Pauley Files

No. 901
United States Delegation Working Paper1


The U. S. may be committed by various international declarations2 to restore any identifiable gold to the banks in liberated nations from which it was taken by the Germans.
Most of the gold (some $250,000,000.) in our possession will prove identifiable.
Although it can be argued that all gold when captured is “war booty”, it may be advisable not to insist upon such a claim.
It might be construed as breaking our commitments referred to above;
It might tend further to undermine the “gold standard”—certainly contrary to our own interests in view of our already large gold stocks.
But whether or not we should yield our claim to gold as “war booty” may be regarded as a bargaining point which will turn upon how far other Nations yield to our views on reasonable definitions of both “restitution”, “war booty” and an accounting therefor. It also provides a lever to use in connection with the French who probably will assert the largest claim for “restitution” of gold in our possession.
  1. Authorship not indicated. This paper bears the following manuscript notation: “Note used for discussion with President at Potsdam, about July 18.”
  2. Viz., the United Nations declaration on looted property, January 5, 1943, Department of State Bulletin, vol. viii, p. 21; the United Nations declaration on looted gold, February 22, 1944, 9 Federal Register 2096; and resolution vi, entitled “Enemy Assets and Looted Property”, included in the Final Act of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, July 22, 1944, Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948; Department of State publication No. 2866), vol. i, p. 939.