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knowledge of the American Government and kindly call the attention of the latter to the fact that the Imperial Government will only be able to furnish it information concerning the treatment of American private property in Germany in proportion as it receives precise answers from the American Government to the German inquiries and protests addressed to it through the Swiss Government.
BERLIN, July 18, 1918.
File No. 763.72113/696
The Alien Property Custodian (Palmer) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, September 19, 1918.
[Received September 20.] My DEAR MR. SEC'RETARY: In re your file No. 763.72113/679, transmitting a communication from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin,' I beg to say that all of the German decrees on the private property of citizens of the United States referred to in the verbal note attached to your communication bear date before the Congress had given the Alien Property Custodian the power to sell German-owned property in this country. While the verbal note states that these decrees were issued solely by way of reprisal, they were in fact issued before this Government had given to the Alien Property Custodian the power to sell enemy properties (except to prevent waste).
The verbal note further states that no differences were made in German legislation in regard to the treatment of property of American citizens domiciled in or outside of Germany.
In this respect the action of the German Government is very different from ours. The Trading with the Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, makes residence the sole test of enemy character and we have taken over only the property of such German subjects as are resident within enemy territory, or territory occupied by the armed forces of the enemy. We do not treat German subjects domiciled in the United States as enemies, and we do not disturb their property unless they have been interned and are under the jurisdiction of the War Department, when by presidential proclamation they come within the enemy class. Respectfully yours,
A. MITCHELL PALMER
* Communication from the Secretary of State to the Alien Property Custodian not printed; communication from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Spanish Ambassador at Berlin printed supra.
File No. 311.6253N811/1
WASHINGTON, September 26, 1918. SIR: I have the honor to refer to your note of August 23, 1918, in which you state that you are in receipt of a cablegram from the Swiss Foreign Office, stating that the German Government desires to know whether the press reports that the piers of the North German Lloyd and the Hamburg-American Lines, in New York City, have been sold, are correct.
A copy of your note was referred for consideration to the Alien Property Custodian, who states that the amendment to the Urgent Deficiency bill (Public 109), approved March 28, 1918, authorized the President “ to acquire the title to the docks, piers, warehouses, wharves and terminal equipment and facilities on the Hudson River now owned by the North German Lloyd Dock Co. and the HamburgAmerican Line Terminal and Navigation Co., two corporations of the State of New Jersey, if he shall deem it necessary for the national security and defense "; that in pursuance of this law, the President by proclamation took over the properties in question; that the Department of Justice is now examining the title thereto, and that, as soon as this work is completed, the officers of the corporation owning said properties, acting under the direction of the Alien Property Custodian, will make a conveyance of these properties to the United States. Accept [etc.]
ALVEY A. ADEE
File No. 763.72114/4043
The Secretary of State to the Swiss Chargé (Oederlin) The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of Switzerland, in charge of German interests in the United States, and referring further to his memorandum of August 26, 1918 (XXVIa-145), inquiring relative to the regulations adopted with reference to the forwarding of the personal belongings of interned alien enemies after their arrest to the place of internment, has the honor to state that the regulation requires that no money or other property belonging to, owing to, or held for an enemy or ally of an enemy shall be transmitted without the consent of the Alien Property Custodian.
* Not printed.
In the case of interned alien enemies without dependents the Alien Property Custodian makes demand for property in excess of $500 in value, and in the case of interned alien enemies with dependents in this country, makes demand for any in excess of $5,000. It will thus be necessary in each case where the Chargé d'Affaires is desirous of forwarding personal property to interned alien enemies to refer the matter to the Secretary of State so that the consent of the Alien Property Custodian can be first obtained. This consent, so far as the Alien Property Custodian is concerned, will ordinarily be granted where the property is less than $500 in the case of interned alien enemies without dependents and less than $5,000 in the case of such persons with dependents in this country.
WASHINGTON, September 30, 1918.
