The Secretary of State to Diplomatic and Consular Officers Except Those in the American Republics

Sirs: In a circular airgram of August 19, 1944,2 the Department transmitted Bretton Woods Resolution VI to all diplomatic officers. For the convenience of consular officers, a copy of the Resolution is enclosed herewith.3 Subsequently, in circular airgrams of August 23 and September 28,4 the Department requested the missions located in the neutral European capitals to investigate and report any evidences that enemy capital has been or is being invested in those countries.

This Government is attempting through all available means to obtain information concerning enemy investments and plans, and the activities of persons which could be employed as a means of preserving the enemy’s economic, political and military potential abroad after the cessation of hostilities. There is evidence that the enemy, in tacit acknowledgment of defeat, is seeking refuge in neutral and friendly countries for persons and assets in order to remove them from anticipated Allied controls. The primary purpose of this instruction is to direct the Missions’ attention to the importance of the Safehaven project as a phase of post-hostilities economic security, to suggest a long-range reporting task, and to have begin as soon as possible a flow of current information regarding suspect persons, entities and transactions. [Page 853] It is not possible to state at this time precisely the disposition which will be made of such assets or to describe in detail the controls which will be imposed upon undesirable persons, because these are matters requiring discussions among and concerted action by the United Nations, or by Allied control authorities. Safehaven information will, however, be of immediate value to this government in formulating plans for the post-war disposition of the enemy’s foreign influence and of subsequent and greater value in expediting the execution of such plans. In furtherance of these objectives you are requested to transmit at an early date all presently available information requested hereinafter and to obtain through all possible sources additional data which might prove useful. It is important that each diplomatic and consular office be prepared to keep the Department currently informed on developments in this field for several years following the cessation of hostilities in order that any resurgence of enemy activity may be quelled in its inception.

For the purpose of defining what should be reported under this instruction, the term “enemies” should be understood to include persons or entities in any of the Axis countries, or countries which have been or are allied with the Axis, and nationals of any country who in your discretion could be considered a present or potential threat to the effective execution of Allied control plans. In carrying out this instruction the Mission’s attention should be directed in the first instance to firms and individuals domiciled in or controlled from Germany and, with respect to those whose ownership resides elsewhere, to those whose activities fall within the criteria for Proclaimed List5 action. It is obvious that in this, as in other reporting matters, the Mission is the best judge initially of the relative importance of particular cases and of the priority to be assigned to them. Particular attention is directed to the discretion lodged with the Missions by the above definition of “enemies”.

The project outlined below has two aspects, viz: the reporting of current information and analysis of existing information from the Safehaven viewpoint. For the former the Department is largely dependent on the field; the latter requires close cooperation between the Missions and the home agencies working on these matters. Reporting current Safehaven information should be given a very high priority, but the Missions are not expected to report again to Washington detailed information they have already made available. Rather, it is [Page 854] thought that the review of the Proclaimed List required by the Department’s circular telegram of September 20 [21],6 will be a convenient occasion for the Missions to begin studying the Safehaven implications of materials already in their files. The Proclaimed List review will undoubtedly reveal cases of interest from the Safehaven viewpoint whose Proclaimed List aspects were not sufficiently important to have resulted in their having been reported previously. Additionally, if Safehaven is kept in mind when the Missions’ listing files are reviewed, certain relationships may be found to exist that make it desirable to report now the Missions’ post-listing information regarding some Proclaimed List nationals, information that has been recorded in the Missions’ files but not reported heretofore for the reason that Proclaimed List reasons did not require such action. While the Missions are concerning themselves with reporting current information and with the longer-range task of reviewing their files, the data already in Washington will be collated. During that process, particular points will arise that the Missions will be requested to clarify; and it is contemplated that at a later date the Missions will be asked to check the accuracy of Washington analyses based on previously reported information. To the extent that Missions have been able before then to forward well-organized analyses based on the materials available to them, of course, the work will be speeded and the necessity for exchanges with the field reduced.

In addition to current reporting, which is almost entirely a Mission responsibility, the following aspects of the project will require close cooperation of the field and the home offices:

A. The preparation of a register of all known enemy assets.

The necessity of such a register for the information of those working on economic security for the post-war world is obvious. The register must, in order to meet peace-table eventualities, be as comprehensive and detailed as possible. The Missions should give first attention to reporting important enemy assets not covered by Proclaimed List or other regular economic reporting. If detailed reports regarding enemy assets have been submitted pursuant to instructions unrelated to economic reporting, the Missions should whenever possible refer to such other reports, in order that they may be found in Washington. In connection with the register, it should be kept in mind that, because of their obvious enemy ownership, some very important German interests in the country to which you are accredited [Page 855] may not have been reported in adequate detail for the register’s purposes when the concern was listed. Assets whose enemy ownership is not a matter of common knowledge should, of course, be reported as soon as possible, leaving until later the filling in of details regarding well-known German holdings.

