2. Telegram From the Office of the High Commissioner for Austria to the Department of State 1
1853. Figl and Kreisky called in three Western representatives yesterday afternoon. We reviewed indications so far received re Soviet interpretation Molotov speech:
- Ilyichev’s attitude as set forth Embassy telegram 1834.2
- Soviet Minister Kudryatsev has said recent Soviet Government changes do not represent hardening of Soviet policy and that Molotov speech says “something new”, implying that Austrian treaty could be concluded and Austria evacuated if Western powers would give “guarantee” against Anschluss.
- In conversation with Yugoslav Counselor, local Soviet Counselor Timoshenko said Austria is vital area for USSR, that 1938 guarantees against Anschluss were insufficient and that therefore Soviets must have something more. He strongly hinted that this something more was demilitarization of Germany.
Figl said Austrians were asking Soviets for clarification of Molotov speech but that in addition situation here demanded some action by Western powers. He suggested that some public reiteration of Western willingness sign Austrian treaty without regard to progress on Paris treaties (as set forth in note of November 293) would fill this need. After some discussion Wallinger offered to recommend that a [Page 3] parliamentary question be planted which would refer to Molotov’s statement that evacuation of Austria possible and inquire re attitude of HMG. Reply could reiterate November 29 position and emphasize that this position not dependent on fate of Paris agreements. Presumably press would then ask same question of Department and Secretary or Department spokesman could make similar reply. In view current French political situation it would of course be more difficult to get authoritative French statement on the record.
We all three expressed sympathy for Austrian position but made clear that we could not promise immediate action along desired lines. Although no officials are optimistic over possible change in Soviet policy, there is, as usual, a problem of public opinion here which has been stimulated not only by Molotov speech but also by recent press articles in Salzburger Nachrichten and Catholic Die Furche advocating scrapping of present treaty draft and substitution therefor of simple “declaration of liberation”. In addition, Ilyichev apparently again attacked Raab during most recent meeting on his statements in US4 in which he reportedly expressed hope that Austrian treaty could be signed after passage of Paris agreements. We believe Figl’s proposal that West reiterate that willingness sign Austrian treaty not dependent on Paris agreements, may in part reflect Raab’s desire undo effect his press statements in US.
Action on Figl proposal along lines suggested by Wallinger would be helpful locally. Even though handled in very routine and unspectacular way in Western capitals, it could be effectively exploited here.5
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/2–2355. Secret. Repeated to Moscow, Paris, London, and Bonn.↩
- Telegram 1834 reported that Raab and Schaerf had their first conversation with Ilichev since his return from Moscow on February 18. They pressed for clarification of Molotov’s report and Ilichev finally promised to seek further information on the nature of the guarantee. (Ibid., 663.001/2–1955)↩
- For text of the tripartite note of November 29, 1954, concerning Soviet proposals on a European security system, see Department of State Bulletin, December 13, 1954, pp. 901–902.↩
- Chancellor Raab visited the United States, beginning November 21, 1954.↩
- On February 25 the Embassy in Vienna was informed that the Department of State was reluctant to make any statement that might impede ratification of the Paris agreements. If, however, the British and French believed the suggested course was feasible and desirable, the Department of State would participate. (Telegram 2391 to Vienna; Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/2–2355)↩