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Company and the Hamburg-American Line Terminal and Navigation Company, two corporations of the State of New Jersey, if he shall deem it necessary for the national security and defense; Provided, That if such property can not be procured by purchase, then the President is authorized and empowered to take over for the United States the immediate possession and title thereof. If any such property shall be taken over as aforesaid, the United States shall make just compensation therefor to be determined by the President. Upon the taking over of said property by the President, as aforesaid, the title to all such property so taken over shall immediately vest in the United States: Provided further, That section three hundred and fifty-five of the Revised Statutes of the United States shall not apply to any expenditures herein or hereafter authorized in connection with the property acquired.”
Now, THEREFORE, I, WOODROW WILSON, President of the United States of America, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the said Act of Congress approved March 28, 1918, do hereby determine and declare that the acquisition of title to the foregoing docks, piers, warehouses, wharves, and terminal equipment and facilities, is necessary for the National security and defense, and I do hereby take over for the United States of America the immediate possession and title thereof, including all leaseholds, easements, rights of way, riparian rights and other rights, estates and interests therein or appurtenant thereto.
Just compensation for the property hereby taken over will be hereafter determined and paid.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done in the District of Columbia this twenty-eighth day of June,
one thousand nine hundred and eighteen, and of the [SEAL] Independence of the United States, one hundred and forty-two.
WOODROW WILSON By the President: ROBERT LANSING
Secretary of State.
File No. 763.72113/606
The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, June 25, 1918.
[Received June 28.] MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Minister of France at Rio asked, jointly with his colleagues of England and Belgium, several weeks ago, the Brazilian Government to make an engagement that it would
not rescind the measures taken with regard to private enemy property, except after consultation with the Allied Powers.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil answered that he had no objection in principle to that proposition, but especially desired to know whether the United States would be disposed to make, in so far as it is concerned, an engagement of the same nature.
I should be thankful to Your Excellency if you would kindly acquaint me with the views of the Federal Government on the subject. Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 763.72113/626
The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, July 13, 1918.
[Received July 18.] MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: By a note dated May 25 last Your Excellency was pleased to acquaint me with the grounds upon which the Federal Government intended to authorize the Enemy Property Custodian to seize, for its protection, the property owned in the United States by Frenchmen now residing in the enemy country or in the territory occupied by the armed forces of the enemy.
Before carrying the measure into effect, however, Your Excellency expressed a wish to know whether it would meet with any objection on the part of the Government of the Republic.
My Government, to which I did not fail to refer the matter, informs me that, taking into account the fact that the property to be sequestered in the United States was that of Frenchmen residing in the country of, or occupied by, the enemy, in the interest of the said Frenchmen who, being absent, could not take proper care of their property, it had no positive objection to the contemplated measure. But it very earnestly wishes that the measure, if deemed absolutely necessary, be carried out by the Federal authorities in such a broad-minded and cautious manner as would secure the owners from any difficulty. From that standpoint it should be expressly understood, at the very least, that:
(1) The sequestration should entail no cost or expense on the owner.
(2) That the authority concerned, the Attorney General in such cases, would examine in the most benevolent spirit the objections that may be offered by the owner himself, or a regularly appointed attorney, or through the French Government, and that the property taken into custody would be returned without delay or difficulty to the lawful owner as soon as he is in position to manage it directly or through an attorney in fact.
* Note in Department file: “It was decided not to reply to this note because it was requested that if our answer was 'No'we not reply."
(3) That the firms or commercial houses whose owners residing in the occupied country are regularly represented in the
United States would not be sequestered. I may add that I did not fail to impart to my Government the explanations and assurances of a general order which the Honorable the Assistant Secretary of State was pleased to give me on the subject in his unofficial letter of June 27 last. Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 763.72113/618
The Assistant Secretary of State (Phillips) to the Counselor of the
British Embassy (Barclay)
WASHINGTON, July 24, 1918. DEAR MR. BARCLAY: Upon receipt of your informal note No. 745 of the 1st instant, inquiring whether the Government of the United States has yet decided what policy it will adopt in regard to requests from enemy countries for information as to German estates and assets under liquidation in this country, I at once inquired into the matter and have ascertained that while, of course, some publicity is given in this country when enemy property is taken over, the amount and value thereof is never given out, and no attention has been paid to requests of enemy persons for information relative to the amount of assets in the hands of the Alien Property Custodian or the disposition thereof. This Government is in accord with that of Great Britain in deeming it inadvisable to communicate such information. I am [etc.]
