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which this Government would undertake to indicate in advance and in general terms the nature of the action which it may be found necessary to take with respect to interests of Austro-Hungarian subjects in carrying into effect the provisions of the act. I may inform you, however, that no proclamation has been issued by the President pursuant to the provisions of section 2(c) of the act. Accept [etc.]
FRANK L. POLK
File No. 763.72113/448
The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 25.] Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: Under date of the 10th of this month, the Minister of Belgium in compliance with instructions he had received and in accordance with an agreement reached with the English and French Governments, brought to Your Excellency's notice the measures decided on in Paris on October 9 last, with a view to protecting the property and interests of the inhabitants of territory invaded by the Germans. Those measures were made indispensable by the system of spoliation and destruction applied with unexampled brutality by the Germans, especially in Belgium and northern France.
By order of my Government and adverting to the remarks I have already made orally on the subject at the Department of State I have the honor to express to Your Excellency my unqualified support of the proposition laid before you by Monsieur de Cartier.
This is a grave and urgent matter; it commands the attention of all the Allied Governments. If adequate measures taken in common accord are lacking there can be no other result than incitement for an enemy to keep on robbing and destroying.
My Government would therefore attach very great importance to having that of the United States join us and insure the effectiveness of the contemplated measures by taking its part therein.
It is hardly necessary for me to point out that the proposed measures are as conformable to the law of nations as our enemy's acts are antagonistic to the same law. We do not propose to confiscate but to sequestrate and ultimately return the property subject to the condition that our nationals will be again put in possession of that which belongs to them.
I should be very glad if Your Excellency could enable me at the earliest possible date to report your views to my Government particularly if they should, as I hope they will, coincide with those which I hereby have the honor to commend to your attention." Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 763.72113/447
The Swiss Minister (Sulzer) to the Secretary of State
Department of German WASHINGTON, January 25, 1918.
[Received January 26.] Sir: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Legation is in receipt of a cablegram from the Swiss Foreign Office, as follows:
The Legation at Berlin advises German Government desires to know:
(1) If offices of the Hamburg-American Line have been definitely seized and if the American authorities have taken possession.
(2) If the Supreme Court has given sequestration power in order to liquidate 43,000 stocks and bonds of gold-mine companies, in which subjects of enemy states are interested.
(3) "If the American Treasury Department has ordered the liquidation of enemy insurance companies with the exception of life insurance companies.
(4) If, in a general way, the seizure or liquidation of German private property, particularly of German commercial enter
prises, has been ordered. The Minister begs leave to add that he will be happy to transmit to his Government the reply of the Government of the United States.
File No. 763.72113/446
The Ambassador in Spain (Willard) to the Secretary of State No. 1005
MADRID, December 22, 1917.
[Received January 26, 1918.] Sir: The Minister of State informs the Embassy that he has been notified by the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin that, in compliance with the desires expressed by the American Legation in Berne, information was requested of the German Government on November 6 in
Memorandum of the Assistant Secretary of State (Phillips), Feb. 15, 1918, states: “I told De Laboulaye [Second Secretary of the French Embassy] that the Belgian Minister has asked me in case of a decision in the negative not to reply to the Belgian note, consequently we thought it was better not to reply to the French Ambassador's note. Mr. de Laboulaye agreed that it was the best course under the circumstances.” (File No. 763.72113/647.)
regard to the regulations in force concerning deposits, securities and current accounts in German banks belonging to American citizens. The German Government has sent to the Spanish Ambassador a reply, copies of which are enclosed herewith. I have [etc.]
JOSEPH E. WILLARD
| Enclosure-Translation] The German Foreign Office to the Spanish Embassy at Berlin
NOTE VERBALE In reply to note verbale of the 6th of this month Am. Div. No. 9590\, relative to the treatment of American citizens
12722 deposits and credits in German banks, the Department of Foreign Affairs has the honor to make the following statement to the Royal Embassy of Spain.
In its telegram the Legation of the United States at Berne com. plained that the said deposits and amounts were subjected to special supervision by the Imperial Bank which requires Americans wishing to draw their funds to state the purpose to which the money is to be put. Considering the treatment to which German deposits in American banks have been subjected for some months past, the German Government cannot but express its surprise at the complaint.
