45. Telegram From the Delegation at the Vienna Ambassadorial Conference to the Department of State1

2596. Department pass to USIA. Third session Ambassadors Conference began with British Chairman referring to press comments re conference, terming them “based largely on intelligent anticipation”.2 Appealed nonetheless to use utmost discretion in discussion deliberations.

Soviet Ambassador began by stating he would have remarks to make on articles he had reserved for further discussion but would prefer proceed with remaining articles after 35. US Ambassador stated he would have remarks on 35 and suggested after that going on to other articles.

French then took up Article 35 and tabled first paragraph including sub-paragraphs A, B, and C of Article 35 as transmitted Embtel 24623 and suggested Austrian delegate undertake spell out its obligations under Moscow Agreement with Soviets.4 French also made oral suggestion consider principle of non-return former German assets to Germans in all four zones Austria. Asked delegates study proposal and urged no discussion now.

US Ambassador next replied to Soviet “none of your business” argument of yesterday5 by pointing out that German assets East [Page 74] Austria not being given but sold by Soviets to Austrians, that title to some of them far from clear and that Soviets agreed to sell some or all of them on condition that they not be resold to US. Therefore concluded difficult to see that this none of US business. He next pointed out Moscow understandings if carried out change Article 35 since conditions on transfer assets are imposed which not now in Article 35. Expressed belief US prepared to accept new situation for Austria created by Moscow agreements but US concerned to insure that new situation for Austria be stable one. Hence asked that vague but important Moscow arrangements be clearly stated. Added US belief it was important that no foreign power have special rights and privileges in Austria that might threaten Austria’s new status. Called French written proposal interesting and depending on formulation Austria’s obligations tentatively acceptable. Added if prohibition transfer German assets throughout all Austria meant to Germans he prepared consider it sympathetically. Added although US often accused in certain press of wanting return large industrial German assets to Germany, that has never been our intention and is less so now in view proposed new status for Austria. Concluded by stating French proposal as a whole needed careful consideration.

Soviet Ambassador reiterated argument that Article 35 does not envisage any limitations on Soviet right to dispose of its rights and properties Eastern Austria and cannot concern West. Reaffirmed Soviet right to enter agreements with Austria concerning transfer such rights to her. Rejecting US charge that Article 35 could be used by Soviets to interfere internal affairs Austria and US attempt link Article 35 with question Austria’s neutrality, he called charge inadmissible since Austria will be neutral. Added interference in internal affairs inadmissible not only re neutral states but also any states. Charged Western wish to revise agreed Article 35 would cause new complications and delays in preparation treaty. Re French proposal Soviet Ambassador agreed only to reserve right to return to oral portion dealing with non-return former German assets applied throughout Austria, though he stated Soviet “positive” attitude on this question known.

Austria and UK agreed study whole French proposal.

US Ambassador agreed intervention internal affairs all states inadmissible but Soviets asking US to set up state in which USSR has rights to occupy oil fields for 30 years. While same rights existed in treaty prior to Moscow agreement, latter resulted in proposed Austrian neutrality and proposal that other states be asked guarantee integrity Austrian territory. These questions closely connected. US Ambassador reminded Soviets that at Berlin Molotov had proposed redraft paragraph 6 Article 35 at request Figl so Austrians could pay 150 million dollars in goods rather than dollars. As 35 now [exists?] [Page 75] USSR could insist on payment in dollars. “All we ask”, he continued, “is that Soviet-Austrian understanding be recorded in treaty”. Concluded, there are no tricks to our proposal, we would merely want in record where we stand. Asked Sov Amb earnestly to consider Fr proposal without commitment today and added that he could only consider whole Fr proposal and not just part.

Chairman ruled all dels reserved right return to Art 35 later.

Conf next agreed unanimously delete Art 36 at Aust request.

Figl next requested deletion in par 3 Art 38 words “on its own behalf and on behalf of Aust nationals” and “and Ger citizens.” Fr stated preference for retention. US Amb regretted US could not agree since proposal would place Aust nationals in privileged position with respect to number other Allied nationals. US Amb indicated US understanding of Aust Govt difficulties in that some claims already settled. Added that question would arise whether waiver retroactive. Stated while courts could settle such questions he prepared to meet difficulties by proposing that after words in par 3 “powers occupying Germany” insert “and without prejudice to validity of settlements already reached.” Sov Amb reserved right to return to examine Amer proposal, Wallinger also rejected Figl proposal but accepted tentatively US proposal. Chairman then ruled subject reserved for further discussion.

Art 39 retained without discussion.

Following brief recess US Amb asked if conf would agree to West version Art 42 since present version particularly affects US interests. Sov Amb maintained Sov version adopted at Berlin.

Fr and Brit associated themselves with US view. Upon Sov request Figl was asked for his views but remained noncommittal. Discussion on Art was adjourned.

Art 44 retained without discussion.

Figl requested par 1 Art 45 be amended to indicate Aust nationals be paid appropriate compensation for confiscated properties according to principles of international law.6 On par 2 of Art 45 he pointed out practically [particularly?] reparations burden and in case matter resolved among interested states, he would submit future proposal to conf.

