863.4061 All Quiet/21

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

No. 669

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 412, November 7, 1931, I have the honor to inform the Department that in September, 1932, Mr. Rappaport, the local representative of Universal Pictures, informed [Page 119] me that Dr. Constantin Dumba, former Ambassador to the United States, in his capacity as President of the Austrian League of Nations Society, had interested himself in obtaining the release for exhibition in Austria of the film “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Mr. Rappaport requested my cooperation.

Dr. Dumba subsequently called upon me. In view of the fact that the Aide-Mémoire from the Foreign Office, quoted in my despatch referred to above, stated that although the Austrian Government was not in a position to release the film at that time, it was not to be implied that it might not be released at some later date, I inquired of the Foreign Office on October 10 concerning the Austrian Government’s attitude with regard to the release of the film for exhibition in Austria at this time. I enclose a translation of a Note Verbale from the Foreign Office, dated October 24, expressing the Austrian Government’s regret that it could not at present remove the ban on the public exhibition of the film due to the unsettled political situation here.

The Foreign Office’s reference to the disturbances of October 16 relates to the Simmering tragedy which was reported in the Legation’s despatch No. 661, of October 19, 1932.3 The prohibition of public parades mentioned in the Foreign Office’s Note Verbale refers to the decree recently issued by Major Fey, Secretary of State for Public Safety, prohibiting open air demonstrations by National Socialists, Social Democrats, and Communists, members of which parties had participated in the rioting at Simmering. This decree, which incidentally leaves the field of public demonstrations open to only the Heimwehr, which is now closely affiliated with the Dollfuss Government and of which Major Fey is the Vienna leader, was also referred to in the Legation’s despatch concerning the Simmering incident.

Respectfully yours,

G. B. Stockton

The Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Legation

No. 24.485–13

Note Verbale

The Federal Chancellery, Department for Foreign. Affairs, has the honor to inform the Legation of the United States of America, in reply to its esteemed Note Verbale No. 268 of the 10th instant, that the Austrian Government regrets that it cannot yet consider revoking [Page 120] the prohibition of the public performance of the film “All Quiet on the Western Front”.

This prohibition is maintained owing to the following circumstances and considerations:

The street demonstrations on the occasion of the proposed performance of this film in June 1931 emanated chiefly from partisans of the National Socialist Party. As is known, and has been officially stated in the press, because of disturbances caused by a National Socialist parade in the XIth district of Vienna on the 16th of this month, it was necessary to issue an order that all assemblies in the open air and public parades arranged by that party or its affiliated organizations be prohibited until further notice for reasons of public safety and public welfare. If permission to show the sound-film in question were granted, members of these organizations would surely seize the opportunity to attract public attention by manifestations of protest or disturbing the performance, which, in the interest of the maintenance of public peace and order, must absolutely be avoided at this time. This would put the Federation to an expense for the necessary measures of security which under present conditions is not justifiable.

  1. Not printed.