740.00119 (Potsdam)/7–3045

No. 964
The Assistant Secretary of State ( Clayton ) to the Secretary of State 1


I enclose a memorandum signed by Mr. Pauley and me with reference to the disposition of works of art now held by General Clay.

If you agree, I suggest that you indicate your approval on this memorandum. However, before delivering the memorandum to General Clay, I suggest also you may wish to inform the U. K. and U. S. S. R. Delegations of the action contemplated.2

[Page 924]

The Representative on the Allied Commission on Reparations ( Pauley ) and the Assistant Secretary of State ( Clayton ) to the Deputy Military Governor, United States Zone in Germany ( Clay )3

Memorandum for General Clay

With respect to the attached memorandum regarding art objects in the United States zone, prepared in the U. S. Group Control Council, the following represents our views:

We concur in the recommendations contained in paragraphs 5a and 5b, regarding works of art in Class “A” and Class “B”. It was because of your concern for the preservation of these objects that an interim procedure for their return was provided in Pauley’s wire to Eisenhower of June 27.4 Negotiations have now progressed to the point where it seems clear that the return of objects classified in your 5a will be deemed restitution.
With respect to works of art in Class “C” we are agreeable to arrangements being effected so that such works of art may be sent to the United States to be inventoried, identified and cared for by museums. We feel, however, that no definite statement should be made at this time as to the future disposition of works of art in Class “C”, and that if removed to the United States it should be announced that they are being taken there only for care and safekeeping and that their eventual disposition will be subject to future Allied decisions.

  • Edwin W. Pauley
  • William L. Clayton

Excerpts From US Group Control Council Memorandum on Art Objects 5

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. Classification:

For the purpose of handling these works of art, they may be divided into three classes, to wit:

  • Class “A”, consisting of works of art taken from the countries overrun by Germany readily identifiable as publicly owned, and works of art taken from private owners in the overrun countries by seizure and without compensation.
  • Class “B”, consisting of works of art taken from private collectors in the overrun countries for which some compensation is alleged to have been made to the owners.
  • Class “C”, consisting of works of art placed in the US zone by Germany for safekeeping which are bona fide property of the German nation.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5. Recommendations:

That all works of art in Class “A” be returned to the country of origin as rapidly as arrangements can be effected, without conditions.
It is recommended that works of art in Class “B” be returned to the countries of origin and that receipts be taken for the amount of compensation alleged to have been paid by the Germans, with these values possibly to be considered as reparations payments to the several countries to which these works of art are returned.
It is recommended that the works of art in Class “C” be removed to the US as rapidly as arrangements can be effected and distributed among the museums in the US properly equipped to handle these works of art. It is suggested that they be placed on exhibit in the US, but that an announcement be made to the public, to include the German people, that these works of art will be held in trusteeship for return to the German nation when it has re-earned its right to be considered as a nation.
  1. Printed from an unsigned carbon copy.
  2. See document No. 973. A memorandum of August 9 by DuBois in the Pauley Files states that the enclosure had been delivered to Clay.
  3. Printed from a copy included as an appendix to the PauleyLubin Report (see document No. 980).
  4. document No. 360, printed in vol. i .
  5. These excerpts comprise the subenclosure in toto.