11. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1
1645. The latest Bischoff–Molotov exchange published in Soviet press today was given correspondents last evening. Assume therefore, [Page 15] Department has full text of Soviet reply March 242 to Austrian communication March 14.
Soviet reply still leaves obscure exact immediate purpose Soviet Government is seeking in Austrian question but appears, however, to confirm desire to segregate Austrian question from German at least for purposes negotiation. Reply does not clarify exactly what Soviet Government means by guarantees against Anschluss in light rearmament Western Germany and Soviet comment on point 1 of Austrian statement merely refers to visible necessity of adoption “real measures” taking into account existing plans for remilitarization Western Germany which increase danger of Anschluss followed by vague reference to examination time of troop withdrawal as well as “measures” which should be undertaken in future in event of emergence of direct threat of Anschluss. This latter phrase would appear to indicate some intention to reserve the right of re-entry of troops in event Soviet Government chose to consider Anschluss threat immediately. Similar obscurity is noted in point 1, as to nature guarantees Soviets have in mind against Austrian participation in military alliances or establishment bases. On conference question, it is noted that Soviet Government does not go beyond stating that Austrian question would be considered “separately” but does not exclude by any means possibility of other matters also being discussed at any such conference.
Reference to favorable Soviet reaction to alleged desire Chancellor Raab to visit Moscow in near future is new element since we have not seen here any public statements which would give that impression. It may be nothing more than Soviet invention designed to place Raab and Austrian Government in embarrassing position. It would be interesting to know if in fact Raab had ever given any such public indication as that attributed to him.
While immediate intentions Soviet Government are still matter of speculation, its basic concern as in past still appears to be prevention of integration Austria into Western defense system which in their eyes is rendered particularly acute by imminence entry into force Paris agreements. Under conditions continued German disarmament [Page 16] Soviets clearly feel this purpose best served by continuing occupation Austria and sabotage peace treaty. However, prospects German rearmament may have increased danger in their view of some form of concealed military association through lines of communication or other military arrangements which would result in de facto involvement 3 Western zones Austria in NATO military network, to which Soviet Government would respond by integrating more closely Soviet zone into projected Eastern military setup with consequent result division Austria somewhat along German lines. Thus the present Soviet maneuver could serve dual purpose of working towards neutralization of Austria as a whole or conversely as propaganda preparation for countermeasures in event of necessity to safeguard Soviet military position in Soviet zone Austria.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/3–1555. Secret. Repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, and Vienna.↩
- On March 24 Molotov had handed Bischoff the Soviet reply to the Austrian memorandum of March 14 (see footnote 2, Document 8). With regard to point 1, the Soviets replied that it would be necessary to consider the time limits for withdrawal of troops from Austria and measures to prevent Anschluss. On point 2 the Soviets stated that they were prepared to discuss the form of a neutrality declaration. On point 3 they replied that the question of an Austrian State Treaty should be discussed separately at a four-power meeting. Molotov also mentioned to Bischoff that the Soviet Government would welcome a visit of the Austrian Chancellor and other officials in the near future. For full text of the Soviet reply, see USCOA, March 24, 1955. A copy was also transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 1104 from Vienna, March 28. (Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/3–2855)↩