102.1/9–2944: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)52

7966. From Department, Treasury, and FEA. The following is in reference to proposed statement of a gold policy and particularly with reference to questions raised by the British and discussed in your 7635, September 15, 1944.

Use of the word “negotiations” in Department’s 7080, September 1, 1944, was not intended to carry implication that our missions in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, or Turkey, should bargain with governments concerned or accept a compromise undertaking. It was our intention to instruct our missions in above-named countries to present the statement of the gold policy to governments to which they are accredited and to urge them to adhere to it without offering to those governments any inducements in connection with such an adherence. Nor was it our intention to consider any weakening or modification of the proposed statement.
The adoption of proposed gold policy will not result in a condonation by us of past dealings in looted gold. A country which adheres to the proposed gold policy will not be free from questioning as to transactions in gold. After the war, United States and other United Nations must face problems involved in clarifying position of looted property, including looted gold, acquired by neutral countries from Axis during the war. Moreover, we could not possibly foreclose nations from whom gold has been looted from taking appropriate action.
MEW’s suggestion that an expression of our views on this matter should go to the Latin American governments is under review here. In this connection, special attention will be given to problem of bringing our policy to the attention of Argentina.
In view of urgency of this matter, it is requested that you impress upon British desirability of bringing gold policy to the attention of neutral governments named above without delay. We believe that no reason exists for not making a substantially simultaneous approach in all countries concerned. Consideration has already been given in Washington to the different position of Turkey by reason of that country’s rupture of relations with Germany. For your information the following is an extract (in paraphrase) from our A–146 of September 2, 1944, addressed to our mission in Ankara:
[Here follows paraphrase of passage quoted in footnote 24, page 225.]
The importance of making a substantially simultaneous approach to countries involved is emphasized by possibility that an approach to less than all of these countries might result in Germans focussing their attention upon that country or those countries to which an approach had not been made. However, should the British feel strongly, for reasons which are not apparent here, that an approach to Turkey should be postponed or modified, it is strongly desired to achieve a simultaneous and joint approach to Sweden, Portugal, and Spain, rather than delay such an approach pending eventual solution of Turkish matter. Our position therefore is that advisability of a simultaneous approach to all of the countries concerned should be pressed upon British, with explanation that an additional statement might be made in presentation of any note to Turkey in recognition of Turkey’s rupture of relations with Germany. However, should this simultaneous approach to all countries involved not be feasible, it is urged that a simultaneous approach to the other three countries be made without delay.
As soon as British concurrence may be received on these matters, you are requested, without further reference to Department, to advise our missions in countries concerned, as was indicated in Department’s telegram 7080, September 1, 1944.
Please report reactions of British to these proposals, giving special attention to their attitude on Turkish matter.

[With reference to the presentation of the note on October 2, see Department’s press release of October 4 entitled “Request to Neutral Governments Concerning Enemy Loot”, Department of State Bulletin, October 8, 1944, page 383.]

  1. Repeated on the same date to diplomatic representatives in Portugal (telegram 2637), Sweden (telegram 1952), Spain (telegram 2666), and Switzerland (telegram 3364).