No. 218
The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)1
top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: The Department of Defense has informally requested the views of this Department on the question of redeploying the TRUST forces to Austria, in view of the possibility that we may be approaching a solution to the Trieste problem. I have reviewed the matter and have concluded, after weighing the various political factors involved, that there is no objection to the transfer of the major part of the United States forces now in Trieste to the U.S. Zone of Austria at such time as it becomes possible to withdraw them from Trieste.

It is my understanding that approximately 3,000 military personnel are involved, that the troops in question have few dependents, and that no significant housing problem such as was mentioned in my letter of October 24, 1953,2 would be created by their transfer to Austria. It would help to minimize the political reactions of the augmentation of our forces in Austria if the troops could, after their departure from Trieste, be phased into Austria gradually and ostensibly as replacements. Also, if it were found possible to send at least a token number of troops to some station in Europe other than Austria, our position would be enhanced, I believe, by thus being able to state that only part of the U.S. troops from Trieste had been transferred to Austria.

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If you should decide in favor of redeployment to Austria, I should appreciate being informed sufficiently in advance, in order that we may inform the appropriate foreign governments in regard thereto before the actual transfer of troops to Austria takes place.

I understand that it is the opinion of General Gruenther and the Joint Chiefs of Staff that these TRUST forces should not be brought back to the United States but should be continued in Europe as part of our NATO commitment. In view of what I understand to be the military judgment, I do not comment upon the possible return of the troops to the United States.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles
  1. Drafted by Freund, Barbour, and Merchant, and cleared with Palmer (RA) and Jones.
  2. Document 141.