5. Telegram From the Embassy in Austria to the Department of State1

3204. Although leaders of both parties have recently made statements indicating their realization of importance of development adequate Austrian defense forces, there have also been numerous reports circulating to effect that Aust Army might be established on excessively modest basis. Socialists have for instance been reported as pressing for military service of only four months.

In view of these reports I called on Raab and Schaerf this morning to emphasize our interest in Aust defense plans. I said that Aust Army was not only technical and internal political question, but it had wide international significance. If for instance Aust did not undertake creation of defense forces which would appear reasonable and adequate in eyes of world, they would be leaving military [Page 12] vacuum here which would make nonsense of neutrality policy and would vitiate Austria’s voice in world councils. Aust failure to carry its fair share of free world defense burden would also have serious effect on defense efforts of other small European nations, thus starting a deterioration which might have most unfortunate results for us all.

As far as US direct interest was concerned I explained that we were endeavoring to arrange turnover to Austria of substantial quantities of military equipment, that no matter what compensation Austria gave us it would probably not amount to more than fraction of real cost and that therefore American taxpayer was, in effect, making a considerable investment in Aust defense. From both technical and political points of view US was concerned that best possible use be made of this investment. I therefore expressed hope that technical as well as political considerations would be taken into account in reaching final decisions.

Both Raab and Schaerf stated emphatically that they were fully aware of considerations I had mentioned and were determined that Aust would have adequate army. Raab pointed out that it was Aust Govt which took initiative in asking for elimination of restrictive military clauses in State Treaty, and that both parties were agreed that there should be universal and effective military training which would result in creation within few years of trained manpower reserve of 500,000.

Raab also commented that he was most impressed with training and effectiveness of special gendarmérie which would provide excellent cadres for army. He asked whether American support could be continued on present basis till end of this year. I said we were anxious to be of such help as we could, that we were presently authorized to continue gendarmérie support only until treaty entry into force. However, General Arnold was waiting further authorizations from Washington on several matters concerning turnover mil equipment, etc, which he expected within next week or two. When these authorizations received we would be calling on Raab and Schaerf to discuss details.

I believe interview was salutary and that chances are good that parties will soon reach agreement on military program which will provide basis for reasonably effective Aust defense effort.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 763.5/6–2855. Secret.