From Our Austrian Correspondent A strong rumour that the Habsburg restoration would be discussed at Vienna's three-Power Conference on Wednesday and Thursday was denied in Austrian political circles. The Powers taking part in the conference were Austria. Italy and Hungary.
It was pointed out as one of many reasons why the restoration question could not be discussed that the present goodwill between Italy and Jugoslavia might be shattered by Italy's participation in the matter.
Jugoslavia's opposition to the Habsburg restoration is well-known, and one of the higher lights of Mussolini's Milan speech, it must be recalled, was the great emphasis he laid on improved relations between Italy and Jugoslavia.
Habsburg publicity at such a time might have upset the present period of quiet in Austria.
The Rising Dictator Austria's dictator is as unsensational as he is unostentatious. It is therefore natural that since the dissolution of the Heimwehr and the gigantic Patriotic Front demonstration, events are moving slowly and sensations are lacking.
This does not mean that Austrian politics arc comatose. Quite the contrary. The recent Cabinet reshuffle proves that the Chancellor is determined to consolidate his work of unification and the long-expected change entailed no surprise or alteration of method or policy.
It is no secret that pro-Nazi elements had been counting upon a strengthening of their friends within the Cabinet.
A more important post was expected by them for their champion. Dr. Glaise Horstenau, and even the possible inclusion of Dr. Srbik—the coming pro-Nazi " dark-horse." But their hopes were doomed to disappointment The former was merely allocated some small duties and the latter remains outside. Ministers openly associated with the Heimwehr, such as the Vice-Chancellor and the Minister of Finance, have gone (many unpleasant rumours of corruption had circulated round the name of the Minister Of Finance.) The Ministers of Commerce and Justice have also been replaced, but most of the new ministers are men of less marked prominence and with less close Heimwehr connections, having in the past sympathised more with the old Christian Social party.
A Dolfuss Cabinet Minister
An exception is the new Minister of the Interior, Baron Odo Neustadter-Stiirmer, until now Minister in Budapest. A former Heimwehr leader, the Baron played a leading part at the time of Dr. Dolfuss's assassination, being then in the tatter's Cabinet. A strong and forceful personality, he will undoubtedly play as important a part as in the past.
Relations with Germany have not improved in the measure hoped. This could be read into the speech made to the Press representatives by Dr. Schmitt, the Foreign Minister. Nor can, as he rightly said, such bitter memories be effaced so quickly. But at least the new agreement has been loyally observed. Incidents have been few and far between. And relations are slowly improving.
Count Ciano at Vienna The recent Italo-German agreement has contributed. Count Ciano has followed his trip to Berlin by a trip to Vienna. And the fact that Italy and Germany are no longer at daggers drawn over Austria's fate will greatly help Austro-German relations.
The Austrian foreign policy, too, is bound to be affected. Dr. Schmitt's proposed trip to Berlin—unthinkable, a short while ago—proves how much the tension has lessened and to what extent Austria's foreign policy may in future be expected to run parallel to the new Berlin-Rome line of orientation. This may perhaps to some extent mollify the many Austrians who, if not real Nazis at heart, are none the less wholly "nationally-minded " (i.e., panGerman).
The Pagan Alliance
Meanwhile Catholic circles continue to be alarmed by the activities of those few and extraordinary Catholics who, in order to stem the tide of Bolshevism (universally acknowledged to be negligible compared to Nazism in Austria) are quite willing to come to terms with Nazi paganism.
The most prominent representative of this strange little group is Bishop Hudal, formerly rector of the German College in Rome. It is some little time now since Mgr. Iludal published an anonymous letter in a leading clerical paper advocating a close understanding with National Socialism which created such a scandal that Mgr. Hadal was forced to abandon his. anonymity.
The article was strongly repudiated by Mgr. Waltz, Archbishop of Salzburg, and Cardinal Innitzer. But Mgr. Hudal has not abandoned his theories and only recently circulated a statement to the Press in much the same tone.
Publicity Suppressed This time the clerical organ which had published the original article refused to do so. It was circulated, however. by a press agency that has invariably maintained close contact with Germany and National Socialist circles.
As a result the article—or extracts thereof—was reproduced in all German papers in such a way that it appeared to be pure Nazi propaganda and a defence of Hitler's policy towards the Church. Once again the good prelate had, doubtless involuntarily, played into the hands of the Church's most subtle enemies.
Such incidents must not be taken too seriously. But they are straws in the wind. The Schonere Zukutzft, a weekly Catholic paper, supports Mgr. Hudal and his friends. Anti-semitism of a Nazi virulence is becoming an unpleasantly prominent characteristic among certain Catholics, and Catholics who realise the dangers ahead and the folly of compromise with such an enemy are not without misgivings.