File No. 763.72113/563
The Secretary of State to the Swiss Chargé (Oederlin) The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of Switzerland, in charge of German interests in the United States, and, with reference to the Legation's memorandum of May 10, 1918, requesting to be advised whether measures of liquidation of German property have as yet been taken and, if so, against whom, has the honor to inform the Chargé that a copy of the Legation's memorandum was referred to the competent authority of this Government for consideration and that the Department is now informed that the liquidation of German private property, particularly German commercial enterprises, is being accomplished under the direction of the Alien Property Custodian where such enterprises are conducted by partnerships of which an enemy, as defined by the * Trading with the Enemy Act,” is a member; that the act of war having avoided such partnership agreements, the War Trade Board has issued licenses to such partnerships to continue in business for the purpose of liquidating out the enemy interest under the supervision and control of the Alien Property Custodian, and that, where the enemy interest is in the nature of stockholdings in American corporations, the Alien Property Custodian is taking over the stockholdings and representing the stock, and is placing directors in the companies to supervise the management and operation of such companies; but that none of these corporations are being liquidated at the present time.
WASHINGTON, October 3, 1918.
'Ante, p. 297.
File No. 763.72114/4036
The Secretary of State to the Swiss Chargé (Oederlin) The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of Switzerland, in charge of German interests in the United States, and has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of his memorandum of August 21, 1918 (IX-Fort Oglethorpe),' inquiring on behalf of the committee of internees at the War Prison Barracks, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., whether the exemption of $500 which is granted the internees by the Alien Property Custodian, would be increased when their present available funds are exhausted.
In reply the Secretary of State informs the Chargé d'Affaires that it is impossible for the Alien Property Custodian to increase the amount of exemption for the reason that the Trading with the Enemy Act does not permit any such arrangement. After the property of the enemy has been delivered to the Alien Property Custodian, its distribution can, under the provisions of the act, only be effected by an act of Congress after the war, except that persons not enemies claiming an interest therein or having a claim against the same, may pursue the remedy provided by section 9 of the Trading with the Enemy Act, and with the assent of the enemy person the President may order that the whole or part of such property may be paid over to such claimant. This power the President has delegated to the Department of Justice.
Whether a claim against such a fund presented on behalf of the dependent family of an interned enemy would be held to come within the provisions referred to above and would be entertained by the Department of Justice, can be determined only when a specific claim is presented to be passed upon.
WASHINGTON, October 9, 1918.
File No. 763.72113/714
The Secretary of State to the Swiss Chargé (Oederlin) The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of Switzerland in charge of German interests in the United States, and with reference to his memorandum of September 17, 1918,1 relative to the desire of the German Government to be furnished with information in regard to a statement concerning the sale of property in the United States belonging to alien enemies which appeared in the Parisian newspaper Le Matin, has
the honor to inform the Chargé that the Department of State is advised by the Alien Property Custodian under date of the 1st instant that he has ordered the sale of 21 companies, the estimated value of which is $7,300,000, and in which the enemy interest practically averages 100 per cent.
WASHINGTON, October 12, 1918.
File No. 763.72113/793
The Swiss Minister (Sulzer) to the Secretary of State
The Minister of Switzerland, representing German interests in the United States, presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and, referring to the Legation's memorandum dated October 18, 1918, regarding a protest of the German Government against the treatment accorded German property in the Philippines, now has the honor to transmit to His Excellency a carbon copy of the note verbale upon which the Legation's memorandum of October 18, 1918, was based. WASHINGTON, November 27, 1918.
[Recriveil November 29.]
The Foreign Office has the honor to express to the Swiss Legation its best thanks for the despatch of May 14 of this year, from the Swiss Consul at Manila, about the liquidation of German concerns in the Philippines communicated in the Legation's note verbale No. A-I-3/26764 of the 3d of last month.
It appears from the Swiss Consul's despatch that the American Government as early as the spring of this year set about disposing of German concerns in the Philippines by means of forced sales. No military or state necessity calls for that sacrifice of German property. It can have but one object: wholly to drive out of the Philippines the German commerce to make it impossible for it to resume its relations after the war, and to work as lasting an injury as possible to the economic life of Germany even in peace-time.