253 Commonwealth Government to Attlee

Cablegram 201 [1] CANBERRA, 4 August 1943


Your telegram D.439, Austria. [2]

Commonwealth Government much appreciates advice of proposals for a clarification of policy regarding Austria.

We are glad to learn that increased opportunity now exists for the active encouragement of resistance inside Austria provided the Austrians can feel assured of their future after the war, and we note your conclusion that the first step towards providing this assurance should be the recreation of an independent Austrian State.

2. On its face your telegram would invite the observation that this decision of major importance has been taken, not because of its value to the future settlement of Europe, but because of its incidental value from the point of view of immediate political warfare against Germany. We understand, however, that discussions have been proceeding on the future treatment of Germany and we would naturally assume that the proposals regarding Austria derive from the preliminary conclusions reached in that respect.

3. In a matter such as this, which is intimately bound up with the major questions of the European peace settlement, we trust that you will share our sense of the importance attaching to consultation with other members of the Commonwealth before approach is made to the United States and the U.S.S.R. The indivisibility of a stable peace settlement compels us to regard such matters as the future of Germany as of the deepest concern.

From the point of view of general stability there appears to us to be strong arguments against, as well as for, re-detaching Austria from Germany, and although we assume that your present conclusion has been reached after full consideration of all the possibilities, we would appreciate ampler details.

4. We trust that you will be able at an early date to inform us of the progress made in the current conversations and allow us an opportunity of expressing our views before final decisions are taken and approach made to the major allies.

1 Repeated to the Canadian, South African and N.Z. Govts as nos 16, 96 and 126.

2 Document 247.

[AA:A989, 43/85/7/1]