Holocaust-Era Assets

Military Agency Records

A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland

Department of State and Foreign Affairs Records

The principal responsibility for the determination of the policy of the government in relation to international problems devolves upon the Department of State. Some of the more vital decisions on questions of foreign affairs are made by the President, but the day-to-day negotiations with foreign countries, the specific measures for the protection of American interests and the promotion of solidarity with friendly countries, and the conduct of the voluminous correspondence with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the United States as well as with the representatives of foreign powers accredited to the United States are delegated to the Department of State.

The multitude of foreign relations problems arising from World War II necessitated a broadening of many phases of the Department's work. The wartime functions of the Department included the conduct of war-related negotiations with foreign countries; collaboration with other Government agencies in the mapping of broad strategies and in the determination of questions of foreign policy relating to lend-lease and economic warfare against the Axis; and the coordination of other foreign policy aspects of wartime operations. The Department also conducted special research and discussions; formulated policies, and planned programs relating to post-war political and economic reconstruction as it pertained to the foreign relations of the United States

Throughout most of the war Cordell Hull was the Secretary of State. Upon his resignation in November, 1944, he was succeeded by Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., who in turn resigned in June 1945 and was succeeded by James F. Byrnes. The Under Secretary of State was the principal assistant to the Secretary of State, and in the absence of the Secretary he served as Acting Secretary. Sumner Welles was Under Secretary of States from before the outbreak of the war until September 1943. He was succeeded by Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.; Joseph C. Grew in December 1944; and Dean Acheson in August 1945, successively. (Note 1)


Foreign Relations of the United States [a publication of the State Department that serves as a key finding aid to the records because the documents selected for printing include the source file designation.]

FRUS, 1944, Vol. II, pp. 213-251. "Concern of the United States over Enemy Attempts to Secrete Funds or Other Assets in Neutral Countries; Inception of the Safehaven Program."

FRUS, 1945, Vol. II, pp. 852-932. "Concern of the United States over Enemy Attempts to Secrete Funds or Other Assets in Neutral Countries; Implementation of the Safehaven Program."

FRUS, 1946, Vol. V, pp. 202-220. "Implementation of the Safehaven Program; Negotiation of Accords with Switzerland and Sweden on Liquidation of German External Assets in their Countries."