58. Telegram From the Delegation at the Vienna Ambassadorial Conference to the Delegation at the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting, at Paris1

404. Soviet Rep stood firmly on his position on Art 35.2 French tabled new formulation of what was in essence my proposal, text of which will be telegraphed separately.3 Sov Rep refused despite our repeated urging to produce any new reasons why he could not agree to some solution which would meet our concern. I stated that if Aus and Sov Governments could conclude bilateral agreement covering points we had raised in time for Foreign Ministers meeting we could agree that such agreement not be annexed to the treaty provided the treaty itself contained appropriate reference to it.

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As there were indications he was merely probing strength of our position I took firm line and was supported by Brit and French. I stated that while I would need instructions to say so officially, I was convinced that Secy Dulles would not come to the meeting we were endeavoring to arrange for the end of this week unless we were sure that the problem we had raised would be resolved.

During the tea interval we endeavored to ascertain whether possibility of return of oil fields to foreign control was the stumbling block. In order to prevent Sovs from breaking story that we were blocking treaty over this issue, I told Ilyichev that the Austs had made clear that they did not intend to transfer them to US or anyone else and indicated that we might be able make this clear in some form or another. He showed considerable interest in this idea and I believe that if we are willing to attach to the treaty an annex along the following lines we can obtain agreement our proposal:

“Austria, for its part, undertakes not to pass to foreign ownership those rights and properties indicated in lists 1 and 2 of Article 35 of the State Treaty which are acquired thereby by the Soviet Union and which will be transferred to Austria by the Soviet Union in accordance with annex———.”

Since we have already reached agreement in principle with the Austrians on this point and the oil companies have accepted it, there would be some advantage in making it public and avoiding the charge that our interest in getting back the oil fields was the reason why agreement was delayed and was why we agreed to the prohibitions against transfer to Germany of German assets in the Western zones.

It is of course possible that this may not be the principal problem for the Russians and in the discussions Ilyichev has constantly indicated that important point for them was that they had received these assets and could dispose of them bilaterally without any interference from US.

I made clear in the discussion today that our proceeding with arrangements for a meeting the end of this week before agreement had been reached was due solely to the shortness of time and should not be taken as an indication that we could agree to abandon our position.

In the event that we put forward this further concession and Ilyichev still stands firm, request instructions as to position I should take. Would the Secretary be prepared come to Vienna even though no agreement has been reached on this point?

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–955. Secret; Niact. Repeated to London, Bonn, and Washington. The source text is the copy sent to Washington.
  2. The sixth meeting was held from 2:30 to 6:40 p.m., May 9, with the same heads of delegation present as at previous meetings. The official verbatim conference minutes and the U.S. Delegation unofficial minutes of this session were transmitted as enclosures to despatch 1302 from Vienna, May 11. (Ibid., 396.1–VI/5–1155) For a report on the restricted part of the sixth meeting, see infra.
  3. Telegram 2665 from Vienna, May 9. (Ibid., 396.1–VI/5–955) The French proposal contained minor wording changes and suggested that the economic clauses would be annexed to the treaty with a preamble indicating that they were an implementing provision of Article 35.