we reach quadripartite agreement on this figure.” Accuracy this statement re-checked in direct question to Sovs. Sov statement completely surprised Brit and French reps, although not entirely unexpected by US as reflected in Embtels.

Sov added also prepared to accept 185 million or any figure in between as long as quadripartite agreement. Brit and French reps requested time to relay info their govts before further discussion. Next quadripartite meeting tentatively set to follow ALCO of Jan 25, although Payart stated would probably need further time to receive instructions in view newly formed govt in Paris.6

Brief meeting at French Emb later this afternoon between Payart, Caccia and myself. It was agreed that Brit and French will send technical reps to meet with us in next few days for comparison breakdown occ costs. I proposed, subject approval Dept, that deputies now in London be instructed proceed Paris prior to return to Vienna for discussion basic military aspects relating to occ costs with SHAPE. I feel that Dowling might, for our part, be most helpful in frank discussion military aspects our problem since French and Brit reps continually insist they will be forced to reduce present troop strength Aus, rather than increasing strength as has been suggested. Sov move today appears another confirmation that they have no intention conclude state treaty at any early date.

In conclusion, while I regret obvious discomfiture Brit and French colleagues to Sov benefit, I feel that quadripartite unanimity in this matter is more imperative than ever and believe French and Brit now have little alternative than accede to maximum proposal previously made by me, namely 151 million schillings plus escalator, plus cash provision.7

  1. Repeated to London for Dowling and to Paris.
  2. The minutes of the Allied Council meeting of Jan. 21 are in ALCO records, lot 62 F 6, “Allied Commission Minutes—1952”.
  3. Telegram 2365 transmitted the text of a letter from Figl to the Allied Secretariat, dated Jan. 16, in which Figl protested the burden of occupation costs and demanded the abolition of cash payments for this purpose. (763.0221/1–1852)
  4. See footnote 3, supra .
  5. Telegram 2372 transmitted the text of the Allied reply to Figl informing him that the occupying powers “will require the Austrian Government to pay all bills in the same manner as in the past.” (763.0221/1–2152)
  6. Following the resignation of René Pleven’s government on Jan. 7, Edgar Faure formed a new government on Jan. 20.
  7. Following meetings with the French and British High Commissioners on Jan. 25 and 30, at which British agreement was obtained for the figure of 151 million schillings in occupation costs, followed shortly afterward by French approval, the four High Commissioners met on Feb. 14 and agreed to accept that figure for 1952 occupation costs along with the escalator and cash provisions. (Telegram 2660 from Vienna, Feb. 14, 763.0221/2–1452) The Austrian Chancellor was informed of this decision by means of a letter from the Allied Secretariat on Feb. 18; a copy of this letter, which had not yet been sent, was transmitted to the Department of State in despatch 1281 from Vienna, Feb. 15. (763.0221/2–1552)