No. 141
The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)1
top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: Various questions regarding redeployment of U.S. forces from Trieste to Austria have been brought to my attention. These questions were contained in a memorandum of October 16 from Admiral Radford to you,2 a copy of which was informally made available during discussions between representatives of our two Departments with a request for the Department’s concurrence.

I recognize the urgent need to move military dependents from Trieste, but there are serious, political difficulties involved in their movement to Austria. Such a transfer now would, I am convinced, provide the Soviets with valuable propaganda material at a time when we are awaiting their reply to our renewed invitation to discuss an Austrian treaty at Lugano.3 In addition, the housing problem and its impact on politics in Austria are such that even should you decide to transfer the TRUST forces to Austria, I would strongly recommend against the transfer of dependents.

As to the redeployment of the TRUST forces themselves, I would see no objection in principle to their transfer to Austria, although if this were decided, I would appreciate the opportunity of first requesting our Ambassador to Vienna to inform the Austrian Government of the plan in advance of its execution. Should the Austrian official reaction be strongly adverse, I should then like the opportunity to reconsider the matter with you before the final decision is made.

Serious if not insurmountable political difficulties can be expected if, at a later date, you recommend a further redeployment from the United States Zone to the British Zone. I prefer, however, to postpone consideration of that course of action.

Turning to another but related subject, your letter of October 204 raises the question of the timing of termination of the military occupation of Trieste. While I see no reason to delay the present plans for evacuating dependents and certain stores, I concur with the view of the JCS that the target for withdrawal of our forces [Page 327] should be postponed to January 1, 1954, as a tentative date. It may prove impossible to set a final date until after a five-power conference on Trieste has taken place.

A somewhat related matter is raised in my letter of October 3, 19535 regarding proposed military discussions with the British and French concerning the implications of their plans for withdrawing their garrisons in Austria. I believe it would be helpful in establishing an early date for such talks if you could inform me of the exact channel in which you would prefer them to be held.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles
  1. Drafted by Byington.
  2. Radford’s memorandum of Oct. 16 to Secretary Wilson is attached to Document 138.
  3. Regarding this proposal to discuss an Austrian treaty at Lugano, Switzerland, see vol. vii, Part 1, p. 630.
  4. Document 138.
  5. For text, see vol. vii, Part 2, p. 1904.