File No. 863.00/89, 90

The Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall) to the Secretary of State


5274. Following Vienna telegram published in all Swiss press:

An extra edition of the official Wiener Zeitung publishes the following Kaiser’s manifesto:1

To my loyal Austrian peoples! Since my accession to the throne, my one wish has been to bring the longed-for peace to all my people, as well as to show the people of Austria how they can develop their strength unhindered by obstacles and friction and work successfully for their spiritual and economical welfare. So far the dreadful struggles of the World War have hindered the work of peace. Heroism and loyalty, willingness to bear sacrifices, misery and privations, have gloriously defended the Fatherland in these hard times. The hard sacrifices of the war were necessary to secure for us the honorable peace on whose threshold, with God’s help, we stand to-day.

We must now without fail undertake the rebuilding of the Fatherland on its natural and therefore sure basis. The wishes of the Austrian peoples must here be carefully harmonized and fulfilled. I have decided to undertake this work with the free collaboration of my peoples in the spirit of those principles which the Allied monarchs in their peace offer have adopted. Following the desires of her peoples Austria must become a federated state in which every race will form its own state commonwealth in the districts inhabited by it. The union of the Polish districts of Austria with the independent Polish state is no way affected by this. The town of Trieste with its district will have a special situation in accordance with the wishes of its inhabitants. This change which does not touch the integrity of the lands of the sacred Hungarian crown is to guarantee the independence of every national state. It will also effectively protect all common interests and will further them wherever the federation is a vital necessity to the various states.

We must especially unite all forces in order to fulfil equitably and justly all the tasks arising out of the effects of the war. Until this change shall have been executed constitutionally the existing institutions for the protection of general interests will remain unchanged. My Government has the task of preparing, without delay, all work necessary for the change in Austria. My call is addressed to the peoples on whose self-determination the new Kingdom must be founded; I ask them to collaborate in the great work through the national councils which, composed of the Reichsrat members of all nations, [Page 368] will represent the interests of the peoples toward one another as well as toward my Government.

So may our Fatherland, solidified by the harmony of the nations of which it is composed, come out of the storms of war as a federation of free peoples. The blessings of the Almighty be upon our work, may He help the great peace work which we are reaching so that it shall mean the happiness of all my peoples. Signed, Karl. Hussarek.

  1. Dated Oct. 16, 1918.