HC Deb 15 July 1946 vol 425 cc862-3
90. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply has been sent, or will be sent, by His Majesty's Government to the demand of the Soviet Government to take over and control all former Germany property in Eastern Austria.

92. Professor Savory

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the protest handed by the British authorities in Vienna to the Russians against the transfer to U.S.S.R. of property alleged to belong to Germans in Vienna.

Mr. McNeil

An order purporting to be signed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet zone in Austria dealing with the transfer to the U.S.S.R. of German property in Eastern Austria was published in the Press in Vienna on 6th July. General Steele, the officer commanding in Vienna, has addressed a communication to the Soviet Commander-in-Chief on behalf of His Majesty's Government, pointing out that the Soviet interpretation of what constitutes German assets in Austria is not contained in any existing agreement between the Allies, and asking for an assurance that no unilateral action would be taken pending quadripartite agreement. At the last meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Paris on 12th July, my right hon. Friend proposed that a four-power commission should be established to report to the Council upon a definition of what constitutes a German asset in Austria. A definition was circulated which His Majesty's Government would support; and my right hon. Friend stated that His Majesty's Government would, for their part, be prepared to undertake that, pending the Commission's report, no further German assets should be taken over in Austria. Not all the Ministers were prepared to discuss this proposal which it is intended to pursue through the diplomatic channel.

Mr. Gammans

Would the hon. Gentleman say when the letter was sent off to the Soviet Government on this subject; and would he say what was the result of the representations which were made in Paris by his right hon. Friend?

Mr. McNeil

I am sorry, but I could not give the exact date. As quickly after 6th July as we could get authority we did write. On the second point, I have already indicated that it was not possible to do it at the Council level, but we are pursuing the matter by normal diplomatic methods.

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