16. Memorandum of Discussion at the 273d Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, January 18, 19561

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and items 1–4.]

5. U.S. Objectives and Policies With Respect to Austria (NSC 164/1; Progress Report, dated December 14, 1955, by the OCB on NSC 164/12)

After Mr. Anderson had briefed the National Security Council on the contents of the reference progress report, the President said he wished to pose a question. Why shouldn’t our propaganda organs jeer at the Soviets for insisting on taking millions of barrels of oil annually from a small poor country like Austria? Would it not be possible to get local information media to do this kind of a job for [Page 31] us? After all, Austria had been an invaded country and not a willing ally of Hitler.

In response to the President’s question, Secretary Dulles cited the legal authority on which the Soviets were basing their claims to this oil; namely, agreement by the Allies that Nazi assets in Austria were to go to the Soviet Union. Strictly speaking therefore, the oil was not booty.

Mr. Allen Dulles, however, believed that the President’s idea could be used at least in covert propaganda. Secretary Dulles also pointed out that there was even a larger field for the exercise of the President’s idea because it applied not only to Austria but to the Soviet satellites as well. In practice the Soviets were squeezing out the resources of their satellites and then turning around to make generous offers to the peoples of the free Asian states.

Governor Stassen then stated that he had a suggestion to make. Would it not be worthwhile to undertake a study of the possibilities of reaching back from countries like Austria and Finland on the periphery of the Soviet Union in order to effect evolutionary changes in the U.S.S.R. Such a program should be of a long-term character, perhaps over a period of ten years.

Mr. Anderson pointed out that Governor Stassen’s idea was probably already included in agreed NSC policy. Accordingly, it would be more appropriate to refer his proposal to the Operations Coordinating Board for study of ways and means of executing such a program. The President and the Secretary of State expressed agreement with Mr. Anderson’s view.

The National Security Council:

Noted and discussed the reference progress report on the subject by the Operations Coordinating Board.
Directed the NSC Planning Board to prepare a revised statement of U.S. Policy toward Austria.

[Here follows item 6.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on January 19.
  2. Document 13.