§ 15. Mr. Molson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he proposes to take regarding the seizure by the Russians of an oil-refining plant in Austria, the disposal of which is under discussion between the Allies.
The British representatives on the Allied Council for Austria and Austrian Treaty Commission have protested against the occupation by Soviet troops of the Austrian Mineral Oil Works Company Refinery at Lobau on the night of 1st August to 2nd August. Furthermore the British Deputy Commissioner has stated that the Law of the Control Council for Germany quoted as a basis for the Soviet action has no application in Austria; further that reparations cannot be secured from property which is in joint British-American beneficial ownership. The United Kingdom representative on the Austrian Treaty Commission has stated that this unilateral action by the Soviet authorities is in total disregard of the discussions at the Treaty Commission on the question of what are, and what are not, German assets. The subject will be raised at the forthcoming meeting of the Allied Council in Vienna.
§ Mr. Molson
Are we to understand that so far no reply has been given by the Russians to these representations?
A statement has been made quoting an authority for the action, the authority being, we think, only relevant to German procedure and not to Austrian procedure.
§ Mr. Granville Sharp
In view of the apparent mystery which surrounds the operation by the Russians of the Austrian mineral oil resources and oil refineries and the apparent failure to supply more than a small proportion of the Austrian oil requirements from Austrian oil resources, will the Minister urge his right hon. Friend to continue to press the Russians to adopt his precept of putting their cards on the table face upwards.
His Majesty's Government, quite properly I am sure, have been as concerned about Austrian interests in this and allied matters as they have been about their own and about the legality of any behaviour in this area where we are joint operatives.
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks
Can the Minister state whether this matter is being pressed through the Allied Control Commission, because I gathered from what he said that the protest had been made there but that the reply had been received from some other source?
We are using three instruments where it is appropriate to apply pressure, one of which is the Commission.