462.11 W 892/35: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Germany ( Houghton )


86. The first mention concerning the German proposal for a Mixed Claims Commission made in the American press in a dispatch from Berlin on June 7, was so accurate that its inspiration was evidently from an authoritative source.

Referring to Rathenau’s note of June 2, you may state in reply to the Foreign Office that the Department appreciates the suggestion of the German Government for the formation of a Joint Claims Commission, the honorary chairman of which shall be a prominent American citizen of unquestioned standing to be appointed by the President of the United States, this honorary chairman to act as umpire should the other two members of the Commission fail to reach an agreement.

The Government of the United States is glad to accept the proposal of the German Government if statements made to you personally may be considered the authentic explanation of the chairman’s function. A draft convention which defines the composition and powers of the Commission has been drawn up and its text will be cabled to you in a few hours.

You are informed in strict confidence that if the Commission is established along the lines specified, Justice William Rufus Day of the United States Supreme Court is willing to serve as chairman.94

  1. On June 22 the Ambassador was instructed to inform the German Government that President Harding would appoint Justice Day.