The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 11
My Dear Mr. President: I refer to previous correspondence concerning the establishment of “The American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe”. You will recall that the plan contemplates that this national Commission shall function under the auspices of this Government and in conjunction with similar groups abroad. Its object is to protect and conserve works of art and artistic and historical records in Europe and to aid in salvaging and returning to the owners artistic objects which have been appropriated by the Axis Powers or by their agents.
In pursuance of this initiative you authorized me to inquire whether the following persons would accept membership:
- The Chief Justice of the United States, Chairman;
- The Honorable David E. Finley, Director, National Gallery of Art, Vice-Chairman;
- The Honorable Herbert H. Lehman, Chairman, Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations;
- The Honorable Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress;
- Dr. William Bell Dinsmoor, President, Archeological Institute of America;
- Dr. Paul Sachs, Associate Director, Fogg Museum of Fine Arts;
- Dr. Francis Henry Taylor, President, Association of Art Museum Directors.
The Chief Justice of the United States replied that he was obliged reluctantly to decline the invitation because his obligations to the Court preclude his assuming any other continuing responsibilities. The other persons who were invited to serve have accepted membership on the Commission.
Informal recommendations have been received that Associate Justice Owen J. Roberts be requested to accept the chairmanship of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe. I understand that the Chief Justice is agreeable to this designation. I heartily concur in this felicitous choice and I further suggest, after consultation with the appropriate officials, that Mr. Huntington Cairns, Secretary-Treasurer and General Counsel of the National Gallery of Art, be designated as Secretary-Treasurer of the Commission.
I shall appreciate your informing me whether these suggestions meet with your approval.
[For text of press release issued by the Department of State, August 20, 1943, announcing the establishment of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe, see Department of State Bulletin, August 21, 1943, page 111.]
- Marginal note: “CH OK very good FDR.”↩