The Missions’ reports for the register should show:

A description of the assets including their nature, value, location, etc.
The names of any persons who may be concealing the enemy ownership of assets (such persons should be considered for inclusion in the Proclaimed List) and
The names of the true owners of the assets.

In compiling a register, although equal emphasis should be given to both, a distinction should be made wherever possible between looted assets and other enemy held assets. In determining such a distinction it may be helpful to consider separately those assets owned by enemies prior to 1939 and those acquired since 1939. It may also be helpful to give special attention to those assets which are known or believed to have been owned by persons in enemy occupied areas on or after the occupation of such areas. Looted assets are those owned by persons or firms in territory now or formerly enemy occupied and which since occupation have passed to enemy ownership. They include both properties which have been transferred from enemy occupied territory and properties which originally were located in non-enemy territory but title to which has passed to an enemy.

The types of assets concerned are various, but the following items are of particular interest:

Bank balances and gold holdings and transfers thereof, whether between central banks or otherwise.
Gems, gold privately owned, currency, art objects, stocks of merchandise, etc.
Real estate, including leaseholds (e.g., industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural, and residential properties).
Securities, including investments in securities of neutral and other governments, as well as industrials.
Obligations owing to the enemy in the form of mortgages, bills of exchange, insurance policies, annuities, promissory notes or other evidences of indebtedness or book credits of any kind.
Patents, trademarks and copy-rights and transfers, assignments, licenses, etc. in connection therewith.
Beneficial interests under trusts or estates of deceased persons.
Commercial, industrial, financial or other enterprises which in any way represent enemy assets, looted or otherwise. This item should be broadly interpreted to include old as well as new investments of every kind in which an enemy has an interest. In this connection it will be noted that new investments, both open and cloaked, may [Page 856] represent flight capital or looted assets. Such investments might include holding companies and minority interests in established domestic firms.

You should report in detail concerning any enemy-owned assets which come to your attention. Your investigations should concern not only assets presently located in your area but also those in transit, particularly where the assets emanate from a neutral European country. It is possible that you already have reported such information in connection with a related subject, such as a recommendation for Proclaimed List action, in which case a reference to the number and date of the communication will be sufficient.

B. Reporting on enemy individuals and their activities.

Simultaneously with the compilation of a register of enemy assets, it is desired that the Missions’ function of reporting on individuals be oriented to include a survey of enemy persons and their activities. This will require continuous fact-finding on persons of enemy nationality for a period of years in order that the Department will be able to sense any attempts on the part of the Germans in any part of the world to maintain and improve their technical abilities with the view of fitting into a general German plan for a rearmaments program inside Germany at some rather distant future date. To that end you are requested to report on enemy persons in the country to which you are accredited, particularly with regard to the following:

Enemy technicians, financial experts or managerial help, particularly recent arrivals, employed by any enterprises irrespective of nationality in your area, or evidence that such persons are attempting to place themselves in positions where they could assist in the development of the industrial and military potential of your territory. This would include persons who are being or may be used to develop Nazi potential through the medium of partnership relations, employment connections or by serving in advisory capacities. You should also report on business enterprises with which these persons are associated and also those which have been so allied with the enemy’s economic or military organization in the past that they may offer safe haven for enemy skills by providing opportunities for technical experience, research facilities, etc. It is predictable that the persons who are enemies within the terms of this instruction will attempt to disguise themselves for a considerable period such as by posing as common laborers and refugees.
Careful attention should be given to enemy scientists engaged in private, governmental or university research since it is to be expected that such persons will want to maintain and improve their skills and keep abreast of any developments in their respective fields by engaging in research work in all countries affording these opportunities.

The Missions should consider this as a continuing assignment. The order in which individuals are reported on will be governed principally [Page 857] by the Missions’ estimates of the relative importance and timeliness of particular cases. Such factors as religious adherence, disavowal of inimical political philosophies, and employment in the country to which you are accredited for several years prior to the outbreak of the war, should not in themselves be considered as sufficient grounds for omitting such individuals from reports on this project. Your reports on enemy personnel should include descriptive data, such as details of training and relevant facts on previous employment. Although information on enemies recently employed in any of the above mentioned capacities is of primary interest, information on individuals employed in this type of activity subsequent to 1933 will be extremely useful. In compiling such information, the following are suggested as possible sources of information: (1) labor registrations; (2) immigration files; (3) police records; (4) university, college and technical school catalogs or faculty biographies; (5) biographical sketches in industrial and scientific publications; (6) Allied intelligence sources.

