HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 cc1850-1
9. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what restrictions still exist on communications and passage from Western Austria to Western Germany, and vice versa; and what efforts are being made to remove them.

Mr. Mayhew

As the reply is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

There are no special restrictions on travel from Western Austria to Western Germany. Entry of Austrians to Western Germany is subject only to the restrictions applying to travel from any European country. Applications by German nationals for Austrian visas have, however, to be submitted through the Austrian representatives and the Austrian Foreign Ministry to a quadripartite working party in Vienna. This procedure will, no doubt, be amended after the Austrian Treaty comes into force when the Austrian Government will be solely responsible for, the regulations governing entry into their country. There are no air services in operation between Western Germany and Western Austria although there are two lines between Frankfurt and Vienna.

The following restrictions on communication by post, telegraph, and telephone between Western Germany and Western Austria are at present in force: Letters may not contain money and are restricted in weight to 500 grammes. Printed letters are prohibited, except those dealing solely with family matters. There is no parcels post. The following kinds of telegrams are not admitted: money-order, luxury, express, reply-paid, night-delivery, picture, and code. The only priority admitted is "urgent," and costs double rate. The only telephone calls not admitted are fixed-time, subscription, and reversed-charge, and these are not made obligatory by the International Telephone Regulations. There is some delay in both telephone and telegraphic traffic, due to shortage of circuits.

In Germany a message cannot be sent to another country by telephone or telegraph without first obtaining a licence from the German authorities. The purpose of this is to control expenditure of foreign exchange. In Austria a call cannot be made to Germany without first obtaining the permission of the Censorship. Of these restrictions, the only ones imposed by the German authorities are those required for exchange control, i.e. those on the sending of money and on telegraph or telephone messages abroad. No effort is therefore being made to have these removed. All the others are imposed by the Quadripartite Signals Committee for Austria. Frequent efforts have been made by the British, United States, and French members of this Committee to lift those restrictions not needed for exchange control, but hitherto the agreement of the Russians to this has not been obtained. These efforts are still being made.