No. 480

863.501/3–2051: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Austria ( Donnelly) to the Secretary of State


2072. In view of Communist penetration of police force as shown by recent votes and the inaction of the govt in prosecuting the 4 police chiefs I again today reminded Figl and Gruber that we take a very serious view of the situation and hope that the Austrian Govt will do something about it very soon.1 I showed them a telegram ostensibly from the Dept which I drafted here instructing me to inquire into all cases and express the Dept’s alarm over strength of Communists in the police force.

Figl and Gruber took a serious view of my remarks and said that the govt would do something about all cases without further delay. Figl said he would dismiss the disciplinary commission appointed to try the 4 police chiefs and appoint a new commission with instructions to get rid of them. As regards Communist penetration of the police force Figl said the govt is preparing plans for transfer of Communist policemen to nonsensitive positions in the general civil service and with the ultimate end of removing them from the police force. He said that he was just as surprised as we were over the results of the elections but that it may have been a good thing because it destroyed illusions that the police force was 100 per cent non-Communist. As an example of how far the Communist police [Page 1027] have succeeded in obtaining key positions in the govt he said that a Communist Major who had been chief of personnel of the uniformed police had been assigned temporarily to command the police in the Federal Chancellory but Figl had him removed once he confirmed his Communist affiliations.

I shall continue to remind the Austrian Govt of the importance we attach to the elimination of Communist influence from the police force.

  1. During elections among Austrian policemen for positions in the Civil Service Trade Union, the vote for Communist candidates was surprisingly large enabling them to secure 3 out of 24 seats on various local directorates. (Telegrams 1984 and 1999 from Vienna, March 13, 863.501/3–1351) In another incident dating back to the disturbances of October 1950, four district police officials were under indictment for their participation in these Communist-inspired protests. (Memorandum of February 2, Vienna Post files, lot 55 F 125, 350—Conversations, 1951)