740.00119 Control (Austria)/5–747: Telegram

The Minister in Austria (Erhardt) to the Secretary of State


368. General Clark’s public statements on eve of his departure6 consisted primarily of a formal address at University of Vienna when receiving honorary degree of Doctor of Political Science May 2, informal remarks at state dinner tendered by Chancellor Figl that evening, and three extemporaneous addresses in US zone at Linz, Wels and Salzburg en route to Italy. Text of formal address and quotations from others being despatched.7

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These addresses were accepted by Austrian Government and public as formal commitment of US Government to continue policy of re-establishment of free and independent Austria and in particular and also to extend relief to Austria on a scale comparable with past deliveries and with General Clark’s statements during his 1946 visit to the US when he spoke for hundred and fifty million dollar program.

Between the end of Moscow Conference and departure of General Clark, the Austrian Government and people speculated deeply and sometimes darkly about what might happen to Austria now. For example, Vice Chancellor Schaerf last Wednesday spent whole hour at his request with American Liaison Officer endeavoring to satisfy himself whether US policy would continue hitherto firm line of support for Austria. As leader of Socialists Schaerf has been under considerable renewed pressure lately by Left-Wing of party to formulate more exclusively Russian oriented policy and to consider Socialist Communist coalition. He hinted Russians themselves had also made such suggestions. He expressed his own opposition to this line but remembered aloud he had twice before led his party into concentration camps under 1934 regime and under Nazi regime, adding he had no desire to lead them into third camps under Russians.

Question whether concrete US support for Austria by American people, Congress and Government will continue hereafter has thus been uppermost in minds of Austria both our friends and also the Communists. The Government and general population therefore received General Clark’s farewell speeches with great acclaim. At the same time they consider them a commitment, the first fulfillment of which they will look for in immediate relief program.

  1. General Clark left Austria on May 5 after participation in a number of farewell ceremonies in Vienna. Lieutenant General Keyes assumed the post of High Commissioner for Austria on General Clark’s departure from Europe on May 17.
  2. Despatch 3054, May 9, 1947, from Vienna, not printed (740.00119 Control(Austria)/5–947).