As early as June last, the American State Department informed the Legation of Switzerland at Washington that the banks were under general instructions as to the supervision of the accounts of enemy subjects and citizens. In July, the State Department declared all payments from the United States to Germany have been forbidden since President Wilson's proclamation of April 6. These restrictions put upon German creditors impelled the German Government to issue in August a decree forbidding payments to the United States. Apart from that prohibition, American citizens at the time when the Legation of the United States at Berne preferred its complaint were still at liberty to draw on their bank deposits and credits in the same manner as German, Allied, or neutral citizens or subjects.
In the meanwhile the German Government has obtained knowledge of the American Trading with the Enemy Act of October 6 which
See telegram No. 1051, Oct. 24, 1917, to the Chargé in Switzerland, ante, p. 264.
? Possibly refers to circular letter of May 10, 1917, from the Governor of the Federal Reserve Board to the Federal Reserve banks (Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. II, p. 814), although no record found of its communication to the Swiss Legation. * No record found of specific declaration of Department of State to that effect.
deprives German citizens or subjects of any right to dispose of their property in the United States. This constrained the German Government to resort to reprisals. By an order of the 10th of this month (Reichs-Gesctzblatt, p. 1050) certain provisions of the order of October 7, 1915 (Reichs-Gesetzblatt, p. 663), were made applicable to American citizens so that they can no longer dispose of, convey, or carry abroad their property in Germany without a special license. Those provisions, however, do not prevent American residents or branches of American concerns in Germany from disposing of their property for the benefit of persons residing in Germany. But in view of the grave injury done to German private rights by the above-cited act, the German Government will be compelled to consider whether it may not be necessary to adopt still more effective measures with respect to American private property.
BERLIN, November 30, 1917.
File No. 763.72113/435
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Wilson)
WASHINGTON, January 28, 1918, 8 p. m. 1414. For Berlin:
Please report fully by cable as soon as possible on the status of American property in Germany as affected by official acts of the German Government since the existence of a state of war between the United States and Germany; particularly whether an alien property custodian has been appointed to take charge of and control American property. If so, please forward official regulations and ask German Government to furnish you at quarterly intervals, for transmission to the Department, detailed reports concerning the taking over of American property. Repeat mutatis mutandis to Vienna.
File No. 763.72113A/
The Assistant Secretary of State (Phillips) to the Chairman of the
Committee on Public Information (Creel)
WASHINGTON, January 31, 1918. MY DEAR MR. CREEL: I enclose a self-explanatory statement which I should appreciate having published in an early issue of The Official Bulletin and given such other and wider publicity as is possible, in order that the information clicited thereby may be as nearly complete as it is feasible to obtain in this manner. Thanking you [etc.]
Statement by the Secretary of State 1 The Secretary of State, deeming it advisable in the interests of the United States and of the persons concerned to have of record in his Department as complete information as possible regarding the character and extent of American-owned property in the countries of the enemies and the allies of the enemies, or in territory under their military control or occupation, desires that all American citizens, owners of such property, whether real or personal, will forward to the Secretary of State a full statement of the facts with regard thereto.
Communications to the Secretary of State in response to this notice should in particular state:
(1) Whether the owner is a native or naturalized citizen of the United States. (If naturalized he should state his original nationality and when and where he was naturalized as an American citizen, and where he now resides.) (2) (If it be real estate)(a) The exact location, nature, extent and value (actual, not
exaggerated) thereof; (6) When and in what manner it was acquired; (c) From whom acquired (indicating name and nationality); (d) Whether there are any encumbrances thereon, and if so, the
nature and amount thereof. (3) (If personal property)-
(a) The form of such property;
tionality, if possible, of the former owner;
rate of interest stipulated for;
The last known location of the property; (9) The name of its last known custodian. (4) If the owner of the property to be reported is an American corporation, joint stock company or partnership, full information regarding the nature of the concern and the percentage of foreign interest therein, if any, should be given.
The Official Bulletin, Washington, Feb. 8, 1918 (vol. 2, No. 229), p. 4.