Washington Agreement Switzerland

After 17 April, the Swiss and Allied delegations proceeded with a proposal for an agreement and on 17 and 18 April the delegations exchanged the draft agreement. However, the negotiations and subsequent work of the drafting committee were halted on 23 April due to the difficulty of making a decision on two fundamental points: (1) the percentage of German assets that the Swiss had to receive to satisfy their claims on Germany; and (2) the amount of gold that Switzerland was to return to the Allied nations by acquiring gold stolen from Germany during the war. This interruption was confirmed by an exchange of letters between Mr. Paul and Mr. Stucki. (See CC appendix for the text of the April 24 letters by Mr. Paul and Mr. Stucki. After a week of difficult negotiations, it became clear that the legal positions were diametrically opposed. Neither the Swiss nor the Allies were prepared to give in to the principles of law.

In addition, no judicial or arbitration settlement was acceptable to the Allies. They were trying to reach an agreement quickly with Switzerland because they wanted to conduct similar negotiations with other neutral and non-belligerent states such as Sweden, Portugal and Spain. A failure of the Swiss talks would have seriously compromised an agreement with these countries. In order to reach an agreement with Switzerland, the Allies came to understand that they had to seek a solution on the basis of a political compromise. The instructions given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the British delegation of 24 April 1946 are typical in this regard: in 1952, under totally different circumstances, a new solution was negotiated between Switzerland and its allied partners, this time in collaboration with the Federal Republic of Germany. Under the new agreement between Switzerland and the Allies, it received a total of 121.5 million francs in reparations. In return for this payment, they formally waived all rights to German assets in Switzerland. After the withdrawal of this amount, which entered in 1953, the part of the agreement on German assets was also settled in Switzerland. In the view of the Allies and Switzerland, the Washington agreement could be settled, as the agreement had been implemented. Almost immediately after the signing of the Washington agreement, the U.S. government began unlocking Swiss assets frozen in the United States.

At the same time, serious problems in the implementation of Switzerland have arisen between the Allies and Switerland, particularly in the context of a fair exchange rate of the Swiss franc of the Reichmark. Because of this problem, it was not until 1952 that an agreement was reached on the conditions and procedures for the liquidation of German foreign assets. But the Swiss immediately handed over $58 million in gold to the three-man gold commission. The problem of German foreign assets, including the assets of neutral countries, has long been a concern of allied governments. In August 1944, the 44 United Nations represented at the Bretton Woods Conference adopted Resolution VI, in which they called on neutral governments to take all necessary measures within their respective jurisdictions to immobilize looted assets; (2) to detect and control enemy property; and (3) German assets for the provision of monitoring authorities in Germany. (See Appendix A of the text of Bretton Woods Resolution VI.5). In February 1945, before the cessation of hostilities, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and France deployed a special mission to Switzerland (commonly known as the Currie Mission) to ensure Swiss cooperation in the ownership of enemy property in their jurisdiction.