247 Attlee to Curtin

Circular cablegram D439 LONDON, 19 July 1943, 2.30 p.m.


Our efforts to damage the German war effort by promoting resistance and sabotage inside Austria have hitherto been hampered by the absence of a declared policy as regards future of the latter country.

2. With the changed circumstances of the war we consider that the prospects of actively encouraging resistance inside Austria have greatly improved provided that we can, in conjunction with the United States and the Soviet Union, give the Austrian people a guarantee that they will not be unduly penalised for the past misdeeds of their country and that they will be given political and economic support and encouragement after the conclusion of hostilities.

3. We accordingly propose to adopt the following basic principles in this connection:

(a) The first step to the encouragement and maintenance of Austrian resistance to domination by Germany must be the recreation of an independent Austrian state. In the absence of an Austrian Government in exile and of any pronounced Austrian national sentiment this step will need careful planning and execution.

(b) Once restored, an independent Austria must, from the start, be given preferential treatment as compared with Germany. To enable Austria to survive, the United Nations must avoid penalising her for past misdeeds and afford her sustained support and encouragement both in the economic and political field. If this responsibility is not shouldered Austria will almost inevitably return in the end to the German fold.

(c) The best chance of maintaining Austrian independence probably lies in her ultimate association with some form of central or south eastern European confederation subject, of course, to the manner in which such a federation might evolve and to the wishes of the component partners.

(d) Any plans for relief and reconstruction in the central and south eastern European area should now include Austria within their scope and it should be possible so to direct her internal reconstruction that subsequent inclusion in a federation would represent a fulfilment and not a reversal of the policy pursued in the interim.

4. We propose to consult the United States and Soviet Governments with a view to securing their agreement to the policy described and we hope that in due course it may be possible to issue an agreed declaration promising a free and independent Austria with suitable political and economic safeguards.

5. A paper dealing with the matter in detail is being sent to you by mail. [1]

1 See circular dispatch D67 of 8 August on file AA:A1608, P41/1/3, i.

[AA:A989, E44/85/2/1]