The Secretary of State to the Chief Justice of the United States (Stone)
My Dear Mr. Chief Justice: I refer to your recommendations to the President concerning the creation of a national commission to function under the auspices of this Government and in conjunction with similar groups in other countries for the protection and conservation of works of art and of artistic and historical records in Europe and to aid in salvaging and returning to the lawful owners such objects as have been appropriated by the Axis Powers or by individuals acting under their authority or consent.
I am now glad to inform you that the President has approved the establishment of “The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe”. As you are aware, the President after receiving your recommendations requested the Department to seek the views of the appropriate officials of the Government. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Governor Lehman [Page 479] indicated a willingness to assist in this undertaking and I can assure you that this Department will be happy to collaborate in every possible way. Communications have also been sent to the British and the Soviet Governments inquiring whether they would be prepared to appoint similar national commissions.
It is contemplated that the members of the Commission will serve for a period of three years and will cooperate with the appropriate branches of the Army and of the Department of State, including the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations, as well as with appropriate civilian agencies.
The President has now authorized me to inquire whether you are in a position to accept the Chairmanship of this Commission. I sincerely hope you will find it possible to undertake this important service.