863.00/7–1149: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Austria (Keyes) to the Department of the Army


P–3579. Action to Department of Army for JCS and State from PACG. Signed Keyes.

[Page 1214]
Subject is Austrian fourth party question. Reference State Department cables London to Vienna 129 and 132 dated 6 July.1
My views regarding formation of additional political parties in Austria are stated in my P 3156, dated 18 [19?] March 1949.2 These were confirmed by JCS and State, and still represent my recommendations. The combined pressure of the British and Austrian Socialists on the United States treaty delegation represents misdirected effort to embroil the United States element in local Austrian political affairs to the enchantment [enhancement] of the fortunes of the Austrian Socialist Party. These are tactics which the latter have used in Vienna, and I would recommend that both the British and the Austrians be encouraged to restrict their activities to Vienna or Washington channels. Use of other liaison, such as treaty delegation, only serves to weaken the authority of the High Commissioner and of the Allied Council.
The position of Schaerf and the British Foreign Office on behalf of the Socialist Party does not, in my opinion, serve the best long-range interests of democratic Austria and would be of obvious advantage to the Communists in the present East-West struggle. No reliable evidence exists to support the expedient Socialist logic that the elections will be later challenged, and speculation upon the outcome of the elections, particularly of a major shift to the People’s Party, is a questionable basis upon which to alter our position of four years’ standing. Socialist threat to play ball with the Communists in the event of election losses is little more than thinly disguised blackmail, and one more reason why the United States should not intervene on their behalf.
Regarding cable Delau 140 (Vienna 132), acquiescence of Socialists is not to People’s Party but to the Allied Council and is not matter of choice as long as the occupation exists. Continued acquiescence to occupation costs and other more damaging Soviet controls reflects somewhat on altruism of Socialist position on the issue. I do not believe it advisable at this time to encourage the Austrian belief that the occupation may be terminated in immediate future.
Schaerf’s visits to London invariably weaken British support of United States’ position at Allied Council. At the moment the [Page 1215]British have held up the introduction of their announced proposal to rescind the Allied Council decision of September 1945, but it is likely that further pressure from London may hasten it—particularly if any encouragement received from United States representatives there.
Request that I be consulted prior to any change in policy on this matter.
  1. Neither printed; telegram 129 (Delau 136) reported that the British Foreign Office, fearing a Socialist Party challenge of the validity of the elections at the end of occupation, was instructing its Embassy in Washington to endeavor to change the United States position with respect to Austrian political parties. In telegram 132 to Vienna (2617 to Department of State) Reber reported that Schaerf, who had just arrived in London, had voiced a similar concern about a possible challenge of the elections and hoped that the United States position would be reviewed. (740.00119 Council/7–649)
  2. Ante, p. 1206.