File No. 763.72/12021

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

[Telegram]

5520. Freie Presse, 22d: Vienna extremely short food supplies Thought of what may result not pleasant. Care of public order and personal safety anxiety of all. In sending supplies to Vienna, Hungary would render herself a service. It would be nothing less than madness to allow Vienna to fall into a state of anarchy and unrest at present time.

Freie Presse, 23d: The national states have been born, the separation accomplished, but no union takes the place of the old. There is a huge void staring us in the face. In this crisis we must feel our way carefully if we are to extricate country from hopeless confusion. The question for the moment is whether Austria is still strong enough to establish new relations between the various national states in such a way as to form collective state. At peace conference life or death sentence of Austria will be pronounced.

Arbeiter Zeitung, 25th: Events in Croatia and Hungary show serious position Germany and Austria. United and decided Jugoslav people long shamefully oppressed and dismembered demand their unity and independence. Autocrats of Budapest feel their power is shaking and helplessly look to democracy for succor. Hungary is calling upon Social Democrats, yesterday scorned and persecuted, and autocrats are begging favors of the Slovaks and Rumanians trampled on since 1848, robbed of all rights since 1867. An old feudal Hungary is breaking down and in its misery is looking for [Page 440] salvation at any price. It would like to win mercy of Entente by separation from Germany and Austria and offer separate peace.

Swiss press reports from Vienna: Executive committee of German-Austrian National Assembly decided to submit at full meeting of National Assembly note drawn up for President Wilson. This note informs Wilson of formation Germ an-Austrian state which claims freedom for all German districts of Austria, representation at peace conference and opportunity to enter into direct negotiations with the representatives of all belligerent powers. Executive Committee accepts unreservedly Wilson’s principles including recognition of Czecho-Slovak and Yugo-Slav nations. Note closes with appeal to President to use his authority in favor of general armistice and right of self-determination of Austrian Germans. (Actual text of this note not yet published.)

Speech of Lammasch before party leaders exposing his program summarized as follows in Swiss press: German Government was in possession of all facts day before Austrian Government sent special peace proposal to President Wilson. For almost year German Government has known Austria-Hungary could not continue struggle longer than certain period. Such declaration often made to German Ambassador and German representatives at Berlin. Military front must not allow itself to be dissolved by hope of armistice and peace but order must be kept to avert danger of disorderly retreating army overflowing country. The Government takes all necessary measures to insure orderly return of troops. Any soldier who left front on his own responsibility would find return retarded instead of hastened owing to congested state of traffic and provisioning which would necessarily ensue. Change in state form also requires calm. Though situation calls for rapid solution questions cannot be decided by momentary passions. Government convinced of principle of peoples’ right to self-determination but desires emphasize that definite decisions should not be made until soldiers return from front to exercise citizens’ rights. Boundary lines between various nationalities must be decided by agreement between nations and eventually by arbitration. In interim Government will continue to carry on affairs as far as possible considering itself a servant of the people. During peace negotiations new states will naturally begin their relations with neutral powers. Foreign Minister is ready to put himself at their disposition in this regard and support their activities. As regards burdens and obligations which have been borne in common, new states must be considered as legal heirs of former commonwealth. The Government feels it is its duty on ethical and practical grounds to proclaim wide political amnesty and pardon.

Stovall