863.00/9–149: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France

secret

3258.1 Convey substance fol to Schuman:

US High Commissioner in Allied Council Vienna Aug 26 was unable accept Fr proposal on relaxation restrictions on polit parties due reasons stated Deptel 3189 Aug 26.2 Ref also Deptel 3102 Aug 20.3 Fr [Page 1232]High Commissioner on other hand was unable accept Brit proposal which had US support for repeal AC restrictions due misgivings about alleged inadequate safeguards in Aust legis against revival Nazi and Pan-Ger parties, ref Embtel 3537 Aug 27.4 Fr position resulted in split US-Brit against Fr-Sov on crucial question of transferring control over polit activity to Aust Govt.

We appreciate sincerity and logic Fr position but believe fol facts shld be pointed out with request Fr position be reconsidered:

(1)
Béthouart stand puts Fr element in position favoring more restrictive policy than that of any other element. Although Sovs unwilling agree on repeal of 1945 decision, they at least advocate sanctioning legality 100-voter groups. Fr position has so far been 100-voter groups shld specifically come under purview of 1945 decision.
(2)
Since Sov position is designed as basis for propaganda as well as desire retain veto power on polit activities and elections, it particularly desirable expose it as such and isolate Sovs on this issue rather than present them with Western disunity. Such disunity makes it impossible for us attack Sov stand as interference in Aust polit life without embarrassing Fr, which we of course wld not desire.
(3)
Fears regarding Nazi or Pan-Ger character of new parties, while not completely unfounded, are somewhat inappropriate in view likelihood Aust treaty in near future, which wld make impossible any further direct control by occupation powers as well as possibility AC action can be taken against Nazi and Pan-Ger tendencies as long as AC continues to exist.
(4)
Present confusion, with elements holding different interpretation of 1945 decision, is not conducive to atmosphere of security which is essential in holding democratic elections under mil occupation. Although Sovs may not directly interfere in elections, possibility cannot be overlooked parliament members elected under 100-voter clause may be challenged later and legality of elections and future Govt may be called into question by elements desiring create disunity and confusion in Austria.

In interest overall policy toward Aus, which transcends importance individual arguments, and on which we know West powers in complete agreement, Schuman may wish review situation in order unanimous agreement on repeal of 1945 decision may be reached prior Oct elections.5

For ur info Sovs opposed Brit motion only after Fr stand was known. AmEmbassy London, will Brit join US in foregoing representations to Schuman?

Acheson
  1. Repeated to London as 3157 and to Vienna as 1040.
  2. Not printed; it stated that Béthouart’s proposal would merely transfer the decision on political parties to the Austrian Government which was not charged with passing such judgment. The result would be renewed disagreements on desirability of individual parties which would strain the coalition. The French proposal would also include groups other than political parties that might put up candidates. (863.00/8–1949)
  3. Supra.
  4. Not printed.
  5. In telegram 3631, September 2, from Paris, not printed, Bruce reported that after he had reviewed the French position on Austrian political parties with Schuman, the Foreign Ministry had sent new instructions to Béthouart which it felt would enable the three Western powers to reach a common policy (863.00/9–249).