740.00119 Potsdam/7–1945

No. 837
Proposal by the British Delegation1
P (Terminal) 10

The Removal as Booty of Allied Industrial Equipment Especially in Roumania

Memorandum by the United Kingdom Delegation

Large sums of British capital are invested in companies producing oil in Roumania. In October, 1944, the Soviet authorities in Roumania removed large quantities of equipment from these British companies and from other Allied-owned companies, on the grounds that it was war booty.

The resulting damage to British interests was very considerable. Furthermore, the action taken has reduced the total output of Roumanian oil wells by one million tons a year, at a time of grave oil shortage. As a result, Roumania’s capacity to pay reparations and the revenue earning capacity of British and other Allied capital was diminished.
In January, 1945, the Soviet Government agreed to discontinue removals of equipment. But the equipment already removed was not returned, nor did the Soviet Government agree to regard it as deliveries on account of reparations.
Further oil equipment was removed from a British-controlled company in April.
His Majesty’s Government ask that the equipment which has been removed from these British companies shall be returned as soon as possible. Furthermore, they ask that no further action damaging to these British companies shall be taken by the Soviet authorities, and that the consent of the British representative on the Allied Control Commission in Roumania shall be sought before any action in their regard is undertaken.
  1. At British request, the subject of this memorandum was placed on the agenda for the Third Plenary Meeting by the Second Meeting of the Foreign Ministers, July 19. See ante, pp. 106, 130.