740.00119 Council/2–1547: Telegram

The United States Deputy for Austria at the Council of Foreign Ministers (Clark) to the Secretary of State


1064. Delsec 1240 from Clark. At meeting Deputies for Austria February 14,27 Dr. Joze Vilfan presented written memorandum, which he summarized orally, containing Yugoslav rebuttal Austrian statements regarding: (1) Ethnical position in Carinthia, (2) 1920 plebiscite, (3) oppression of Yugoslavs in Austria, (4) political conditions in Carinthia after the war, and the 1945 elections, and (5) geographic and economic divisibility of Carinthia.

Yugoslav arguments substantially repetition those previously presented to deputies, with emphasis on poor treatment by Austria of Carinthian Slovenes, part played by Carinthians in war against Hitlerite Germany, and validity Yugoslav claims in view Yugoslav contribution to allied cause in two world wars.

Dr. Karl Gruber, representing Austria, answered main points Yugoslav rebuttal, drawing attention to 1920 plebiscite, to Yugoslav Premier’s acceptance 1921 of results of this plebiscite, and to figures proving Slovene Carinthia voted overwhelmingly in 1945 elections for Austrian political parties favoring integrity Carinthia. He stated Austrian position based on these considerations and on fact that Carinthia, for important geographic and economic reasons, should not be divided along lines indicated by Yugoslav claim.

Replying to Gruber, Vilfan admitted he did not question fairness of 1920 plebiscite procedure but only insisted that Austrian actions [Page 132] since plebiscite had altered its results. He referred especially to Germanization of Slovenes. Vilfan agreed Slovenes not under compulsion at time 1945 elections and that figures given by Gruber were correct. He stated that these election results were regarded by Carinthian Slovenes not as proof they lacked desire to be incorporated into Yugoslavia, as Gruber maintained, but as proof they preferred democracy, represented by three allied-sponsored Austrian political parties, to Naziism.

After Yugoslav delegation left room Dr. Gruber was questioned as to views his government on inclusion in treaty of clause requiring Austria to keep in force all laws “aimed at liquidation of the remnants of the Fascist regime” in Austria. Gruber replied that democratic Austrian people desired to complete democratization their country, that he had no objection whatsoever to a clause which would require Austria to observe the spirit of and continue to implement the laws in question in accordance with their principles, but that Austria should not be bound by the treaty to the letter of such laws. He pointed out that treaty for reestablishment of a democratic Austria should point the way for Austria but not prescribe in detail what measures Austria should take to follow this way.

Deputies meet tomorrow to discuss frontier clauses and, if there is time, additional political clauses.

Pass to War Department for information.

Repeated Vienna 49.

  1. This was the 21st Meeting of the Deputies for Austria. The Yugoslav statement presented at this meeting and the subsequent questions and answers were circulated to the Deputies as document C.F.M.(D) (47) (A) 74, February 17, 1947, not printed.