All four Ambs requested postponement discussion with US and Sov Ambs pointing out Figl’s proposal re par 2 would affect Yug interests. Since conf would obviously like to know Yug views US Amb [Page 76] hoped this would not delay treaty work. Chairman ruled Art 45 adjourned for later discussion.

Figl next asked deletion Art 48 bis but Fr referred par 2 Art 48 and repeated interpretation as made in prior negotiations. Wallinger proposed deletion first par Art 48 as obsolete. Before expressing own views Sov Amb asked Aust views on par 1. Figl asked for deletion. US Amb stated no objection to deletion. Fr agreed delete par 1. Sov Amb reserved right to return later. Chair adjourned discussion.

Conf agreed unanimously delete Art 48 bis at Austrian request.

Figl next requested deletion Art 49 as obsolete. Fr and US supported request while Sov and UK reserved for later discussion.

Arts 50, 52, 52 bis, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57 retained without discussion. Figl later referred Art 54 and reserved right raise in connection with discussion annexes.

Figl next requested re Art 58 para 2 accession instruments should be deposited Vienna instead Moscow. Wallinger suggested Figl consider also 59 whereupon Figl asked ratification instruments be deposited Vienna and Ger text made authentic. Wallinger stated Austs had actually four proposals: One, deposit accession instruments Vienna. Two, make Ger text authentic. Three, deposit ratification instruments Vienna. Four, treaty document itself deposited Aust archives instead Moscow. Sov Amb objected to 1, 3 and 4 and reserved his position on 2. Fr agreed with Sovs but indicated preparedness accept Ger text if other dels would. US Amb ready concur any or all four proposals. Wallinger agreed with Fr proposal and ruled Art 58 stands while discussion adjourned on 59.

US Amb added US desire delete in par 3 Art 59 words “and have affixed thereto their seals” pointing out that all expect signing will have to take place in great hurry and affixing seals cumbersome lengthy operation. Added US views on how treaty should be prepared as in Deptel 3083.7 Chairman asked US to prepare proposal on technical aspects and circulate to joint Secretariat.

Sov Amb now asked to return to arts which had been reserved. Stating USSR guided by spirit of wishing conclude treaty quickly he proposed entire Art 16 deleted. Four other dels thanked Sov Amb and heartily supported move.

Sov Amb next supported Aust proposal to delete last par of par 4 in Art 18. Others quickly agreed.

Sov Amb next stated that number of unagreed arts still before conf citing 17, 19, 25, 33 and 35. USSR desiring complete agreement and speedy treaty, he stated Sovs prepared support Fr proposals [Page 77] delete 17, 19 and 25. He added hope he would meet same understanding from West re Sov proposals on Art 33 and especially 35.

Brit supported deletion Art 19 immediately.

Fr offered accept Sov proposal on Art 33 if others agreed.

US Amb indicated agreement with Sov suggestion. Added on Sov proposal re Art 33 he had not received instructions. Pointed out difficulty all conferees faced on ratification question. Said we cannot know in advance what various legislatures will do in this respect and thus to some extent effect Sov proposal depends on date of signing. Reiterated US interest in earliest signing but legislative schedules uncertain and withdrawal troops complicated and time consuming.

Brit stated Arts 33 and 35 required further study and hence he would reserve position on Arts 17 and 25.

Meeting adjourned 1900. Next meeting Thurs 1430.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–455. Confidential; Niact. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Bonn, and pouched to Rome. Transmitted in two sections.
  2. The meeting was held from 2:30 to 7:02 p.m. May 4 with the same heads of delegations present as at the first two meetings. The U.S. Delegation unofficial verbatim minutes of the session were transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 1273 from Vienna, May 4. (Ibid.) A summary of the records of decisions taken at the meeting was transmitted in telegram 2591 from Vienna, May 4. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 2462 reads as follows:

    “1. The Soviet Union, United Kingdom and United States of America and France have the right to dispose of all German assets in Austria in accordance with the protocol of the Berlin Conference of August 2, 1945.

    • “(A) The above property, rights and interests shall be transferred as they exist, including such improvements and equipment as have been added to them while under control of the powers referred to above.
    • “(B) The above property, rights and interests shall be transferred to Austria without any charges or claims, including creditor claims, on the part of the Allied and Associated Powers arising out of the Allied control of these properties, rights and interests after May 8, 1945. Austria for its part waives all claims, including claims for taxes, against the Allied and Associated Powers in respect of such properties, rights and interests.
    • “(C) The handing over to Austria of all properties, rights and interests above shall be completed within two months from the date of entry into force of the present treaty.” (Ibid., 396.1–VI/4–2655)
  4. See Document 26.
  5. See Document 43.
  6. The full text of the Austrian draft was transmitted in telegram 2595 from Vienna, May 4. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–455) On May 5 the U.S. Delegation was informed that this amendment could not be accepted since it might make the United States liable to pay compensation for property that was not returnable under U.S. law. (Telegram 3135 to Vienna; ibid.)
  7. Telegram 3083 transmitted detailed instructions on the technical aspects of signing the treaty. (Ibid., 396.1–VI/4–3055)