No. 471

763.11/1–951: Telegram

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


1391. Gruber has informed me that coalition has tentatively decided that government should present to Parliament when it reconvenes Friday ordinary implementing bill for popular election of president in accordance with constitutional provisions. It is anticipated that some deputy previously critical of suggestion of parliamentary election will state that in view of international situation, expense, and other factors he and colleagues have reluctantly but patriotically changed mind and now propose constitutional amendment permitting indirect election. Two laws will then go before AC, and if Soviets veto constitutional amendment, it will at least not be able to charge government with neglect of constitution, and government will have gained some weeks time in preparation for popular election.

With regard to candidates, Gruber confirmed fact that Gleissner was currently Peoples Party choice. Socialists alleged to be critical of Gleissner on grounds that he was weak and threatened run their own candidate in first round, not joining in coalition-supported bipartisan candidate until ascertained that run-off necessary from failure any candidate obtain initial majority. Gruber hinted that if Socialists persist in this line, it may be necessary for Peoples Party to come to understanding with league independents in order assure majority for their candidate on first round.

Austrians have been informed of Department’s interest in ensuring locals of opinion Austrian Government is not open to challenge by Soviets or opposition parties (Deptel 1297, January 41).

  1. Document 469.