You should not hesitate to report unconfirmed rumors or attempts by the enemy to transfer his assets to places of safekeeping abroad in anticipation of impending defeat or of the movements of enemy persons seeking refuge for similar reasons. It is possible that the Department can obtain proof from other areas of the world or from enemy territory when Allied control over it is established.

The Proclaimed List should contain the most important persons and firms within your area who fall within the terms of this instruction and therefore it is suggested that the list be reviewed for the purposes stated herein in the initial stages of your work on the project. If you have not followed closely the activities of the listed persons and entities since they have been included in the list, you should now conduct investigations. It is possible that you have already begun the review required by the Department’s circular telegram of September 21, 1944, 4 p.m. In cases where you believe the objective of controlling or thwarting enemy activities of the nature set forth in this instruction could be achieved through inclusion of the names of individuals or firms in the Proclaimed List, you should forward a recommendation to this effect with your report.

Your British colleagues have already received instructions covering this subject and have been requested to cooperate with you in this project. You should arrange to consult and work with them as closely as possible in order to attain the maximum of information. Our final objective is to obtain, of course, complete coverage of all sources available to both you and your British colleagues so that the information exchanged may be of maximum mutual benefit. The close liaison with the British presently maintained for listing, economic [Page 858] intelligence, blockade control and related matters should be extended to Safehaven. The Missions may, if they see fit, work out arrangements with the British for dividing the labor of preparing the reports hereinbefore requested. If such cooperation is obtained, it is desirable that both British and American Missions use the report form mentioned below. If the Missions see fit, transactional, operational and progress reports, as distinguished from the individualized status reports called for by this instruction, may be made through the minutes of joint committees in a manner similar to the economic intelligence reporting presently carried on at Lisbon and Madrid by Anglo-American economic intelligence committees. Even if joint reporting should not be feasible in your area, you should provide your British colleagues with copies of your routine Safehaven reports, and it is hoped that they will do likewise for you under their standing instructions to collaborate with you on Safehaven matters. This will ensure that Washington, the British home agencies and the London Embassy will all have the same information from the field. The American Embassy at London will be the European Coordination center for Safehaven work; therefore, all communications regarding this project should be repeated or copied to it. Outgoing Departmental communications to you on Safehaven will be copied to London.

You should approach informally other Allied Missions, especially the French, Dutch and Belgian, and discuss with them Safehaven information which you or they may have collected. Your British colleagues have been similarly instructed; and it is suggested, therefore, that any approaches to your other Allied colleagues would be best made in conjunction with your British colleagues.

The chief of mission should designate a qualified Foreign Service or Auxiliary Foreign Service officer to coordinate the fact-finding and reporting on this project in the country to which he is accredited and should solicit the cooperation of all intelligence organizations of this government operating in the country. The coordinating officer should, of course, utilize the commercial, banking and governmental contacts afforded the office of the Commercial Attaché along with the contacts available at the various consular posts.

For the convenience of the reporting officer, the Department has devised a simplified form which may be utilized in forwarding any information, however brief, touching upon this project. A sample of the form is enclosed herewith.7 The report should be forwarded in hectograph and two copies sent to the American Embassy at London. The Department has no objection to the preparation of such reports under Embassy or Legation directive by the various consulates, provided that the supervising Embassy or Legation checks and approves [Page 859] them before they are forwarded to Washington and London, in order to make sure that all available information has been included. You should repeat to other missions all reports containing information which might conceivably be of interest to them, particularly cases requiring investigation or other action by them.

In order to expedite prompt distribution, all cables, airgrams, form replies, and despatches on this subject should contain the code word “Safehaven”.

You should at all times have due regard for the delicate and highly confidential nature of this project.

This instruction is sent for action to all posts in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Eire, Tangier, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Although it is recognized that these instructions will not apply equally and in some cases not at all, the remaining posts should report in conformity with these instructions any pertinent information coming to their attention.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. L. Clayton
  1. Ibid., 1944, vol. ii, p. 218.
  2. Resolution VI was designed primarily to get the neutral countries to prevent secretion within their territories by Axis governments or nationals of assets, currency, gold, art objects, and other materials of value; for text, see Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948), vol. i, p. 939. For documentation relating to this Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 106 ff.
  3. Ibid., pp. 220 and 234, respectively.
  4. For documentation on Anglo-American cooperation on policies and problems concerning the Proclaimed and Statutory Lists, see pp. 827 ff.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, p. 188.
  6. Not printed.