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Austria (Elections)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 4 July 1949

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55.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that agreement may be reached over the Austrian Peace Treaty, leading to the restoration of Austrian independence, he will now make further efforts to persuade the Allied Governments concerned to permit the holding of genuinely free elections.

If my hon. Friend has in mind the question of the freedom of the Austrians to form new political parties, I would refer him to the replies given on 9th May. My right hon. Friend has constantly in mind the possibility of making further representations in this matter.

Will my right hon. Friend again seek to take up this matter, if necessary outside the Allied Control Commission, at the very highest level, bearing in mind that it is quite farcical to consider the possibility of a treaty being signed with Austria if they have not freedom to form new political parties?

Our view on the subject is well known and has been expressed, but I regret that it would not seem to me desirable to add anything to that view at present.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that a new situation is now arising in view of the fact that it is likely that there will be a treaty before long, and, since the American and the French seem to be the main obstacles to this desirable change, will he draw their attention to the fact that their attitude is out of accord with their general desire to maintain the traditions of Western democracy?