462.11 W 892/1123

The German Ambassador (Von Prittwitz) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that inasmuch as a checking by the German agent of the list of such claims of American nationals against Germany as were presented at too late a date has made it possible to ascertain their approximate number, character and amounts, my Government is determined to do its share to bring about a settlement of these claims which are more precisely enumerated in section (2) paragraph (j) of the Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928.43 In doing so it adopts the point of view also shared by the Government of the United States that the essential competence of the Mixed Claims Commission shall remain the same as fixed in the agreement of August 20 [10], 1922,44 e. g., that it should not be extended to include claims which have arisen since the end of the war and which are included in the list of late claims in considerable number. Furthermore, the German Government considers it as a prerequisite that the preparation and adjudication of the late claims should be governed by the same legal principles as have so far been applied in the proceedings of the Mixed Claims Commission.

On the other hand, my Government is of the opinion that the purpose of the above-mentioned statutory provision can only be accomplished to the best interests of all concerned if means and ways are found by which a prompt and speedy preparation and adjudication of the claims involved may be fully guaranteed. Among other means my Government would consider it an appropriate means to this end if definite and final terms were fixed by agreement for the filing of claim and defense material, including the necessary evidence, and if the two Governments were to agree that the cases to be adjudicated by the Commission would have to be presented for judgment within fixed [Page 895] and final terms. Due to the fact that the adjudication of the late claims will necessitate the continuance of the expensive machinery of the German-American Mixed Claims Commission for months to come, which would not have been necessary or which would not have been necessary to the same extent if the claims in question had been presented within the statute of limitation, expiring April 9, 1923, and could have been dealt with together with the properly filed claims, my Government would consider it furthermore justified to have the new claimants, to whom a remedy is thus extended, participate to an appropriate extent in the expenses caused by a prolonged procedure of the Commission. This could be accomplished by the collection of fees, and indeed a fee for the final filing of the claim, in order to eliminate to the greatest possible extent claims which are unfounded or which are presented in unjustified amounts, and an additional fee for preparing and adjudicating each individual case. The payment of these fees should, in the interest of a speedy procedure, also be required to be made by definite and final date.

I may add that I have been invested with plenary power to enter into a binding exchange of views with Your Excellency at any time, with a view to the conclusion of an agreement based upon the points of view above stated.

Accept [etc.]

  1. File translation revised.
  2. Approved Mar. 10, 1928; 45 Stat. 256.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, p. 262.