110.11 AC/7–152: Telegram

No. 806
The United States High Commissioner for Austria (Donnelly) to the Department of State1

secret

8. Pass President Truman. Secretary’s visit was an outstanding success. Austrian Government exceeded even traditional Viennese hospitality in program which was designed primarily to honor United States Secretary of State but which resulted also in series of personal tributes to Secretary and Mrs. Acheson. Although for security reasons no local itinerary was given out in advance thousands of Austrians residing in the Soviet Zone gathered at railroad [Page 1763]stations along the route to greet the Secretary. This without precedent in Vienna postwar period, and is further evidence of the strong pro-United States sentiment in Soviet Zone.

Secretary and Mrs. Acheson greeted at Tulln by Foreign Minister and Mrs. Gruber who accompanied them on train to Vienna. Chancellor Figl, Vice Chancellor Schaerf and other Government officials joined by thousands of Austrians, extended a warm welcome to Secretary and party upon arrival in city. Although a large part of population had taken advantage of beautiful day to visit Vienna woods and surrounding localities, other thousands lined streets from railway station to Embassy residence where Secretary and Mrs. Acheson stayed during their visit.

Much heralded Communist hate demonstration against Secretary failed completely to materialize due no doubt to recognition that public sentiment was predominately favorable to Secretary’s visit. Although Secretary made number of public appearances and toured city there was no single hostile demonstration toward him.

Morning June 30 Secretary made formal calls on President, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister. Informal discussion these meetings being reported by separate telegrams.2 Luncheon by Foreign Minister provided further opportunity for friendly talks with Cabinet Minister. This was followed by a tour of principal points of interest in Vienna. At Embassy garden party in afternoon, attended by approximately 1,000, including members of Austrian Government, Austrian business and civic leaders and chiefs of diplomatic missions. Secretary also had opportunity to greet all American members of Embassy staff. Soviet High Commissioner, Soviet Deputy High Commissioner and Soviet Minister, with their aides, attended. Soviet High Commissioner in brief cordial talk expressed pleasure at meeting Secretary about whom he had heard much. Following reception Secretary talked with British and French High Commissioners regarding West situation in Austria. Chancellor’s dinner last night climaxed Austrian program, but Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, as well as Foreign Minister were on hand to say goodby to Secretary and Mrs. Acheson upon their departure for airport at 7:30 this morning.

Press conference held morning June 30 attended by 135 correspondents of 10 nationalities. Number included one Communist correspondent from Vienna weekly Der Abend. (For complete details [Page 1764]see Embassy Telegram 63). Complete radio recording made of interview furnished to local radio stations last night and radio coverage, as well as press, excellent.

It is already apparent that results of visit will be more profound and far-reaching than our most optimistic expectations. Austrians, who recently have been inclined to wonder whether world had forgotten them in excitement over Germany, are obviously stimulated by this gesture of US friendship. Visit has given government and people renewed vigor and has placed Soviets and Communists in ridiculous position in view of highly publicized plans for anti-US demonstrations during his visit. More than anything else US Government could have done, Secretary’s visit and his sincere interest in Austrian affairs will renew Austrian conviction of our continued support for State Treaty and strengthened their determination to withstand Soviet pressures despite prolonged occupation.

Donnelly
  1. Repeated to Rio de Janeiro for Secretary Acheson. A handwritten note on the source text indicates that this telegram was passed on to the White House on July 2.
  2. Reference to telegrams 12 and 23 from Vienna, July 1 and 2, respectively. For telegram 23, see infra . The contents of telegram 12 are summarized in footnote 1, infra .
  3. Telegram 6 informed the Department of State that the text of the press conference would be transmitted to Washington. (110.11 AC/7–152) The complete text of the press conference was transmitted to the Department of State in an unnumbered telegram from Vienna, July 1. (Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 113)