740.00119 Control (Austria)/8–1349: Telegram

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


P 3729. From USFA Vienna. Signed Keyes. Action to Dept Army for JCS pass to State from PACG. In preparation for the Allied Council meeting yesterday (12 August 1949) I had before me State Department cables numbers 973 August 3, 861 August 4, 896 August 9, 210 August 10, 1020 August 10, 61 August 10, and 902 August 10.1 Number 861 seemed clear and I was prepared to act upon it at yesterday’s meeting; however, in deference to number 902,2 I took no position regarding the 100 names voter groups, even when the French did so. Prior to the Allied Council meeting, General Galloway and I met with General Béthouart, at the latter’s request, and he informed us, first that he had just returned from Paris and he had been given new instructions regarding the proposal he was to make at yesterday’s Allied Council Meeting. Briefly, it was that the Austrian Government be called upon to furnish a list of all political parties and groups desiring to participate in the elections, and that list augmented by the applications already before the commission, would be promptly considered by the political directorate, and all parties not determined to be neo-Nazi or Pan-German would be approved by the Allied Council.

This differed from the proposal presented by him last Monday,3 in that this time it is the Allied Council that gives the approval and determines the Nazi or Pan-German parties rather than the Austrian [Page 1229]Government. He announced at the same time that Mr. Schuman had again instructed him to stand firm against the recision of the decision of 11 September 1945.

In the midst of our conference, General Galloway was notified by telephone that word had been received from London authorizing him to agree to General Béthouart’s proposal as set forth last Monday, General Galloway replied that it was too late, as General Béthouart had withdrawn the plan and had a new one. This shows the state of confusion we are all in. General Galloway also stated that inasmuch as he had no instructions to propose the recision of the decision of 11 September 1945, and that there was no chance of agreement on such a proposal within the discretion left to him, he would apply it, and in his view, that decision clearly applied to the so-called 100 voters groups.

Thus after almost two months of fencing, all three Western elements are again agreed on that one subject at least. General Galloway and I agreed that when General Béthouart made his proposal at the day’s meeting, we would note it and agree to study it with a view to discussing it at the next Allied Council meeting, or sooner if our respective instructions called for a special meeting.

At yesterday’s meeting, in the debate over the three parties up for approval, in two cases the British took their former stand; namely, that of adhering to their government’s announced policy calling for the turning over of the whole matter to the Austrians, and that they had nothing to say. The French deferred expressing their views pending action on their new proposal. It was listed on the agenda as the last item. The Soviet element recommended approval, the United States element asked for further study of the application.

On the third party, on which the French, United States and Soviets were agreed to disapproving because of neo-Nazism, the British, getting out of a tight hole, stated that inasmuch as they had not been able to see the decision of 11 September 1945 rescinded, would abide by it and join the other three on disapproving. When the French finally presented their new proposal, General Béthouart came out with a declaration that the 100 name voters groups would come within the provisions of the decision of 11 September 1945.

As stated above, in view of State cable number 902, I refrained from making any comment.

The majority of today’s Vienna papers except Communist gave prominent play to Béthouart’s proposal but comments have not as yet been analyzed.

  1. Of the messages under reference in this sentence telegram 861 is printed on p. 1225; the other messages are not printed.
  2. Not printed; it instructed Legation Vienna not to change the criteria for approving political parties or take any stand for the time being regarding the 100-voter groups. (863.00/8–1049)
  3. For the proposal under reference here, see telegram 1022, supra.