Memorandum by the Acting Special Assistant, Office of German and Austrian Affairs (Beam) to the Secretary of State
The British Minister has presented a note to the Department1 requesting that the United States reconsider its position with respect to the recognition of new political parties in Austria. The U.S. High Commissioner to date has insisted upon upholding the Allied Council decision of September, 1945, which establishes conditions making it impossible for new political parties to be created. Considerable pressure has been brought not only by the British Government, but also by the Austrian Socialist Party to obtain a change in the U.S. position. The leader of the Austrian Socialist Party has informed the United States Deputy on the Austrian Treaty in London that the Socialist Party may find it necessary to challenge the elections which will be held on October 9 unless provision can be made to permit various groups of electors in Austria to function as political parties in the elections.
This question has long presented a problem in the Allied Council, and at present the United States element is supported only by the French who have expressed a willingness to change their position at an appropriate time to repeal the 1945 decision. The British and Soviet elements have informed the Austrians that they will not enforce the decision in their zones. A recommendation was sent by the Department to General Keyes that the Allied Council decision must either be upheld uniformly in all four zones or be repealed.2 He chose to insist that the Allied Council decision be upheld and in the attached telegram P 3579 of July 113 has forcibly stated his view that no new political parties should be created. General Keyes further requests that he be consulted prior to a change in policy in this matter.[Page 1216]
The United States position on this question is no longer tenable and our policy should be changed to permit the unhampered activity by political groups in Austria. The attached telegram from the Secretary to General Keyes comments on the need for such action and asks him to concur in the recommendations. No reply should be made to the British memorandum until General Keyes’ recommendations have been received.
Recommendations: It is recommended that the attached telegram be signed.
- Not printed.↩
- See telegram 508, May 25, p. 1211.↩
- On the source text Williamson had written: “This telegram was sent to General Keyes by the Department of the Army—July 15, 1949 WAR 91539.”↩
- In the source text at this point the following sentence had been deleted: “Consequently, steps should properly be taken at this time to repeal Allied Council legislation limiting the activities of the Austrian Government or placing restrictions on its sovereign rights.”↩