10. Telegram From the Office of the High Commissioner for Austria to the Department of State 1

2093. Re mytel 2972 [2072] March 212 following has been agreed with my French and British colleagues who are sending similar telegrams their governments:

A. Analysis of present situation:

Soviet handling of Austrian affairs in recent weeks suggests that immediate objective of Soviet Government is to engage Western powers in conference on Austrian question in such manner as to enable them to reopen negotiations on German problem or at least keep door open to do so later.
Soviet Government appears to have accepted the inevitability of ratification Paris treaties although not yet of actual German rearmament.
Basic Soviet objective appears to be creation belt of neutral states consisting of Sweden, Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia. In view apparent recent trends in Yugoslavia toward neutralism, creation of situation in which Germany would be only missing link in this chain must have great attraction for Soviets. We therefore consider possible Soviets prepared conclude Austria treaty if neutralization or something closely approaching neutralization of Austria can be achieved. Prevention of rearmament is probably still their primary aim and they may indeed consider that neutralization of Austria would contribute thereto.
Austrian Government opinion appears to be moving toward necessity of accepting some form of neutralization as price for treaty.
Austrian Government is nervous and worried by present bilateral discussions and would prefer to shift responsibility to Western powers but is forced by political situation and public opinion to continue them until this can be done as long as there is any prospect that they might lead to progress toward treaty.

B. Recommendations:

When working groups are set up to consider Western tactics in negotiations with the Russians after the ratification of the Paris agreements, that on Austria should be kept distinct from that on Germany and should if possible meet in a different place.
We consider that it suits Western policy (as it apparently also suits Soviet policy) to discuss Austria first. We should endeavor to restrict discussion to issues having direct impact on Austria.

It is to be hoped that Molotov will make the next move.

We discussed possibility that if he does not Western powers should intervene by a tripartite note but reached no conclusion. In absence one of these alternatives we believe Austrian Government will be compelled to take initiative themselves and that they might be advised as first step to speak to Russians as follows:

“We ourselves are content to see the state treaty which contains provisions against ‘Anschluss’ signed here and now in its present form and we have already assured you that we do not intend to conclude military alliances or to allow military bases on our territory. Molotov’s latest talks with Bischoff suggest that you want something more; we should be glad to consider anything that you may suggest provided that (a) it does not infringe Austria’s independence and sovereignty; (b) it can be agreed by the four powers without delay, and is not contingent upon the settlement of questions which are no direct concern of Austria”.

We realize that this is substantially a restatement of Bischoff’s communication of March 14;3 but we are doubtful carrying matters further on a bilateral basis which might lead to yielding of further points without any return. In this connection we consider that Raab’s speech on March 204 has already weakened our position.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/3–2355. Secret. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Bonn.
  2. Supra .
  3. Transmitted in telegram 1948; see footnote 2, Document 8.
  4. In telegram 2087 from Vienna, March 22, Thompson reported on Raab’s radio address of March 20. With regard to Anschluss it quoted Raab as stating that the best thing would be a four-power guarantee automatically safeguarding the inviolability of Austria. (Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/3–2255)