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

1937. Figl informed me at reception last night that Austrian Govt would wish to discuss Soviet démarche with Western HICOMs on Monday and that they had received additional information from Bischoff, nature of which he did not reveal. Presume additional information [Page 6] referred to that furnished by Gruber (Deptel 24552). I have as yet received no other information on second Bischoff conversation with Molotov. I hope meet with British and French before seeing Figl.

Austrians are concerned that Soviets might at any time make public substance of recent discussions and that Austrian Govt might be put in position of having failed respond to overture which promised hope for treaty. Believe however we should urge Austrians refuse to call for conference until Soviets clarify what they have in mind by expression “security against Anschluss”. If by calling for Austrian Govt answer to Molotov’s speech Soviets mean that Austrian Govt should call for a conference, hope we can persuade Austrians to stand firm. If however they mean merely public statement by Austrian Govt taking official position on Molotov’s speech, would be difficult for Austrians to refuse although as Dept aware Figl has already commented in public speeches.

Before discussing question further with my Western colleagues, would like Dept’s reaction to following: Soviets appear determined take soon step re Austria prior to completion ratification Paris protocols. Believe effect could be mitigated and pressure taken off Austrians if Western powers should seize initiative and address inquiry to Soviet Govt asking for clarification references to Austria in Molotov’s speech. Would suggest this could be done by Quadripartite note which would not be published but which would state copy being furnished to Austrian Govt. Note could refer to Soviets’ failure to answer Western note of November 29,3 welcome indication in Molotov’s speech that Soviets now appear prepared agree to firm date evacuation troops and not make Austrian treaty dependent upon completion German treaty but deplore fact that Molotov has again raised new obstacle in vague and uncertain terms. Note might conclude that in view importance achieve long overdue solution Austrian question hope Soviet Govt will make their position clear and that Molotov’s speech is not merely another attempt prevent or delay ratification of Paris Agreements by proposing a conference which would make settlement of Austrian question contingent upon actions re Germany which would clearly be unacceptable to Western powers. To serve purpose note would have to be despatched promptly. If Dept reaction favorable suggest it prepare draft and request British and French authorize their representatives here to join me in sounding [Page 7] out Austrians on general idea without waiting for agreement on final text.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/3–455. Top Secret; Priority. Repeated to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. Presumably a reference to telegram 2445, supra , since telegram 2455 deals with another subject.
  3. For text of the tripartite note of November 29, 1954, see Department of State Bulletin, December 13, 1954, pp. 901–902.