Paris Peace Conf. 711.63113/1: Telegram

The Commission to Negotiate Peace to the Acting Secretary of State

40. [From Lansing.] I desire to be informed of the approximate amount of property now held by the Enemy Alien Property Custodian belonging to—First, subjects of the old Austrian Empire, and, [Page 606] Second, citizens of the present German-Austria de facto government. Under whose orders may this property be disposed of. Does such disposal require Congressional action? If the present government of German-Austria should, in accordance with its laws, requisition from its citizens their individual rights in such assets and transfer such rights to a branch or department of the United States Government with the assent of the Allies, is there any reason why the Enemy Property Custodian should not recognize such title and pay over any available surplus after providing for claims against the fund arising from claims of American citizens against Austria? If so, what procedure would be necessary? I desire an early and full reply as on it may depend the possibility of getting food into Austria and preventing Bolshevistic conditions which threaten the power of the associated governments to conclude a just peace. Lansing.

Am[erican] Mission