863.00/877: Telegram

The Chargé in Austria (Kliefoth) to the Secretary of State

31. Dollfuss stated to me this afternoon that he was doing the utmost to pacify the country; that martial law is now withdrawn everywhere; that he is urging clemency for prisoners. These efforts, he said in strict confidence, were made difficult through attacks on him by Anglo-American press which only aided the Nazis. I am of the opinion that the Chancellor’s feeling toward the Socialists is one of pity and charity, not bitterness and revenge. He impressed me with his sincere feeling for interests of workers and that his simple peasant background still dominated his point of view. I fear that unfriendly foreign press comments, if continued, may weaken him so that reactionary [Page 20] militaristic forces, forerunner of Nazis, will have a good chance of replacing him. The British Minister agrees with me that, in spite of last week’s uprising, Dollfuss, if given a chance, is the only person in the country that has a possibility of holding back Nazi wave. The Chancellor concluded by saying: “I am charged with trying to imitate certain foreign dictators whereas my secret ambition is to help Austria like President Roosevelt is helping America”.