The Minister in Austria (Stockton) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 18.]
Sir: Referring to my telegram No. 80 of November 3, 5 p.m.,15 and previous correspondence concerning the recent anti-Jewish disturbances at the University of Vienna, I have the honor to inform the Department that the University was re-opened yesterday and that there were no clashes among the students.
The Neue Freie Presse and the Tagblatt of November 3 stated that National Socialist students had distributed pamphlets urging Jewish [Page 132] students attending the lecture of Professor Tandler at the Anatomical Institute to sit in the gallery and not in the main lecture hall. The resort to pamphlets instead of blackjacks is significant.
Following my representations to the Foreign Office, complaints of maltreatment were received at the Polish, Rumanian, and Yugoslav Legations from their Jewish nationals attending the University. Protests were promptly filed with the Foreign Office by the Polish and Yugoslav Legations, and the Freie Presse quotes the Rumanian Minister as having declared to Dr. Dollfuss yesterday that he was in accord with his American colleague and urged that protection be extended to Rumanian students.
Upon the re-opening of the University, the Rector, Professor Dr. Abel, issued a proclamation urging the students not to precipitate further disorders and declaring that nobody would be allowed to enter the academic premises without an identity card. The proclamation went on to say that the recent regrettable excesses had been injurious to the prestige of the University and had also placed in jeopardy special academic privileges which were already several centuries old.
The opposition press continues to make political capital out of the Legation’s representations to the Foreign Office. I enclose a cartoon from the M or gen of October 31,16 portraying the Rector of the University as counselling the National Socialist students against attacking foreign students in the future and laying emphasis on the word “foreign”.
There is also transmitted a copy of a letter, dated November 3,16 from the American Medical Association of Vienna, expressing appreciation of my intervention and requesting that I bring the contents of its letter to the attention of the Austrian Government. Personally I have heard of no American student who has severed his connection with the University because of the recent disturbances. I shall, of course, ignore the Association’s request to bring its letter to the attention of the Foreign Office. A copy of the Legation’s reply is also enclosed.16
Baron Löwenthal, Chief of the President’s Cabinet; Dr. Junkar, Chief of the Political Bureau at the Foreign Office until November 1; and Dr. Brandl, the recently appointed President of Police to succeed Dr. Schober, have all expressed to me personally their satisfaction at my intervention. Baron Löwenthal was incensed that the privilege of immunity should continue to be allowed the University [Page 133] in view of the fact that its premises were being used for the commission of unlawful acts. As I have already advised the Department in my telegram above referred to, Dr. Brandl informed me that the new guard which has been established at the University is not composed of messengers from other institutions and Government Departments, as has been stated by the press, but of picked men from the retired list of the Police. Both he and Baron Löwenthal assured me that should this force be unable to maintain order at the University, the Government was prepared to admit the Police.
Yesterday was the Chancellor’s regular day for receiving the Chiefs of Mission. He again expressed his regret that Americans had been injured in the University disturbances. He assured me that the University authorities now had the situation completely under control and asked me to make a statement to the American press asserting that the Austrian Government had handled the matter energetically and assuring the American people that American students in Austria would receive adequate protection. I replied that there was danger in making such a statement, as there might be a recurrence of the regrettable incidents of last week. He explained that every possible precaution had been taken to preserve order, but that in the event of further trouble the Austrian Government was prepared to take drastic action.
In accordance with the Chancellor’s request, the Legation issued the following statement to the American press correspondents in Vienna:
“The American Minister informed the American correspondents in Vienna that the Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Dollfuss, had assured him today that the University authorities now had the situation completely under control, but should further disorders arise, that the Austrian Government was prepared to take drastic action.
The Austrian Government, Mr. Stockton added, had acted energetically in this matter and he was hopeful that there would be no recurrence of the regrettable incidents of last week.”
I consider this unfortunate incident as now closed.