740.00110 E.A.C./9–544

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

No. 17881

Subject: European Advisory Commission: Policy with respect to enemy diplomatic and consular property.

Sir: With reference to the policy to be applied after the surrender of Germany to enemy diplomatic and consular property, I have the honor to report that the United States Delegation on the European Advisory Commission is interested in clarifying U.S. policy in connection with several directives which it is preparing or has already prepared for eventual tripartite negotiation in the Commission.

It is understood that the Secretary of State requested the Secretary of War in a letter dated June 29, 1944, to approve a policy statement regarding enemy diplomatic and consular property captured in the territory of third Powers. This statement apparently was expected to be applicable both to the pre-surrender and the post-surrender periods since the Secretary of State mentioned that if approved the statement would be sent to the Embassy at London for presentation to the European Advisory Commission as the policy of the U.S. Government. (Reference JCS 1011 of August 19, 1944.)

It might be useful in examining any such policy to test its applicability in the post-surrender period by the following diagram:

Enemy Diplomatic and Consular Property

Belonging to: Located in:
Germany Germany, Other Axis territory, Liberated territory, Neutral countries
Japan do.
Other enemy countries do.
[Page 1494]

The question is raised whether it is intended to treat all enemy diplomatic and consular records found in third countries similarly; for example, should German archives be given the same treatment as those of countries which have not been called upon to surrender unconditionally, or should Japanese archives be accorded immunity.

From another angle it raises the question of the jurisdiction of the Allied Representatives in Germany over diplomatic and consular property of Germany and other enemy countries found outside of Germany.

The treatment of enemy diplomatic and consular property has not been specifically covered in the Surrender Terms or in the draft directives which have so far been prepared by the U.S. Delegation. However, Articles 5(b) (ii), 7, 8 and 10 of the Surrender Terms provide authority to take over German information and records in Germany and the draft directive on “Securing and Examining Information and Archives” (Reference: despatch No. 17662 of August 25, 194458) implements the Surrender terms in this respect, extending that authority to the areas outside Germany which may be in the sphere of responsibility of the Allied Commanders-in-Chief.

It has been assumed that after the surrender of Germany the tripartite Allied Authority in Germany will have full powers over all official German property wherever located. Directions concerning German property abroad presumably will be included in an appropriate directive on German property. The treatment to be accorded German diplomatic and consular property is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Delegation’s draft directive on “Disposition of German Officials and Civilians in Occupied Territory” (Reference: despatch No. 17227 of August 2, 194459). When the Department comments on that directive it would be helpful to know whether it believes a paragraph on that subject should appropriately be included.

The directive on “Control and Disposal of Nationals, Armed Forces and Property of Enemy Countries Other than Germany” (Reference: despatch No. 17641 of August 24, 194459) indicated that all records and property of such countries should be impounded and preserved pending instructions from the Supreme Authority. Here again it is possible that a more definite statement regarding diplomatic and consular property might be considered advisable.

There is no plan at the present time to alter any of the directives which have been submitted or to prepare a separate directive on this [Page 1495] subject. If the Department feels that it is a matter which should be covered more specifically, its views should promptly be made known to the U.S. advisers.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
E. Allan Lightner, Jr.

Secretary, U.S. Delegation European Advisory Commission
  1. Not printed; it transmitted copies of the draft directive prepared by the American Delegation’s Planning Committee on the European Advisory Commission. An extensive revision of this document was undertaken by the Inter-departmental Working Security Committee and the Joint Post-War Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For the document circulated in the European Advisory Commission, see post, p. 1501.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.