76. Editorial Note

At 11:30 a.m. on May 15 at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union; their High Commissioners; and the Foreign Minister of Austria signed the State Treaty. In the course of the ceremonies, each of the Foreign Ministers made a brief statement and Secretary of State Dulles presented Austrian President Koerner with a letter from President Eisenhower expressing the best wishes of the American people.

For text of President Eisenhower’s letter, see Department of State Bulletin, May 30, 1955, page 873; for text of the Austrian State Treaty, see ibid., June 6, 1955, pages 916 ff.; the texts of the Foreign Ministers statements were transmitted as enclosures to despatch 1177 [Page 116] from Vienna, May 19. (Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/5–1955)

On May 17, Secretary Dulles reported to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his participation in the North Atlantic Council meeting and the signing of the Austrian State Treaty. With regard to the latter he reviewed the process by which the final treaty had been reached and expressed his belief that its signature was the first fruit of a united Western Europe and the bringing into NATO of West Germany. For the full text of his testimony, see Foreign Relations Committee, pages 493–512.

On May 19, Secretary of State Dulles reported on his trip to Europe to the National Security Council. With regard to the Austrian State Treaty the memorandum of discussion reports the following:

“His next subject, said Secretary Dulles, would be Vienna and the Austrian State Treaty. The high point in this phase of his trip was our success in getting rid of Article 16 in the Treaty draft, and our success in getting the new economic articles incorporated by reference into the Treaty. This latter issue had required ‘some doing’, and had proved to be the toughest sticking point. Until the last minute, the Soviets had refused to incorporate the economic arrangements they had agreed to bilaterally with the Austrians at Moscow into the Treaty, and had insisted that Article 35 should stand as written. It was at this point that Secretary Dulles had informed Ambassador Thompson that he would not even come to Vienna if the Soviets insisted on this position. They had thereafter given in.

“The Soviets had from time to time during the Vienna negotiations exhibited their characteristic trickery. This was manifest in the attempt to remove from the preamble of the Treaty references to Austrian war guilt, though the Soviets gave in on this one too. The trickiness was even more manifest on the occasion of the actual signature of the Treaty. Molotov was supposed to make a brief two-minute ceremonial statement. This he had turned into a 15-minute political and propaganda speech, to which the Americans were obliged to sit and listen. In the course of this speech Molotov had imputed to the United States complete acceptance of the proclamation of Austrian neutrality. In fact, of course, we have not accepted any statement of Austrian neutrality as yet, except in principle.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

On June 1 President Eisenhower submitted the text of the treaty together with Secretary Dulles’ report thereon to the Senate which ratified it on June 17 by a vote of 63 to 3. Austria, France, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom completed their ratifications by early July and the Austrian State Treaty entered into force on July 27, 1955.

On October 26 the Austrian Nationalrat passed a law defining the terms of Austria’s permanent neutrality and sent the text to the other four signatory powers. The United States recognized the permanent neutrality set forth in the law in a note dated December 6 [Page 117] and the three other powers made similar recognition by the end of the year. For the texts of the Austrian law, the note transmitting it, and the United States reply, see Department of State Bulletin, December 19, 1955, pages 1011–1012.