863.00/1370: Telegram

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

6. My telegram No. 4, January 27, 6 p.m. Tavs 1908 [1938] plans of action based on present incapacity England and France to intervene and Italian dependence on Germany as follows:

Politiche Korrespondens should denounce Austria for breach of July 11th agreement.8
Papen9 should preemptorily demand legitimation National Socialist Party in Austria and resignation of Schuschnigg.10
Detachments German Air Force and families should be moved to Austrian frontier.
Leopold should be recognized as führer in Austria.

Police obtained reliable evidence that Tavs also had project for uprising in the spring; Tavs apparently did not propose Anschluss but rather the Danzigification of Austria and in order to cushion the blow to outside opinion he planned that a provisional government be formed of pro-German rather than Nazi elements to pave the way gradually for plebiscite. No evidence that his plan had been approved in responsible quarters in Germany but Papen has been given dossier containing evidence that local Nazi organization was in close contact with subordinate Nazi authorities in Germany. Papen has proceeded to Germany for the purpose of presenting this evidence personally to Hitler.

Police have had information that Nazis also intended to engineer insult to German flag and assassination of Papen as provocation for German intervention. Police for some time have been exercising great vigilance.

Am reliably informed that Schuschnigg intends to follow resolute but non-provocative policy. He is assured of Hungarian support and counts on sympathetic attitude of Italy. He has had Austrian case prepared in such a way that if Germany denounces July 11th agreement he can immediately make effective appeal to world opinion.

Police have operated with great skill and the situation, though delicate, may fortify Austrian position and retard purport of German projects. Federal press service is carefully playing down sensational aspects.

  1. Austro-German Agreement of July 11, 1936; Department of State, Document on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. i, p. 278.
  2. Franz von Papen, German Ambassador in Austria.
  3. Kurt von Schuschnigg, Austrian Chancellor.