740.00112A European War, 1939/3880

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Edward G. Miller, Jr., of the Foreign Funds Control Division

Baron van Boetzelaer and Count van Rechteren of the Dutch Legation20 called this morning, at my request, to confer with me and Mr. Timmons of Foreign Funds Control.20a

They were given copies of a circular instruction to American representatives in the other American Republics,21 covering certain principles applicable to dealing with persons on the Proclaimed List. Their attention was drawn particularly to the section on banking facilities, and in addition they were informed that by a subsequent circular telegram these instructions have been amended so as to cover dealings by American banks with persons on the British Statutory List as well as with persons on the American Proclaimed List. It was explained that the British and Canadian Governments had already been consulted with a view towards their issuing parallel instructions to branches or agencies of British and Canadian banks in South America and that, pursuant to the agreement of those Governments, parallel instructions have been sent to be effective as of September 29, 1941.22

It was pointed out that the attempt to restrict banking facilities available to persons on the British Statutory List, or the American Proclaimed List, would be more efficacious if the Netherlands Government should issue parallel instructions to branches or agencies of Dutch banks in South America.

Baron van Boetzelaer stated that the only Dutch bank in South America is the Banco Holandéz Unido (which I understand has offices in Buenos Aires, Caracas, Maracaibo, Rio de Janeiro, Santos and São Paulo and all of which are generally licensed nationals under General License 19 issued under Executive Order). He stated that for some time this bank has been following a policy of refusing all business with German nationals in South America. There followed a discussion of the differences between the British Statutory List and the Proclaimed List, and also the Canadian List of Specified Persons. It was pointed out that the British and Canadian Lists were substantially identical, but that the American List was somewhat larger than the others. It was emphasized, however, that so far as American, [Page 298] British and Canadian banks are concerned, instructions had been issued covering dealings on the part of such banks with persons on both the British and American Lists.

The representatives of the Dutch Legation raised the question as to whether banks in South America other than the American, British and Canadian banks might be prevailed upon to take parallel action. They referred specifically to the Banque Italo-Belge, and we replied that we were planning in the immediate future to ask the Belgian Government to take similar action with respect to this bank. We also stated that we realized that adequate banking facilities might be made available to the Proclaimed List nationals by local banks, but that it was hoped that with the cooperation of the Governments concerned, local banks may eventually be required to take parallel action.

The representatives of the Dutch Legation appeared to be favorably impressed by the proposal but stated that, of course, they would be unable to take any steps in the matter without consulting with London. There was handed to them a copy of a memorandum paraphrasing the circular instructions sent out by the State Department in so far as concerns the operations of American banks.

After the representatives of the Netherlands Legation had gone, Mr. Timmons telephoned to Mr. Noel Hall and referred to Mr. Hall’s letter to Mr. Acheson, dated September 30, 1941,23 in which there was raised the question of asking the Banco Holandéz Unido and the Belgian bank to take action similar to that taken by the American, British and Canadian banks. Mr. Hall was informed of our conference with the representatives of the Netherlands Government and he stated that he would get in touch with them immediately and furnish them with a copy of the instructions sent by the British Government to the British banks; he also stated that he would cable to London and ask the British Ministry of Economic Warfare to approach the Dutch Government on this subject. Mr. Timmons said that we were also planning to ask representatives of the Belgian Embassy to come in to see us with respect to the Banque Italo-Belge and he said that it might be advisable to have representatives of the British Embassy come in; Mr. Hall agreed that this would be a desirable procedure and it is hoped that it will be possible to have such a conference tomorrow at which Mr. Stopford24 will be present.

E. G. Miller
  1. Minister Counselor, and Counselor of Legation, respectively.
  2. Treasury Department.
  3. Circular instruction of August 28, p. 271.
  4. Note of September 25, from Mr. Hall of the British Embassy, and note of September 29, from the Canadian Embassy; neither printed.
  5. Not found in Department files.
  6. Robert J. Stopford, Financial Counselor of the British Embassy.