43. Telegram From the Delegation at the Vienna Ambassadorial Conference to the Department of State1

2575. Dept pass USIA. Second Ambassadors conference today in over 4–1/2 hour session under Soviet chairmanship achieved little agreement.2 On Article 16 Figl again pointed out DP camps under Austrian supervision after treaty ratification.3 Wallinger termed Soviet opposition to deletion “illogical and completely unconvincing.” U.S. Ambassador termed retention 16 incompatible with envisaged Austrian neutrality; said world will be watching our work and what we do here will undoubtedly influence resolution other international problems; asked Austria be given maximum chance have no interference from outside in her internal affairs. U.S. Ambassador on second time around made compromise proposal retaining paragraphs 1 and 2 and deleting rest article, stating if Soviets need a legal basis for any legitimate activities, they would have it in paragraphs 1 and 2. French, Austrian and British concurred while Soviets said would consider U.S. proposal and reserved right return subject later.

Conference next deleted Article 16–bis at Austrian request.

Figl next requested in general terms revision Articles 17–30 and stated that security of a neutral Austrian policy cannot be only guaranteed by the great powers but must also depend on preparedness Austrian people themselves. Wallinger supported Figl by mentioning Austria’s envisaged neutrality, stated perhaps 53,000 too few for army and cited Swiss and Swedish models. U.S. Ambassador asked conference to take into account following criteria in determining Austrian military needs (1) maintenance internal order (2) length of Austrian frontiers and size armies of her neighbors. Warned treaty must not create situation where anyone tempted to present us with fait accompli before outside assistance could come. Emphasized Austria has primary responsibility determining her military needs.

Soviet Ambassador refused discuss articles in group and invited remarks on specific articles.

Figl thereupon proposed removal numerical limitations on armed forces in Article 17. French sought to allay Soviets fear by stating not [Page 69] necessary delete all articles though French prepared to delete Articles 17, 19, 25 and retain others, some of which in line with present international situation. British stated they preferred ceiling figure raised, and while not rejecting French proposal, it would need careful consideration.

U.S. Ambassador stated he could agree with French proposal but wished to leave no impression that Austria should maintain armed forces beyond her capacity. Soviet Ambassador thereupon took firm stand he not authorized to discuss 17. U.S. Ambassador supported by British and French, reserved right return to article later.

Figl next requested deletion final paragraph of paragraph 4 of Article 18. Although West supported Figl, Soviet Ambassador reserved right to return to this later.

On Article 25, Figl led off stating Austria intends base future Army on compulsory military training, and therefore proposed deletion. British pointed out Article 17 mentioned in Article 25, and moreover Article 19 bore close relation to Article 17. Difficult to discuss without decision on others. Soviet Ambassador stated since this article connected with 17, he maintained same position. Here British raised procedure point and asked whether Article 21, which not commented on, considered agreed. Soviet Ambassador then stated all articles upon which no comment made would stand.

On Article 33 Soviet Ambassador introduced new text which deletes references to 90 day period and substitutes “after entry into force of state treaty not later than December 31, 1955”. (See separate telegram for textual changes.4) West Ambassadors and Figl asked time study Soviet proposal but Figl added he welcomed any proposal guaranteeing earliest withdrawal occupation forces.

Figl next raised Article 35 and requested conference take into account Moscow negotiations specifically “economic alleviations”. After support by West Ambassadors, Ilyichev read prepared statement that 35 was agreed article, that transfer oil fields, DDSG and OROP5 was bilateral arrangement between U.S.S.R. and Austria, that this did not affect contents of Article 35 and hence Conference of Ambassadors “not competent” to discuss.

Wallinger asked how Soviets could request revision 33 on basis Moscow agreements and refuse similar revisions Article 35. U.S. Ambassador pointed out future Austrian neutrality definitely concerns U.S. He emphasized under present 35 Soviets retained 30 years right intervention. Added if Soviets felt violation had occurred they might [Page 70] reoccupy oil fields and leave West no legal basis to object. Such situation incompatible Austrian neutrality. Added quite apart from this Moscow agreement affects interests U.S. nationals.

Soviet Ambassador stated 33 concerned all four powers whereas 35 with regard to Moscow agreement affects only Austria and U.S.S.R. and repeated comments in prepared statement. West Ambassadors reserved right revert to issue tomorrow.

U.S. Ambassador closed by stating he might clarify U.S. viewpoint by hypothetical example. Suppose, he said, we reached bilateral agreement with Austria that German assets West Austria would not be returned to Germany and suppose we had bilaterally reached agreement with Austria that she would not adopt policy of neutrality. Would Soviets not want inclusion of that bilateral in treaty? Ilyichev bluntly hinted Moscow agreement none of U.S. business.

Next meeting Wednesday 1430.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–355. Confidential; Niact. Repeated to Paris, Moscow, London, Bonn, and Rome.
  2. The meeting was held from 2:30 to 7:25 p.m., May 3, with the same heads of delegation present as at the first session. The unofficial U.S. Delegation verbatim minutes and the official conference minutes of the meeting were transmitted as enclosures to despatches 1273, May 4, and 1302, May 11, respectively, from Vienna. (Ibid., 396.1– VI/5–455 and 5–1155)
  3. For the unagreed text of Article 16, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 11311132.
  4. Thompson summarized the changes and his attitude toward them in telegram 2572, and transmitted the wording in telegram 2573, both May 3. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–355)
  5. The minutes cited in footnote 2 above indicate that this is a reference to an “Oil Trading Company”. The reference has not been identified further.