800.515/4–1445: Telegram

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

1732. 1. Purchase of 3,000 kilos gold from Reichsbank; your 1983, April 5, 2194, April 14, and despatch no. 11432 April 13,62 has been discussed with Lauchlin Currie. Currie recalls having been advised by Swiss during negotiations that they would not purchase gold from German controlled sources except for expenditures set out in categories (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph III of Professor Rappard’s letter of March 863 and that even such gold would not be purchased until all German official resources in Switzerland had been exhausted. We, therefore, regard Swiss purchase of this gold for utilization against categories (b) and (c), while funds were available to German Legation for these expenditures, as obvious subterfuge on the part of the Swiss and clear cut contravention of spirit of undertaking given by the Swiss.

[Page 879]

2. We fail to understand Kohli’s64 reference, reported in despatch no. 11432, April 13 to statement of SNB65 official that gold was being checked against Reichsbank’s declaration as to origin, etc. but “would give rise to no question as to being ‘looted’ gold”. Kohli’s statement appears to ignore Allied gold policy to regard all gold emanating from German controlled sources as loot, irrespective of whether pedigree establishes pre-war German ownership. Swiss were advised of this policy at the time of presentation of Legation’s Aide-Mémoire dated August 24, 194466 concerning the Gold Declaration of February 22, 1944, and it was further stressed by Allied delegation in course of discussions with Swiss. Legation will recall statement made that Germany had long since exhausted all its pre-war gold resources and any possible accumulation from current production, and that, by necessity, any gold offered by Germany must be presumed to be looted. Swiss no doubt realize that widespread looting of gold by Germany is one of the principal factors bearing on Allied decision to prevent, in so far as possible, realization by Germany on its gold holdings.

3. Since conversion of gold in question into Swiss francs appears to have been accomplished and proceeds blocked in separate account with SNB, there appears to be nothing to be gained by asking Swiss to maintain complete immobilization of this account until all German official assets are applied against all three categories of agreed upon expenditures.

4. Please discuss substance of foregoing with your British and French colleagues with view to lodging immediately tri-lateral protest to Swiss authorities strongly calling attention to this violation of the spirit of the undertaking given by the Swiss.

5. Please keep Department fully informed of your discussions with the British and French and report further developments.

Repeated to London as Department’s 3579 of May 7 and to Paris as Department’s 1908 of May 7.

  1. None printed.
  2. See footnote 20, p. 862.
  3. Robert Kohli of the Swiss Federal Political Department.
  4. Swiss National Bank.
  5. Not printed.