396.1–ISG/11–1750: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation at the Intergovernmental Study Group on Germany, at London 1

secret

Tosig 243. Despite apparent continuing Brit and Fr insistence that so long as Occupying Rowers retain supreme authority time not appropriate to obtain waiver of claims from Ger, importance to Latin Amer countries as well as other factors makes advisable that subj again be raised. It wld seem that now is most propitious time to obtain such waiver and that deferment until peace treaty in indefinite future will result merely in loss Allied bargaining power. In addition Latin Amer factor, Dept has recd communications with which you are familiar [Page 779] from Benelux countries stressing their interest Ger waiver of claims. Another factor is that Amer Cong in considering legis to effect termination state of war might query Dept whether waiver of claims being obtained from Gers.

Dept aware that in accordance IGG (50) 122 Final2 FonMins have instructed HICOM to draft and enact law for divesting of title to property taken as reparations or by way of restitution. This wld probably eliminate possibility claims involving seizure external assets but Benelux countries have raised question which seems typical of gen fear as to how Occupying Powers propose to insure that FedRep will maintain such law unaltered when powers are relinquished. What they desire of course is some sort of gen waiver of claims from the Ger side which is a final commitment precluding future legal action. Dept itself is not only concerned over action taken by Occupying Powers under supreme authority or by nations in the exercise of belligerent rights while at war with Ger but also over action taken by US or other countries while still neutral which was taken at request of powers at war with Ger. Much Latin Amer action was taken with our encouragement prior to their declaration of war. Two Latin Amer countries took action but never declared war. US took action at request of UK prior to our entry into war. Waiver shld, of course, not be limited to such cases but shld be gen waiver broad enough to cover them in addition to all other claims.

While view has been expressed in Dept that effort shld be made to obtain Brit and Fr consent to linking waiver of claims with termination state of war, this does not seem possible in view definite and unqualified commitment given in communiqué FonMins3 to terminate state of war. Any stipulation of a condition prerequisite at this stage wld inevitably be considered by Ger FedRep as attempted retraction by Occupying Powers of commitment. Dept wld, however, favor consideration question at next stage ISG with view to obtaining Fr and Brit agreement to ask Ger waiver in connection further revision of controls over Ger. You shld accordingly discuss possibility at alternates level and advise re Fr and Brit reaction your approach which will of course stress importance of waiver to Latin Amer and Benelux countries, and those neutral countries which took safehaven action in post-war period on Allied insistence. As you know, Dept does not insist on a technical waiver if some other form of action can be obtained which will assure barring claims most of which, in practice, are likely to involve collateral actions by private individuals rather than actions brought by Ger Govt itself.

Acheson
  1. Repeated to Frankfort as 3680.
  2. For the text of IGG(50) 122 Final, Report of the Intergovernmental Study Group on Germany, see vol. iii, p. 1269.
  3. For the text of the Foreign Ministers communiqué on Germany, see ibid., p. 1296.