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

2619. Department pass to USIA. Fourth session Amb Conf with French presiding saw British withdrawing reservations Articles 17 and 25 which thereupon deleted.2

On Article 33 Wallinger expanded on ratification difficulties and said three possible results of Soviet proposal depending when treaty enters into force (1) if at extremely early date, 90 day period greatly exceeded; (2) if close December 31, troop withdrawal difficult; (3) if after December 31, no clear provision concerning withdrawal. Suggested Soviets would not desire troop withdrawal whether treaty enters into force or not. Alleged Soviet proposal made to please Austrian Govt and public. Next offered two proposals (1) retain present Article 33 but accompany it upon signature treaty with quadripartite declaration containing best endeavors clause, declaring firm desire four powers all processes ratification should be completed and treaty enter force with minimum delay so that Allied forces may be withdrawn from Austrian territory at early date and if possible by November 1, date suggested by Raab in Parliament speech recently. Wallinger offered second alternative proposal, accepting Soviet amendments paragraphs 2 and 5 but amending paragraph 3 to read [Page 80] “forces of Allied and Associated Powers and members Allied Commission be withdrawn by (blank) or if treaty has not entered into force by (blank) 90 days after entry into force of treaty.” Wallinger suggested as possible dates for blanks November 1 and August 1.

British Ambassador finished speech by stressing ratification difficulties in UK and expressing pleasure at Soviet agreements yesterday.

Soviet Ambassador asked his proposal be discussed first and for Austrian opinion. Figl had no objection.

US Ambassador now pointed out additional difficulty in fixing arbitrary terminal withdrawal date namely possibility Austria would be left virtually defenseless since Austrian Govt might not have begun formation of its defense forces when all troops withdrawn. Added US desires earliest possible signature and ratification and readiness enter formal declaration that effect.

Soviet Ambassador defended his proposal and assured conference Soviets would not delay ratification. Suggested possibility West using delaying tactics. Since USSR, France and Austria agreed to December 31 date and US Ambassador in earlier remarks had stated one country not necessarily US might delay ratification, Soviet Ambassador stated only UK possible guilty party and I am sure Mr. Wallinger will agree if we all speak to him. Added US Ambassador wants create Austrian army first and then ratify treaty but according treaty Austria cannot arm until ratification. Asked if Austria declares neutrality and four powers guarantee that neutrality (note this is first Soviet mention these subjects) where then lies danger? Soviet Ambassador accused British proposals lacking substance and opposition to Soviet proposal based on wish prolong occupation.

US Ambassador pointed out he had been misquoted or misunderstood. He had not proposed Austria begin creation of its defense forces before ratification. He had merely pointed out that situation could arise where all had withdrawn forces and Austria not yet in position begin creation its own army. Saying Soviet Ambassador had very skillfully confused two separate things, he accused Soviet Ambassador of taking as one and same thing support Soviet proposal and certainty ratification treaty. Challenged French representative to state he could guarantee French Parliament would ratify treaty by October 1 without question. West accused of desiring prolong occupation but if treaty ratified promptly with Soviet version Article 33, period for withdrawal troops could be 180 instead 90 days. Thus if all ratified by July 1 troops out by October 1. If that date too early for Soviet Ambassador and he wishes prolong, US willing to consider.

French suggested formation sub-committee resolve “technical” problem and again asked Austrian views. Soviet Ambassador stated [Page 81] Austrians had been very clear on Soviet proposal and rejected French suggestion. Speaking to US, Soviet Ambassador noted “touching situation is arising. Figl agrees with Soviet proposal and has no apprehensions but Mr. Thompson more worried than Austrians themselves.”

French then submitted compromise proposal retaining 90 day period for troop withdrawal after treaty goes into force but adding “and insofar as possible not later than December 31, 1955.” British accepted and prepared withdraw own proposals, Soviet Ambassador reserved right express opinion later. US asked if French proposal amendment Soviet proposal or current treaty text and if former might be acceptable to US. If latter, then further study required. Reserved right to return to problem. French stated his proposal amendment Soviet proposal. When Austria reserved right examine proposal, Soviet Ambassador proposed adjourning discussion.

French now turned Article 35 and referred his proposition circulated yesterday.3 Suggested restricted meeting.4 Ambassadors agreed.

Upon reconvening US motion adjourn adopted. Next meeting Friday 1430 hours.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–VI/5–555. Confidential; Niact. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, Bonn, and Rome.
  2. The meeting was held from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. on May 5 with the same heads of delegation present as at the first three meetings. The U.S. Delegation unofficial verbatim minutes and the official conference minutes of this session were both transmitted as enclosures to despatch 1302 from Vienna, May 11. (Ibid., 396.1–VI/5–1155)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 45.
  4. See infra and Document 49.