863.00/1388: Telegram

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

47. I have just seen Hornbostel, Director of Political Affairs, at his request. He regards Styrian situation in particular and Nazi problem in general as very serious and fears that Nazi activities may soon near the end to where the Government will be obliged to take strong measures. He is apprehensive that Seyss-Inquart may not acquiesce. He believes however that Hitler prefers to avoid another crisis in respect of Austria for the present because of foreign political considerations, chiefly Italy.

Mussolini, he said, followed Schuschnigg’s speech with greatest interest and sent congratulations to the Chancellor reiterating assurance that his attitude had not changed. Hornbostel does not believe however that Mussolini will be in a position to take effective stand until Anglo-Italian détente is achieved.

He has definite information that London conversations did not go through Ciano or Perth.35

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Hornbostel claims Mussolini and Ciano are not in accord in respect of foreign policy. Ciano would willingly make any sacrifice in order to strengthen Axis. Mussolini however has no intention voluntarily of sacrificing either Austria or Czechoslovakia.

Was informed in strict confidence last night by a member of the British Legation that Halifax recently remarked to a mutual friend “I do not give Austria 6 months.”

Mail copies to Missions.

  1. Earl of Perth, British Ambassador in Italy.