No. 531

663.001/2–1051: Telegram

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

top secret

1724. From Perkins.1 Deptel 5296 to Frankfort February 6.2 After discussions of general situation with Figl, Schaerf, and Gruber this morning, High Commissioner’s opinion, with which I concur, is that this is not propitious moment for proposal to conclude Austrian treaty substantially on Soviet terms as surprise move to force Soviets to show their hand on this issue.

Feeling here is that pressure for treaty and withdrawal Western troops has noticeably eased since Korea. Austrian Government would welcome continued evidence of diplomatic offensive on our part, and have stressed importance inclusion Austrian treaty issue in any four power agenda. We gave assurances that it would be included. Government would especially welcome renunciation British and French occupation costs and release of housing, which is very sore point, but otherwise appear reassured by presence West troops. If these troops could be housed in barracks rather than requisitioned housing, very little further complaint on this score is anticipated.

We feel therefore that our taking initiative to conclude treaty as proposed reftel might be subject to misunderstanding in Germany and Austria, and in fact surprise Austrian Government. We would support such a move as a response if Soviets take any initial step toward conciliation in the deputies discussions. We should accordingly recommend that deputies machinery be kept functioning, and that Ministers in CFM use Austrian treaty issue as precondition of German settlement, but make no new offer on the treaty beyond general statement that as Soviets are aware no substantial difference [Page 1108] exists which would prevent conclusion treaty on short notice if Soviets so desire.3 [Perkins.]

  1. George W. Perkins, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, visited Vienna February 9–11 after he attended the two Ambassadorial conferences in Paris and Frankfurt held between January 30 and February 7. For documentation concerning these meetings, see Document 610 and Documents 74 ff.
  2. Telegram 5296 suggested that perhaps the Department of State ought to accept the Soviet version of all the unagreed articles of the Austrian Treaty as a “dramatic gesture” to force the expression of Soviet intentions and further demonstrate the willingness of the Western powers to restore Austria’s independence. (763.00/2–151)
  3. On February 12, Williamson sent a memorandum to Bonbright in which he expressed his concurrence with Perkins’ appraisal contained in this telegram. (CFM files, lot M–88, box 72, Bound volume—Austria, 1951)