UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 2)
Evidently angered by what he called “well organized” questioning in this country with regard to Austrian Government plans to settle claims of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime in Austria, Chancellor Julius Raab of Austria declared here today that a definite proposal will be made to the Jewish organizations on the heirless property question shortly after he returns to Vienna.
The Chancellor made it clear that in his opinion the restitution problem will be settled by the Cabinet and the Cabinet alone, “without pressure. ” Asked by reporters if he would identify the source of the “pressure” to which he referred, he declared “pressure can come from any side or various sides. ” He seemed to be quite firm in asserting that the problem will be solved not by discussion between the Austrian Government and any other group, but unilaterally by the Cabinet itself.
(At a luncheon tendered today to Chancellor Raab by Freedom House, in New York, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt indicated that the people of the United States are interested in seeing Austria settle the Jewish claims. Declaring that the American people sympathize with Austria’s demand for independence and will support it, Mrs. Roosevelt said she hopes “Austria will see her way to adjust the claims advanced against her by others.” Chancellor Raab, in his speech at the luncheon, refrained from replying to the issue raised by Mrs. Roosevelt. Leaders of Jewish organizations did not attend the luncheon.)
The Chancellor denied newspaper reports that the government had made a specific offer of $5,285,000 for losses suffered by Jews in Austria under the Nazis. Speaking on his behalf, one of his aides said “no proposal has been made as yet. A proposal will be made in two weeks.”
Mr. Raab came to the UN headquarters this morning to pay an official courtesy call on Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, then met for an “informal” session with correspondents. One of the first questions asked him concerned the fact that the Allied Council in Vienna had vetoed the Austrian Parliament’s law to return property to former Nazis. In answering that question, the Chancellor, who was speaking German, declared “this questioning on the Jewish problem seems to have been well organized. “