663.6531/9–1648: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Austria


777. Ur 1078 Sep 16 rptd Rome 63.1 Customs union bet Italy and Austria proposed by Sforza or inclusion Austria in union several Western states is considered desirable long-range objective but specific and immediate public steps toward this end regarded as dangerous [Page 1410] course for Austria. Such action at present would doubtlessly postpone conclusion treaty by arousing Soviet fears and suspicions as to Austria’s future international position particularly in connection with its -membership in OEEC and responsibilities under EC Agreement. If Austria attempted to enter customs union during military occupation it would lack full freedom of action to deal with other members union. Soviets would always be in position to obstruct or nullify, at least with respect Austrian areas under their jurisdiction, implementation arrangements entailed by successful operation of union. To extent this occurred and Western areas observed such arrangements outcome would make for division Austria.

We support, however, Austrian and Italian efforts strengthen mutual economic and cultural ties and otherwise progressively develop a cordial understanding bet equal partners which may serve as basis for future customs union and close political association. Agreement Sep 5, 1946 on South Tyrol (Annex IV Italian Treaty) and supplementary arrangements for putting it into effect welcomed as encouraging move this direction. This ultimate goal appears of such importance it would not be advantage to either country to jeopardize its attainment by uncompromising stand on problems concerned with South Tyrol, restitution, trade or in other fields economic collaboration.

Vienna and Rome may convey FonOff in their discretion substance these views as occasion warrants and former should encourage Gruber to make projected visit to Rome.

  1. Not printed.