740.00112EW/3–645: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

1425. For Department, Treasury and FEA15 from Currie Mission.15a

Your 935 of March 3.16 You will note from our 139717 that Swiss [Page 861] have agreed to major points covered in Schmid’s18 discussion with Surrey19 in Paris.

Throughout negotiations Swiss emphasized concepts of neutrality and sovereignty and have insisted that documents signed cannot mention Resolution VI of Bretton Woods which uses concept “enemy”. However in addition to points covered in 1397 Swiss are making general statements in which Swiss Government commits itself “to prevent territory of Switzerland and that of principality of Liechtenstein from being used for disposal, concealment or reception of assets which may have been taken illegally or under duress during the war” and that “every facility will be given to dispossessed owners to claim in Switzerland and Liechtenstein their assets found there. Swiss Government will also “prevent the concealing, disposing of, or dissipation of assets of persons falling under the various blocking decrees issued by Swiss Government in the past or which it will issue in future” and agrees to consult with Government of each blocked country before relaxing or abolishing the control measures.

Points very difficult to obtain were:

Agreement to take a census of any assets other than German. Only after very strong pressure did Swiss agree to complete census of assets of all blocked countries as indicated in 1397.
Statement that before relaxing or eliminating any controls Swiss Government will consult with Government of block[ed] country.
Agreement to cease purchasing gold from Germany.

Resistance to points (1) and (2) centered in Swiss Bankers Association which has unsuccessfully tried to keep Government from getting information on other than German assets. As indicated in 1397 it was only Saturday that agreement to these three points was obtained.

Points discussed with Surrey which have not been specifically agreed to are

Census of patents, trade marks, or gold acquired since 1939. However Swiss have controls over importation, exportation, and all dealing in gold, et cetera, and will reexamine such controls from point of view of Safehaven objectives. Furthermore, we are assured that the compensation office which administers controls has intimate knowledge of all firms dealing with Germany since 1939 and in connection with census and blocking will examine ownership control and dealings with Germany of all Swiss firms, trusts, and holding companies since prior to the war.
Census of foreign currencies held in Switzerland. All trading in such currency has, however, been prohibited and I feel that we can obtain census of dollar currency in connection with the relaxation of United States currency import controls.
Census of bearer securities payable in foreign currencies. Swiss have agreed to establish controls over importation of assets which may have been looted and it is agreed by them that bearer securities fall within this category. They are also considering desirability of having Government implement controls of Swiss Bankers Association already in effect.

In view of action already taken by Swiss Government, its general commitments to cooperate on Safehaven program, I feel that firm basis has been established for effective Swiss program and that they will give favorable cooperation to any suggestions we make hereafter in connection therewith.

Text of Swiss commitment on Safehaven, which is being given in a letter separate from that relating to trade items, will be cabled as soon as signed.20 In the interim, suggest that the Swedes be pressed for as effective a program in Sweden as possible.

Repeated London 730; Paris 221. [Currie Mission.]

  1. Foreign Economic Administration.
  2. Delegation headed by Lauchlin Currie which negotiated with the Swiss on cessation of exports to Germany.
  3. Not printed; it requested a detailed report on progress thus far (740.00112EW/3–345).
  4. This telegram, dated March 5, reported on measures which the Swiss had agreed to consider undertaking at Allied request in connection with the Safehaven program; for text, see vol. v, p. 782.
  5. Presumably Orvis A. Schmidt, Director, Foreign Funds Control, Treasury Department; member of the Currie Mission.
  6. Walter S. Surrey, Attaché, U.S. Legation in Sweden.
  7. For text of the letter by the Head of the Swiss delegation (Rappard), dated March 8, see vol. v, p. 785.