6. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Austria 1

78. Vienna pass General Arnold. Joint State–Defense message. Subject: U.S. Military Assistance to Austria.


General Policy

Embassy’s initiative in approaching Austrians this subject (Embtel 3204)2 commended. Concur fully arguments presented Raab and Schaerf for rapid development adequate Austrian defense forces which is key factor in US willingness support militarily neutral Austria. US response Austrian requests for financial and material assistance will be affected by Austrian plans use it. Therefore will follow with great interest Austrian plans and progress its military build-up and wish be kept currently informed. Austrian planning will be considered in light NATO standards e.g. two years normal and one and a half years minimum service for adequate training modern reserve forces.

Financial Assistance
Financial support for special gendarmérie has been authorized on present basis for 8,500 until effective date treaty (DA 961780, May 19)3 and for same number on limited basis (pay, allowances, and food only) for 90 days thereafter (DA 982584, June 3).3 Consideration currently being given increasing this support to cover average strength of 11,500 during 90-day period and factor this consideration will be rapidity with which Austrians act to raise strength of gendarmerie. You are authorized inform Austrians foregoing in manner you deem appropriate.
USFA recommendation supported by Embassy that consideration be given continuing financial support Austrian military establishment of approximately $10 million a year for next ten years (P 0551, May 20)4 has been noted. Although Defense position not yet fully established, we do not plan extend such assistance after withdrawal occupation troops under present political and economic circumstances. Our troop withdrawal date seems logical time for cessation financial assistance. Anything beyond that date would be difficult [Page 14] break off. Austrian and US officials on record in connection treaty ratification to effect Austria able and willing assume responsibilities under treaty without outside financial aid. Her determination provide effective defense territorial integrity and neutrality should be adequately demonstrated before any future consideration given US financial support beyond that contemplated foregoing paragraph. Meanwhile, Austrians should not be encouraged believe any possibility direct financial support from US after R plus 90.


Similar considerations to those set forth above guide our policy with respect to turnover of equipment for Austrian military. Our immediate objective is to provide basic military equipment which will give Austria good start in establishment effective defense force. Consistent with general US MDAP policy we regard maintenance and replacement this basic equipment as primarily Austrian responsibility but are prepared consider seek necessary authorization including legislative action to meet such specific supplementary requests as may be justified by future developments including Austrian performance, plans and efforts obtain spares and ammo from W. European sources we have been at pains to establish. You authorized inform Austrians accordingly in manner deemed most appropriate in course transmission following information as preliminary response their formal requests:

Re Figl letter May 4 requesting Stockpile A (Embtel 2583),5 authority already granted issue equipment from Stockpile for 8,500 gendarmerie (DEF 982996, June 10).6 You should explain to Austrians transfer authorization by increments necessitated by desire avoid necessity of bilateral military agreement required by present legislation and desire avoid public discussion which would be involved in seeking amendments at this time. Turnover of $20 million worth of Stockpile now authorized. Hope but cannot commit have authority transfer at least another $20 million worth before treaty becomes effective, and you authorized begin joint planning with Austrians for development of program upon which turnover stockpile will be completed including negotiation of satisfactory arrangement for transport and storage in Austria along lines suggested Embtel 37.7 On basis these plans, you are authorized effective immediately deliver to Austrians up to first $20 million worth provided Embassy and CG, USFA satisfied Austrian build-up plans including time-phasing warrant. Keep Washington fully informed of plans and action taken pursuant this authorization. Will inform immediately upon receipt authority for transfer remainder Stockpile.
Re Raab letter May 20 requesting equipment additional to that contained Stockpile A (Embtel 2858),8 while no question desirability [Page 15] Austrian army larger than 28,000, we feel decision must await justification in terms future development capabilities and plans Austrian armed forces. Meanwhile Austrian requests (P 0661, June 1)9 and your recommendations (P 0644, June 11)9 under study to determine cost and availability in event future developments should warrant further consideration.
Re Figl letter June 1 requesting buildings, installed equipment and other property (Embtel 3020)10 authority has been granted dispose of buildings, installed property (DA 983083)11 and excess personal property (DA 982790)11 to Austrian Government. You are authorized negotiate this turnover under terms paragraph 4 FFS 1082 July 10, 1950 in such manner as Embassy and CG, USFA, determine will assure best use made of it for purposes Austrian military forces and put US in most favorable light (re claims, etc.) under terms of Deptels 3359 May 26 and 56 of July 7.12

Re personal property not declared excess decision awaits receipt information requested DA 983217, June 14.13 Will consider existing legislation and regulations as well as justification of need and direct usefulness for Austrian military forces.

Conclusion. While above points not fully responsive Austrian requests believe we have gone considerable distance meet them at this early stage. Dept assumes your presentation points authorized will convey basic US desire for rapid build-up effective Austrian force and desire cooperate in all ways legislatively possible and warranted by actual Austrian efforts.

Note: Foregoing aspects formerly classified Top Secret hereby downgraded to Secret.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 763.5/6–2855. Secret. Drafted by Compton and Freund on July 8; cleared in draft with ICA, OSD, L/GER, S/MSA, and RA; approved by Merchant; and signed by Barbour for Dulles. Pouched to Paris and London.
  2. Supra .
  3. Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)
  4. Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)
  5. In this telegram, Arnold recommended annual financial support of $10 million for the Austrian Army, but added that neither he nor Thompson believed that this question should be discussed with the Austrians until the treaty came into force. (Ibid.)
  6. Not printed. (Department of State Central Files, 663.001/5–455)
  7. Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)
  8. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 763.5–MSP/7–2455)
  9. Not printed. (Ibid., 663.001/5–2455)
  10. Not found in Department of State files.
  11. Not found in Department of State files.
  12. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/6–755)
  13. Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)
  14. Not printed. (Department of Defense Files)
  15. Neither printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 663.001/5–2244 and 663.001/7–255, respectively)
  16. This telegram requested information on the type, cost, and present value of the personal property which might be transferred to the Austrian Government. (Department of Defense Files)