The Minister in Austria ( Washburn ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1477

Sir: I deem it proper to acquaint the Department with the fact that early in the current week I took occasion, in alluding to the deplorable incidents arising out of the recent rioting in the City of Vienna, to express to the Chancellor the sympathy of the Government of the United States and to congratulate the Austrian Government upon its success in speedily restoring order. Similar statements, I have the honor to report, were made by most of my colleagues in the name of their respective governments and I assumed that such action on my part would meet with the approval of the Department.

In common with other Legations, I have also the honor to state, I received a formal notice from the President of Police of the interment on Thursday of the police officers killed in line of duty during the insurrectionary outbreak. Specific inquiries came from several of my colleagues, notably from the English and Italian Legations, as to whether I intended to be present at the obsequies. This decision was not so easy to make. I felt that the Government of the United States has special reason to be grateful to the Police Direction for so assiduously guarding American officials here in Vienna on account of the Sacco-Vanzetti incident—I have voiced my personal gratitude on several occasions. Nevertheless, the notice or invitation did not emanate from the Federal Government and it seemed to me that the presence of foreign diplomats might be construed as undue meddling in an internal matter. This, I ascertained upon talking with him, was also the view of the Belgian Minister, Le Ghait, the Dean of the Corps. The Italian Minister was especially anxious to know my final decision—perhaps because it is generally [Page 476] recognized, I think, that my relations with Police President Schober are extremely cordial. I may possibly be exceptional—I do not know—in having been able to see him at all times during the recent trouble. In any event, I got the impression that had the American Legation been represented, the Italian Legation would have been also. If the representatives of Republican America and Fascist Italy had been conspicuous by their attendance, I can imagine the comment of the radical press. My decision was mainly influenced however by the circumstance that the Federal Government itself neither expressly nor impliedly intimated its desire in the matter.

The foregoing is submitted for the Department’s information and possible comment.

I have [etc.]

Albert H. Washburn