863.6363/9–545: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Austrian Affairs ( Erhardt ) to the Secretary of State

184. My 182 Sept 4 noon.64 Counter Intelligence USFA65 conducted independent investigation and confirmed through reliable sources that the Russian Command is endeavoring to have Renner government nationalize crude oil deposits and [to have?] a considerable portion assigned to Soviets. The Soviets have large staff of mineralogists, legal and oil experts in Vienna and several of them together with some members of Renner government visited oil producing region of Zistersdorf some days ago in connection with proposition. Austrians were asked to maintain secrecy. Soviets pressing for signature of pertinent documents but Austrians endeavored to delay in hope that western Allies will prevent confiscation and/or nationalization of oil deposits.66 Austrian Government officials said to feel lack of recognition renders its position increasingly difficult.

Sent Dept as 184. Rptd to Moscow as 17.

Erhardt
  1. Not printed; this telegram reported that Soviet authorities were pressing the Renner government for an early nationalization of the oil industry. They also sought an agreement providing for joint exploitation of the nationalized oil industry by Soviet interests and the Austrian Government on a 50–50 basis. (863.6363/9–445)
  2. United States Forces in Austria.
  3. In despatch 165, September 4, the Political Adviser in Vienna informed the Department that he had advised General Clark in a memorandum on the same date on means to forestall the nationalization program. He suggested that: (1) the Renner government should be informed that such a step would provoke a serious reaction in the U.S. and would reduce the likelihood of recognition, (2) Soviet authorities should be advised that such a measure required the attention of the Allied Council, and any premature action would prejudice the smooth establishment of that body, and (3) if these two measures failed then a direct approach on a governmental level could be made in Moscow. (863.5034/9–445)