11. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, December 6, 19551


  • Delivery of US note recognizing Austrian neutrality


  • Dr. Karl Gruber, Ambassador of Austria
  • Dr. Eduard Schiller, Counselor, Austrian Embassy
  • The Honorable John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State
  • Mr. Livingston T. Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • WE—Mr. Richard B. Freund

In presenting Ambassador Gruber with the U.S. note (attached) recognizing Austrian neutrality as the Austrian Government had requested in its note of November 14,2 the Secretary made various comments. The U.S. reply is being made not only because of the request of the Austrian Government but in the confident belief that Austria is not and will not be neutral in spirit but will keep its past ties with the West and secure its neutrality with all the resources at its disposal. The Secretary expressed his assurance that the Austrians realize the only place from which a threat can come and the meaning of Austrian dependence upon help from the West should such a threat materialize. Austria, he said, had demonstrated time after time its spiritual orientation toward the West and the U.S. does not assume that there will be any change in that orientation.

Ambassador Gruber replied that despite the new economic problems facing Austria, the Secretary’s assurance about the orientation of Austria is well founded. Austria, he said, is ready to do all that is necessary to meet a threat from the East and all Austrians, with the exception of a handful of Communists, may be counted upon.

The Secretary then referred to the military aid Austria had received from the Soviets and the risks involved in Austria becoming dependent on the East for not only equipment but ammunition and [Page 22] spare parts. Ambassador Gruber assured the Secretary of Austrian awareness of the danger and that Austrian military strength will be established in the right way and with care to avoid dependence on the Soviets.

The conversation closed with expressions by the Secretary of his happiness at having attended the opening of the opera and equally, the ball that followed. He said that at the time the treaty was signed, he had shared the Austrian desire for an end to the occupation before the opening of the opera which he considered to be a symbol almost as important as the treaty itself. It was, he remarked, a great pleasure to have been able to fulfill his long-standing wish to attend and he had been greatly impressed by the true Viennese atmosphere of the ball. The Ambassador replied that his Government had been exceedingly pleased by the Secretary’s attendance and that the celebration had indeed been a great occasion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 663.0021/11–1455. Confidential. Drafted by Freund on December 7.
  2. Neither note is printed. For texts, see Department of State Bulletin, December 19, 1955, pp. 1011–1012.