Paris Peace Conf. 711.63113/2: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace

173. Following is Alien Property Custodian’s answer to your number 40, December 21, 10 a.m.23

“When we opened our books we did not anticipate the breaking up of the Austrian Empire and consequently listed the property of the subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as it existed on August 1, 1914. The approximate amount of that property in our hands is $36,503,107.35.

I think it would be a very splendid thing if the present Government of German-Austria should requisition individual rights from its citizens in the property in my hands as this would facilitate the settlement, but no disposition of such property could be made by me without further legislation by Congress. The only provision [Page 561] made in the courts relative to the disposition of enemy property is contained in Section 12,24 wherein it is provided:

‘After the end of the war any claim of any enemy, or of an ally of enemy, to any money or other property received and held by the Alien Property Custodian or deposited in the United States Treasury, shall be settled as Congress shall direct.’

Thus you will see that before I can part with any alien property in my hands there must be further legislation by Congress, which I assume will promptly follow the treaty of peace if it shall provide, as it should, for the final disposition of all this property.”

  1. Post, p. 605.
  2. 40 Stat. 423.