740.22112 RP/8–445: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Ecuador ( Shaw )

A–348. Reference your despatch no. 3315 [3316] of August 4, 194591 concerning the disposition of blocked Italian properties in Ecuador.

As intimated in the Department’s instruction no. 1242 of August 11, 1945, the matter must be determined on a case by case basis and the standards by which each case should be tested are set out in Resolutions V and VII of the Washington Conference. In each case the test should be, not one of nationality, but whether the individual in question comes within the scope of “engaging in activities inimical to the security of the Western Hemisphere”.

With regard to the policy of the Alien Property Custodian, it was agreed in 1943 that Italian property in the United States would not be vested in the future in instances where vesting might be proposed simply because of the Italian nationality of the owner of the property. In January 1945 agreement was reached within this Government that the Custodian would adopt a policy of refraining from selling property vested from Italian owners with the exception of cases which might present situations in which the public interest of the United [Page 1045] States might require a different policy. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended,92 the Custodian has no authority to return Italian property which has already been vested and such property must remain in the custody of the Custodian until such time as a Congressional determination on disposition of such property is made. Such determination has not been made as yet.

The Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in London93 has been considering questions relating to the disposition to be made of Italian property abroad in connection with the drafting of the treaty of peace to be concluded with Italy.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Act approved October 6, 1917, and amended by the First War Powers Act, approved December 18, 1941; 40 Stat. 411 and 55 Stat. 839.
  3. For documentation on this meeting, see vol. ii, pp. 99 ff.