740.00119 EAC/4–1345: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

3781. Comea 216. At the close of last night’s meeting of the EAC the French representative distributed to the members a statement urging immediate negotiation on problems of restitution. Full text by air.52

Summary of French statement. Referring to United Kingdom, French and United States memoranda on restitution (EAC papers 44/28,53 45/3,54 44/3155 and 45/2256) and to press reports of large stocks of gold and art works uncovered by United States forces in Germany, Massigli57 urged EAC to agree urgently on general principles to be adopted in regard to restitution. End of Summary.

In the discussion the Soviet Representative asked for certain clarifications of the concept of restitution. He asked if restitution covered both property taken by force and property handed over voluntarily to the Germans by persons and organizations; if both state and private property were included; and if restitution covered the subject of compensation for property not found and recovered. In reply Strang stressed the need for limiting restitution to return of identifiable specific objects, and for returning objects to the governments rather than to individual owners. Massigli brought out briefly the French view that restitution should be extended to cover replacement. It was agreed to discuss restitution at the next meeting of the Commission April 16.

  1. Text of statement transmitted with despatch 22498, April 18, from London, neither printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, p. 1048.
  3. Not printed; for summary, see telegram 313, January 9, midnight, from London, p. 1170.
  4. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, p. 1060.
  5. Memorandum by the French representative, dated March 3, not printed; it called for firm measures to insure prompt return of confiscated material and replacement of art treasures in case the originals had been lost or destroyed.
  6. René Massigli, French Ambassador in the United Kingdom and French Representative on the European Advisory Commission.