863.48/107b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)97

66. Reports indicate that Austrian situation was never so hopeless and desperate as today. Dr. Renner himself is apparently completely discouraged since his recent fruitless journey to Czechoslovakia and it is reported he is about ready to resign. Without coal, with theaters and amusement places closed, shops shut after 3 o’clock, darkness threatened, street car lines out of operation, railway communications curtailed, food supplies insufficient and bad, cold homes and no relief in sight, Vienna is shrouded in gloom. Rumors of bolshevist plots are rife. Dr. Bauer is reported to have declared that only a proletariat government could save Vienna by seizing the property of the rich.

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It is reported that efforts are being made to place responsibility on the United States for the economic situation in Austria. Without making direct reference to this, you should bring to the attention of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs the distressing and dangerous situation in Austria and inform him that this Government does not consider that it can in the remotest degree be held responsible for the existing lack of food stuffs, fuel and other vital necessities in Vienna, which shortage, in the view of this Government, has been created, for the greater part, by the action of the Allied countries contiguous to Austria. Although this Government is recommending to Congress that appropriation be made to assist in furnishing relief for Austria, unless the interested European Governments are prepared to keep Vienna supplied with food for the next two months, this Government considers it absolutely useless to expect any adhesion from the American people in the relief plan for Austria. It is understood that there is ample surplus of food in Jugoslavia which could be secured with either British or French currency. It is felt that a similar obligation lies with Czechoslovakia in regard to coal supply. Certainly both Jugoslavia and Czechoslovakia have every reason to take measures to prevent a bolshevist revolution in Vienna. This Government feels that the time has come to impress upon the interested European Governments, and you should accordingly impress upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs with all possible emphasis, the responsibility of those Governments in the Austrian situation and the need for the fullest cooperation between those governments in reaching a solution of the existing difficulties. Repeat to Paris as number 172, and Rome [as] 11.

  1. See last sentence for instructions to repeat to Paris as no. 172 and to Rome as no. 11.