File No. 763.72113/649
The Belgian Minister (De Cartier) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, July 31, 1918.
[Received August 1.] MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: I took pains to forward to the Belgian Government the communication which Your Excellency was pleased to send me on May 25, 1918,2 as to the treatment of property in the United States belonging to Belgians residing in territory occupied by the enemy.
2 See footnote 1, ante, p. 298.
* Not printed. 59665-33-20
I also took pains to advise my Government that the Honorable the Assistant Secretary of the Department of State in his unofficial note of June 27, 1918, kindly told me that it was not intended to alienate property of that character, but only to place and keep it in custody until the Belgian territory is evacuated.
My Government has just sent me its answer: It has no objection to the American authorities assuming the management of the property and interests of Belgians residing in enemy territory or in territory occupied by the enemy whenever the management of said property is not looked after by an attorney who does not reside in enemy territory or territory occupied by the enemy.
Indeed the Belgian Government believes that such a measure would be uncalled for if Belgian individuals or companies had such an attorney, for the American authorities are in position to supervise the transaction of such an attorney, and see that he complies with the requirements of the Trading with the Enemy Act. It should be understood : (1) That the stewardship of the Custodian could not injure the
property rights of nor entail costs upon the owners; (2) That the property placed under custody should be returned
as soon as it can be managed by the owners or by attorneys
vested with legal powers; (3) That when such property should be taken into custody by
the American authorities notice thereof should be given
to the Belgian Government. Liquidation proceedings could only be taken with property belonging to Belgians, or residents of that part of Belgium that is occupied, when the Belgian Government should formally declare that it is unwilling to protect them. I avail myself [etc.]
E. DE CARTIER
File No. 763.72113/632
The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency, the Russian Ambassador, and referring to the memorandum ? left with the Department by Baron Gunzburg, Attaché to the Russian Embassy, concerning demands made upon Russian consuls by representatives of the Alien Property Custodian, for property in their hands from the estates of deceased Russians in this country
* See footnote 1, ante, p. 302.
2 Not printed.
belonging to Russian citizens residing in portions of Russia occupied by the enemy, has the honor to state that the matter was referred to the Alien Property Custodian for consideration and that the Department is now advised that while fully authorized by the Trading with the Enemy Act to take over such property, the Alien Property Custodian will issue instructions not to press demands which may have been made, and will refrain at this time from making further demands upon Russian consuls for property of this nature in their hands belonging to Russian citizens who are included in the term
enemy” only by reason of their residence in such part of Russia as may be occupied by the forces of the enemy.
The Alien Property Custodian states that the Trading with the Enemy Act requires that reports of property in the United States belonging to such persons should, nevertheless, be made to him.
WASHINGTON, August 1, 1918.
File No. 311.6253N811/2
The Swiss Chargé (Hübscher) to the Secretary of State
The Chargé d'Affaires a. i. of Switzerland, representing German interests in the United States, presents his compliments to the Secretary of State, and, has the honor to enclose copy of a protest from the German Government, which has been forwarded to this Legation by the Swiss Foreign Office for transmission to the Government of the United States, regarding the sale of the property of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American Lines, and also the sale of German property to American citizens by the Alien Property Custodian. WASHINGTON, August 20, 1918.
[Received August 23.]
The German Foreign Office to the Swiss Legation at Berlin
The Foreign Office thanks the Swiss Legation for the text of the Urgent Deficiency Bill and the declaration of the Alien Property Custodian enclosed in note verbale No. A.V. Gen. 4/22678 of the 18th of this month.