The Great Powers and the Danubian Problem

May 6, 1935

Report Outline
Origin and Purpose of Danubian Confference at Rome
Austrian Independence and the Peace of Europe
The Austrian Situation and German Rearmament
Attempts to Solve Daintbian Economic Problems

Origin and Purpose of Danubian Confference at Rome

At Stresa on April 14, 1935, representatives of Great Britain, France, and Italy, referring to decisions reached by them early this year to “consult together as to measures to be taken in case of a threat to the integrity and independence of Austria,” agreed “to recommend that representatives of all the governments enumerated in the protocol of Rome should meet at a very early date with the view to conclude a Central European arrangement.” Latest advices indicate that the proposed conference will meet at Rome under the chairmanship of Premier Mussolini on June 3. The countries enumerated in the so-called protocol of Rome, which was a Franco-Italian accord signed on January 7, 1935, were Italy, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Austria, France, Poland, and Rumania.

After providing in the Rome accord for settlement of certain territorial and political differences affecting their respective colonial possessions in Africa, France and Italy proposed the conclusion of a non-interference pact among Austria and her neighbors—the first six countries named above—the pact to be open to the adherence of France, Poland, and Rumania. This proposal was approved by the British government in an Anglo-French communique of February 3, in which England associated herself with the Rome accord by stating that she would consult with France and Italy if the independence or integrity of Austria were menaced. Britain is to send an observer to the Rome conference. The original program, which contemplated only the framing of a non-interference pact, has been expanded to include consideration of a supplementary Danubian mutual assistance pact. While the rearming of Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria will doubtless be discussed informally, it is now expected that final disposal of that question will be left for later action through diplomatic channels.

Hungarian and German Attitude on Proposed Pacts

In a preliminary meeting of Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian statesmen at Venice on May 4, it developed that Hungary was unwilling to sign a mutual assistance pact, contending that it would be meaningless for her to enter such an agreement with nations holding territory that she claims as her own, especially since she has no army. It is reported that there will consequently be no attempt to make the mutual assistance pact all-inclusive, that it will simply be opened to signature by those nations willing to assume the obligation. Hungary also showed hesitancy about a non-interference pact whose terms might rule out propaganda for treaty revision by lawful means. Since it is desired to define non-interference in such a way as to prevent resumption of German-inspired Nazi propaganda in Austria, Hungary's position may cause difficulty. The prospects of effecting a compromise on this point, however, are believed to be favorable.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Oct. 17, 1939  Coalition Government and National Unity
Oct. 03, 1939  Present and Proposed Neutrality Legislation
May 10, 1939  Demands of the European Dictators
Apr. 01, 1939  American Neutrality Policy and the Balance of Power
Jan. 10, 1939  Nazi Objectives in Eastern Europe
Oct. 18, 1938  Changing European Political Alignments
Jan. 27, 1938  The Spread of Dictatorship
Oct. 21, 1937  Neutrality vs. Sanctions
Feb. 05, 1937  Germany's Demand for Colonies
Dec. 04, 1935  Revision of American Neutrality Policy
May 06, 1935  The Great Powers and the Danubian Problem
Jan. 16, 1935  Neutrality Policy of the United States
Jun. 04, 1928  The International Cartel Movement
International Law and Agreements
Regional Political Affairs: Europe