The Secretary of the Treasury (Mellon) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose for your information copies of two letters, of December 31, 1921, and January 5, 1922,30 which have been received by the Treasury from Mr. Hoover, with regard to $10,000,000 [Page 824] of Bolshevik gold which the American Relief Administration has undertaken to receive from the Soviet Government on account of the purchase of relief supplies. This gold the American Relief Administration proposes to tender to the New York Assay Office, through the Guaranty Trust Company of New York. The indications are that part of the gold, perhaps as much as $4,800,000, is in the form of United States gold coin, and that the balance is in Russian bars.

The Treasury’s general attitude in the matter, as developed when the question first arose as to the tender of gold by the Soviet authorities on account of relief supplies, was set forth in my letter of September 29, 1921, and the memorandum of September 20th transmitted therewith, and again in my letter of November 10th, with which was enclosed a copy of my letter of the same date to Mr. Hoover.30a

The question whether the gold which the American Relief Administration has undertaken to receive for relief purposes should be accepted by the New York Assay Office when tendered by the American Relief Administration has been the subject of informal discussion between the Department of State and the Department of Commerce and the Treasury, and was brought up at the Cabinet meeting on Friday, January 6, 1922. It was there determined, with the approval of the President, that the transaction, because of its humanitarian purpose and the arrangements for the use of the proceeds for the relief of the starving people of Russia, stands on an exceptional basis and that the United States should accept the gold from the American Relief Administration when tendered, without, of course, setting any precedent for other cases of Bolshevik gold. I understand that the Department of State has had advice of this action, and assume that in view of all the circumstances it will offer no objections. The Treasury is prepared on its part to go ahead on this basis and instruct the Assay Office at New York to accept the gold from the American Relief Administration.

Cordially yours,

A. W. Mellon
  1. Correspondence not printed.
  2. Correspondence not printed.