462.11 W 892/49: Telegram

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

153. Your 104, July 29, 2 p.m. Just informed by Foreign Office that German Government accepts form of agreement approved by you in above telegram. Satisfactory draft of note requesting President to name umpire has been submitted. Draft of note has also been submitted to the effect that the German Government believes itself justified in assuming that it is not the intention of the American Government to insist in the proceedings of the committee upon all the claims contemplated in the Versailles Treaty without exception, that it in particular does not intend to raise claims such as those included in the paragraphs 5 to 7 of annex 1 of article number 244 of the Versailles Treaty (claims for reimbursement of military pensions paid by the American Government and of allowances paid to American prisoners of war or their families and to the families of persons mobilized) or indeed claims going beyond the Versailles Treaty.

German Government requests further that Embassy on behalf of the United States confirm the correctness of the assumption. Am I right in assuming that your telegram assents.

I also request instructions as to whether or not your telegram meant to reject German proposal for separate article fixing time limit for presentation of claims.

For the Department’s confidential information I desire to say that chief argument based on need of haste to forestall less favorable [Page 257] solution by Congress overcame a considerable and not unjustifiable reluctance on the part of the German Government to accept the inclusion of private debts in categories of claims. The administration was very fearful that enemies of the Government would urge that although sequestrated property may be used for the payments of debts the amount of the private debt indetermined [be determined?] only in some way provided in the Versailles Treaty or that between the United States and Germany and that therefore except by a new treaty private debts could not be included.

The Chancellor and the Foreign Office urged upon other members of the Government the greater expediency of accepting your terms over any technical difficulty but have had a difficult and laborious task to convince Ministers of Justice and Interior and members of Foreign Affairs Committee of Reichstag still in Berlin that the advantages outweighed the concession of a possible legal advantage or right of Germany.

Request full powers be cabled immediately followed by written full powers. Request permission to give out news to American newspaper representatives here on execution of the agreement which should take place upon the receipt of your cabled reply.