No. 488

763.00/5–1551: Telegram

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


2672. Legtel 2671 May 15,1 Prestel 2670 May 15.2 Communist endorsement Socialist presidential candidate Koerner is political development of much potential mischief. I emphasized to Figl last week importance we attach to continuation coalition and received assurances no question of any change. I believe leaders of both parties desire maintenance of coalition, and will take no direct action to break it up. On other hand, considerable discontent is evident from time to time on both sides among lower levels. Enthusiasm with which second echelon of People’s Party leadership has seized upon Communist endorsement as evidence of “Socialist kinship” to Communists stems as much from failure understand fundamental necessity for coalition as from appreciation partisan advantage it gives Gleissner in current campaign.

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I feel therefore that it would be timely to demonstrate publicly our interest in coalition, and it occurs to me that visit of a prominent People’s Party representative and Socialist to US at this time wld be effective demonstration of stability coalition and our own position. Figl and Schaerf who paid joint visit to Sweden last autumn reluctant to visit any of western capitals officially so long as occupation continues. I believe either Raab, Hurdes or Margaretha might be obtained from People’s Party and Waldbrunner from Socialists. I shld propose to announce trips before runoff vote May 27 if arrangements can be made for travel in June. Wld appreciate Dept’s comments.3

  1. Telegram 2671 contained Donnelly’s analysis that the Austrian Communist Party’s decision was based on a desire to undermine the coalition government, embarrass the Socialists, and escape political isolation. (763.00/5–1551)
  2. Telegram 2670 summarized newspaper reports concerning the Austrian Communist Party’s endorsement of Koerner. (963.61/5–1551)
  3. In telegram 2487 to Vienna, May 18, the Department of State concurred with Donnelly’s suggestion about the proposed visit but requested that extreme care be used to avoid adverse comments about U.S. participation in Austrian politics. (763.00/5–1551)