871.6363/9–445: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the American Representative in Rumania (Berry)99

474. Dept has received from French Emb here note1 requesting urgent intervention of US in ACC to obtain modification of Rumanian Govt’s decree no. 573, July 18, involving transfer to Soviet organizations of shares in petroleum and banking concerns owned by French citizens. Request made on ground that France is not represented on [Page 659]ACC Rumania. Note specifically refers to Concordia, Colombia, and Rumanian Commercial Bank. (Urtels 456 July 8, 485 July 202).

Dept’s views as stated in Dept’s Terminal 56 to SecState at Potsdam, repeated to Bucharest as 372, and to Moscow as 1680, July 25,3 remain unaltered with respect to properties acquired by Germans through duress. Article IV, paragraph 9 of Berlin Protocol of Aug 1, 19454 does not apply to these. Validity of ownership in any particular instance is question of fact. Dept bases its position on declaration of United Nations of January 5, 19435 and on Article 13 of Rumanian armistice agreement.

Gen Schuyler’s two notes of protest to Gen Susaikov (Schuyler’s tels M–1249 July 16, M–1264 July 18, M–1306 July 266) apparently dealt with general question of transfer of German shares to USSR which was later settled at Potsdam (Section IV, paragraph 9 of communiqué) and not with specific question of transfer to USSR of United Nations property which Germans acquired by duress during war. Please request him to bring up latter question in ACC stating US view as set forth in preceding paragraphs. He should recommend modification of Rumanian decree to provide that no transfer should be made of alleged German property to which a member of the United Nations on its own behalf or on behalf of its nationals, makes a claim pending settlement of questions of fact regarding ownership and whether such property was acquired by the Germans through duress and is subject to restitution. He should also recommend, in cases where transfers of such shares have been previously [Page 660]made, that no steps be taken by Soviet or Rumanian authorities which in effect would jeopardize return of the shares to the rightful owner.8

This telegram has been cleared with War Dept.

Byrnes
  1. Repeated to Moscow as 1951, to Paris as 4168, and to London as 7579. Repeated to Brussels as 792 with the addition of the following paragraph: “Suggest appropriate Belgium authorities be notified of foregoing in view of their interests in Rumania inviting expression of their position.” Note D 5057/No. 5876, September 7, from the Belgian Embassy to the Department of State, requested United States intervention of the Rumanian decree law of July 18, 1945, as it affected Belgian interests in Rumania (871.6363/9–745). In a note of September 28, 1945, to the Belgian Ambassador, the Acting Secretary of State replied that the United States Representative on the Allied Control Commission in Rumania had been instructed to recommend modification of the Rumanian decree law along lines set forth in this telegram (871.6363/9–745).
  2. Note 554, August 8, not printed (871.6363/8–945). In a note to the French Ambassador dated September 4, the Secretary replied that the United States Representative on the Allied Control Commission in Rumania had been instructed to recommend modification of the Rumanian decree law along the lines set forth in this telegram (871.6363/8–945).
  3. Neither printed; telegram 456, July 8, reported that a Soviet economic delegation had arrived in Bucharest at the end of June 1945, purportedly to discuss the whole problem of Rumanian-Soviet economic collaboration, particularly the establishment of a joint Rumanian-Soviet oil company. Acting Representative Melbourne further reported that he had received a copy of the draft agreement setting up such a joint Rumanian-Soviet oil company. According to this copy, Soviet shares in the proposed company would consist of those shares of Rumanian oil companies which formerly belonged to the Germans (840.6363/7–845). Telegram 465, July 12, from Bucharest ( Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol i, p. 561) transmitted the text of a note from Rumanian Prime Minister Groza to Colonel General Susaikov, enumerating the allegedly German-owned oil companies which had been transferred to the Soviet Union as reparations payments. Telegram 485, July 20, from Bucharest, transmitted the text of Rumanian decree law 573 (871.6363/7–2045). The convention between the Soviet Union and Rumania regarding the creation of a Soviet-Rumanian company for the exploration, exploitation, refining, and marketing of crude oil and oil products was signed in Bucharest on July 17, 1945.
  4. Conference of Berlin (Potsdam), vol. ii, p. 951.
  5. While the reference here is to the Berlin Protocol, the article and paragraph cited are in the Communique, ibid., p. 1506.
  6. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 443.
  7. None of these military messages printed. Copies of General Schuyler’s letters of July 16 and July 18 to Colonel General Susaikov protesting the transfer of German-held shares of oil companies and banks to the Soviet Union were transmitted to the Department in despatch 435, July 27, from Bucharest (not printed).
  8. In a letter of September 18, 1945, to Colonel General Susaikov, General Schuyler called attention to Law No. 573 of the Rumanian Government containing regulations governing the transfer to the USSR of shares of oil and banking companies belonging to persons of German nationality, and recommended that the law be modified to prevent the transfer to the USSR of German property to which a member of the United Nations, on its own behalf or on behalf of its nationals, makes a claim, pending settlement of all questions of fact regarding ownership. In the course of a meeting on October 18, 1945, of the Allied Control Commission for Rumania, Susaikov stated that Schuyler’s requests had been forwarded to Moscow where the matter was under discussion.