21. Memorandum of Discussion at the 281st Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, April 5, 19561

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and items 1 and 2.]

3. US. Policy Toward Austria (NSC 164/1; NSC Action No. 1507; NSC 5603;2 Memo for all Holders of NSC 5603 from Executive Secretary, dated March 26, 1956;3 Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated April 4, 19564)

The Executive Secretary began to brief the Council on the contents of the reference report (NSC 5603), and noted the concurrence of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When Mr. Lay reached paragraphs 14 and 15, dealing with U.S. policy regarding the integrity of Austrian neutrality, he pointed out the possibility of a tripartite Western declaration supporting, though not guaranteeing, Austria’s political and territorial integrity. The President said that such a possibility did not worry him, since the declaration in this instance would not be unlike the 1950 tripartite declaration on the Arab-Israeli problem.

[Page 40]

Secretary Wilson at this point indicated that there was still a balance of $20 million worth of arms which would be delivered, if present schedules were followed, to the Austrians next year. Secretary Wilson wondered whether the Austrians were really ready to receive this final increment of arms that we were supplying them, and suggested the possibility of temporarily slowing up delivery of these arms. The President answered that this was a problem which would not be settled in the National Security Council, but that Assistant Secretary of Defense Gordon Gray should look into the matter. After Mr. Lay had pointed out that the Staff Study indicated the possibility of a delay in the development of Austria’s armed forces, the President said that it would be all right to stagger delivery of this last $20 million worth of arms if it developed that Austria was not prepared to receive it.

Admiral Radford said that he might mention that the Italians have told us that they had been approached by the Austrians with a request for additional arms. Accordingly, Admiral Radford believed that Austrian military leaders at least were thinking in terms of enlarging the scope of Austria’s rearmament.

[1 paragraph (7 lines of source text) not declassified]

The National Security Council:

Noted and discussed the draft statement of policy on the subject contained in the reference report (NSC 5603) in the light of the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff transmitted by the reference memorandum of April 4.
Adopted the statement of policy contained in NSC 5603.

Note: NSC 5603 subsequently approved by the President, who directs its implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, and designates the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.

[Here follow items 4 and 5.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on April 6.
  2. Document 19.
  3. Not found in Department of State files.
  4. This memorandum enclosed a March 30 memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommending that NSC 5603 supersede NSC 164/1. (Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 60 D 661, Austrian Documents)