Holocaust-Era Assets

Civilian Agency Records

Records of the Office of Inter-American Affairs (RG 229)

The Office of Inter-American Affairs was established by an Executive order of July 30, 1941, in the Office for Emergency Management, as the successor to the Office for Coordination of Commercial and Cultural Relations Between the American Republics. Until March 1945 the agency was named the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA). Its purpose, as stated in the Executive order was to "provide for the development of commercial and cultural relations between the American Republics" and thereby to increase the solidarity of the Western Hemisphere and further "the spirit of cooperations between the Americas in the interest of Hemisphere defense." More specifically, the Office was directed to formulate and execute programs in the commercial and economic fields and the files of the arts and sciences, education and travel, the radio, the press, and the cinema that would further national defense and strengthen the bonds between the nations of the Western Hemisphere. It was required to work closely with the Department of State in promoting Hemisphere solidarity.

The Office was headed by Nelson A. Rockefeller as Coordinator until shortly before its name was changed, by an Executive order of March 23, 1945, to the Office of Inter-American Affairs, which was headed by Wallace K. Harrison as Director. The Office as early as April 1941 had lost many of its economic responsibilities to the Board of Economic Warfare and in the same year some of its long-range cultural activities were taken over by the Department of State. By an Executive order of August 31, 1945, the informational activities of the Office of Inter-American Affairs were transferred to the Department of State; and by an Executive order of April 10, 1946, the Office was abolished and its remaining functions and responsibilities were transferred to that Department. General Records

Central Files 1940-1945 (Entry 1)

Arranged according to a filing scheme that is reproduced in appendix I of National Archives Inventory No. 7 (consult finding aids in Room 2600). This scheme divides the records by subject, function, or correspondence into six major headings, which a number assigned to each: (0) Inter-American Activities in the United States, (1) Basic Economy, (2) Commercial and Financial, (3) Information, (4) Administration, and (5) Alphabetical. Within each major heading the files are arranged by subjects and subtopics and thereunder chronologically, except for No. 5, which consists of correspondence with other U.S. Government agencies, the Pan American Union, and the United Nations. These records are arranged alphabetically by agency and thereunder either chronologically or by agency subdivisions or names of officials. See Inventory No. 7 for further description of arrangement and content. Boxes 1-500

Records of the Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation was established as the Transportation Division in 1942 to promote the transportation program of the Office. In 1945 it was combined with the Department of Economic Development to form the Department of Transportation and Economic Development. Records Concerning Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals ("Black List") 1945- 1946 (Entry 42)

Arranged Chronologically. Copies or parts of the list with memorandums and action proposals for additions and deletions. The list was of persons or firms in Latin America and elsewhere aiding, or suspected of aiding, the Axis Powers. It was prepared by the Interdepartmental Committee on the Proclaimed List, which was composed of representatives from various U.S. Government agencies, including the OIAA, and from the British and Canadian Embassies. Earlier records relating to the Proclaimed List are in the central files (Entry 1) Boxes 666-668

Records of the Department of Information

The Department was established in 1942 to bring together and continue the activities of press, radio, motion-picture, and education units that had been inherited by the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs from its predecessor. In August 1945 the Department was abolished and its functions and records were transferred to the Department of State.

Records of the Regional Division

The main function of the Regional Division, established in 1942, was to direct and correlate the activities of the various coordination committees. The Division maintained working relations with the Department of State, obtaining from it approval for field projects of the coordination committees. The coordination committees provided local guidance in adapting the Office's program,. to local conditions, checked on the effectiveness of the program in each country, and executed programs that could not be handled efficiently by United States diplomatic representatives.

Records of the Coordination Committee for Argentina

General Records 1941-1945 (Entry 98)

Arranged by subject, type of record, or correspondence and thereunder chronologically. Most of the correspondence is with coordination committees and missions in other Latin American countries and OIAA divisions in Washington. It relates to administrative and financial matters, organization, functions, activities, and projects of the Committee. A substantial amount concerns propaganda and information activities through the press, radio, and motion picture media. Boxes 1234-1258