861.51/2194

The French Ambassador (Claudel) to the Secretary of State

[Translation]

According to certain press statements, the Government of the U. S. S. R. is said to have shipped to New York, with a view to [Page 830]negotiation there, gold bars of a value in excess of five millions of dollars which, it is alleged, have been received on consignment in that city by the “Chase National Bank” and the “Equitable Trust Company.”

In this connection the Bank of France asserts that it remains the proprietor of a contingent of gold of 52 millions 246,998 frs. 77 par of exchange, divided as follows: 49 millions 446,998.77 in ingots and 2 millions 800,000 in gold coin. This property, of which up to now it has not succeeded in obtaining restitution, was on deposit in its account in the office of the Imperial Bank of Russia in Petrograd. It (the Bank of France) is therefore, as a result, entitled to exercise, either as proprietor or at least as creditor, special rights on the gold held by the Soviet Government.

In view of this situation and of the incontestable title of the Bank of France which it proposes to affirm by judicial action, the French Government relies on the prohibition placed on the acceptance by the Assay Office of imports of gold emanating from Russia, as to which various financial institutions were notified by the American Government in 1921.

The French Ambassador in Washington would be obliged if the Secretary of State would be so good as to inform him if he can count upon the maintenance of the measures taken by the American Government in regard to the importation of Russian gold.

Mr. Claudel is happy to avail himself of this occasion to renew to the Honorable Frank B. Kellogg the assurances of his high consideration.