763.001/4–1352: Telegram

No. 796
The Acting United States High Commissioner for Austria (Dowling) to the Department of State1

confidential

3273. In commemoration seventh anniversary “liberation” Vienna by Red Army Commies staged hour-long torchlight parade evening April 10 along Ring, city’s principal thoroughfare. Paraders assembled City Hall Square and at 1950 hours started march down Ring toward Stalin Square on border city’s first district. By Aust police count, number of marchers set at 4,500 of whom 40 percent estimated children under 16. Additional 3,000 participants commemoration ceremony awaited marchers at Stalin Square.

Parade was orderly. No incidents reported. Marchers carried numerous placards and banners featuring familiar Commie themes, such as “Sov Union is bulwark of peace,” “youth will never fight against Sov Union,” “Sov Army liberated us”. Other banners denounced “skeleton treaty”. Chanting rehearsed Commie slogans and songs, marchers at signal from leaders parroted several versions [Page 1746]“ami go home” theme when passing US occupied Bristol Hotel. No ref bacteriological warfare in banners, songs and chants. Spectators lining both sides street on route of march generally unresponsive except for small groups Commie stooges scattered thru crowd.

At Stalin Square marchers and spectators first addressed by Commie Parl Dep Ernst Fischer, who attacked Marshall Plan, praised Moscow Econ Conf, called Sov Union friend of peace, praised Commie resolution submitted to Parl during last week’s foreign policy debate. Next Sov HICOM Gen Sviridov spoke in Russian with aid of interpreter. Sviridov stressed “liberation” Vienna by Red Army, attacked “Atlantic bloc” as instrument aggressive war against Sov Union and Peoples’ Democracies, called World Peace Council signature campaign indication mankind’s desire for peace, concluded with reaffirmation Sov Union’s love of peace.

Many marchers and planted spectators, mentioned above, transported Vienna by truck from outlying districts, largely workers and employees USIA factories in Sov zone.

Parade was well organized, carefully prepared. Long stream burning torches, effect of masses people marching and singing as one, suggested power and unity of purpose reminiscent of stage effects successfully employed by Hitler.

In light Mar 31 demonstration before Greek Leg (Embtels 3169, Apr 22 and 3254, Apr 103) fol occurrence in connection with parade may be significant. Between 18 and 19 hrs Apr 10 Sov Major commanding Vienna Fourth District visited Aust Police Capt Mikovits, commanding Aust police same district. Sov major informed Aust Police Capt that certain marchers, fol parade, might try demonstrating in front of Grk Leg and/or Fr Emb. Sov Major ordered added police protection for these missions, stating that not slightest act of violence against either wld be tolerated. Sov Major ordered all transgressors be arrested forthwith and brought straight to Fourth District Police.

Dowling
  1. Repeated to Moscow.
  2. Telegram 3169 reported that 2,000 Communist demonstrators attacked the Greek Legation in Vienna’s Fourth District on Mar. 31 and that the arrival of Austrian police reinforcements was delayed because of the behavior of Soviet officials. (763.001/4–252)
  3. Telegram 3254 summarized the discussion of the Mar. 31 attack on the Greek Legation during the Allied Council meeting of Apr. 10. (763.0221/4–1052)