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

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the recent oral request of Mr. Redpath of your Department for an expression of this Department’s view as to whether the proposed agreement between the United States and Germany for the settlement of the indebtedness of the German Reich to the United States on account of the awards of the Mixed Claims Commission, United States and Germany, and the costs of the United States army of occupation, and the notes to be exchanged between the two Governments at the time of the execution of the agreement, if signed by the German Ambassador under the power of attorney given to him by his Government, will constitute valid and binding international obligations of the German Government. The agreement provides in paragraphs numbered 9 and 10 as follows:

Compliance With Legal Requirements.—Germany and the United States, each for itself, represents and agrees that the execution and delivery of this Agreement have in all respects been duly authorized, and that all acts, conditions, and legal formalities which should have been completed prior to the making of this Agreement have been completed as required by the laws of Germany and of the United States respectively and in conformity therewith.
Counterparts.—This Agreement shall be executed in two counterparts, each of which shall be in the English and German languages, both texts having equal force, and each counterpart having the force and effect of an original.
In witness whereof, Germany has caused this Agreement to be executed on its behalf by its Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Washington thereunto duly authorized, and the United States has likewise caused this Agreement to be executed on its behalf by the Secretary of the Treasury, with the approval of the President, pursuant to the Act of Congress . . . . . . . approved all on the day and year first above written.

It appears that the proposed agreement and the notes to be exchanged have been approved by the Congress of the United States by an Act (Public 307) approved by the President on June 5, 1930,29 and by the German Parliament by law of March 13, 1930. (Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 2, No. 7 of March 19, 1930.)

In addition to the German law just referred to, this Department is in receipt of a power of attorney signed under date of March 15, 1930, by the President of the German Reich and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, authorizing the German Ambassador at Washington, Herr Friedrich W. von Prittwitz und Gaffron, to sign the agreement and the note to be delivered by Germany. The full power reads textually in translation as follows:

Full Power

The German Ambassador in Washington, Herr Dr. Friedrich W. von Prittwitz und Gaffron, is hereby empowered to sign in the name of the German Reich the German-American agreement initialed in Berlin December 28, 1929, together with the note pertaining thereto.

The Department considers that the agreement and note to be delivered by the German Government, if signed by the German Ambassador as authorized in the agreement and confirmed by the power of attorney just quoted, will constitute a valid and internationally binding obligation of the German Reich.30

The original of the power of attorney is hereto attached. A photostat copy has been retained in the files of this Department.

Very truly yours,

Henry L. Stimson
  1. 46 Stat. 500.
  2. The Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to sign the agreement on behalf of the United States.