No. 469

763.11/1–251: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Austria 1


1297. Legtel 1338 Jan 2.2 Although popular election of new Pres presents greater difficulties than election by Parliament, Sovs have not in past interfered with elections. From viewpoint Figl and Schaerf chief objection to popular election wld appear to be difficulty of interparty deal on choice of Pres. Dept considers main consideration is early election by method not legally questionable at any time or subj current Sov opposition. If election depends on constitutional law Sovs can be expected to use AC veto power to delay, make trouble or exact concessions. They and Commies will certainly make propaganda of any attempt to circumvent constitutional provisions, claiming it shows undemocratic tendency, govt by secret deals. Suggest you inform Austs of our interest in assuring legality of Aust Govt is not open to challenge by Sovs or opposition parties. Dept believes Austs shld not be encouraged to attempt enactment constitutional law in absence clear indication Sovs will not oppose. Suggest for consideration that likelihood Sov opposition wld be greater if approach were made by West Powers than it wld be if Figl and Schaerf were to attempt ascertain Sov views by direct approach.

  1. Drafted by Benjamin D. Kimpel of the Office of Western European Affairs and cleared with Williamson.
  2. Supra.