663.001/6–2553: Telegram

No. 871
The Acting United States High Commissioner for Austria (Dowling) to the Department of State1


3497. Gruber gave me account June 23 of his visit to Nehru, about which he had informed me in London (London’s 6366 June 3 to Department2).

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Purpose of visit, Gruber said, was to explain Austrian position once again to Nehru, with hope Indians might be willing sound out Soviets re true intentions on state treaty. Conversation, in which Indian Ambassador Moscow and Minister to Austria participated, dwelt at length on Austrian-Federal Republic relations, with Gruber surmising from questions that Soviets had already voiced their suspicions this subject to Indians. He replied accordingly, acknowledging close trade and cultural relations but stressing Austrian determination to maintain independence.

In response query re his statement at Bonn on “no military alliance,” Gruber explained neutrality issue, and in ensuing discussion recalled that Soviets had thus far relied on Austrian Communists to hawk East views; argued inability Austria to accept any treaty provision this subject likely to be satisfactory to Soviets; and pointed out some carefully-worded declaration against military alliances by Parliament would be most Austrians could accept, and this only if essential for Soviet consent to treaty.

Gruber quoted Nehru as agreeing entirely with Austrian views re neutrality. He gained impression, however, that Indians while seeking opportunity to raise treaty question with Soviets, would press discussion only if latter showed inclination therefor.

British, who with French were informed of conversation by Gruber June 24, professed concern that he may have gone too far re neutrality. At Caccia’s suggestion, therefore, three High Commissioners met with Gruber today for further discussion, which appears to have allayed British fears, especially as Gruber assured us that any approach by Soviets or others re neutrality would be brought immediately to attention of Western powers.

We admit there is some justification for British Embassy’s concern re Austrian attitude on neutrality, as majority of Austrian opinion would probably accept some formula on subject if they were assured this was final block to treaty conclusion. In present instance, however, it is believed their suspicions were aroused primarily by Gruber’s failure to inform them in advance of his visit to Nehru.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. Telegram 6366 reported that Indian Prime Minister Nehru had asked Gruber to visit him in Switzerland where he was meeting Indian diplomatic representatives in Europe. (663.001/6–353) For Gruber’s account of his meeting with Nehru at Bürgenstock, see Between Liberation and Liberty, pp. 221–223.