In these circumstances, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Eizenstat, asked the United States to review its own records to see exactly what happened to the US$60 million that the U.S. government received from Switzerland and why the Allies were not more aggressive in their negotiations with the Swiss. In his speech in Jerusalem in August 1996, he said: “We know that in 1946 the Swiss government handed over a considerable amount of money to the US government, possibly looted. We believe the amount has been distributed. Some were held at the U.S. Treasury, others were distributed to allied powers. What we do know is that none of this money has fallen into the hands of those who plundered it. Just as Switzerland may have to look painfully at its role, so will the US government. In the spring of 1946, a high-level Swiss delegation went to Washington to negotiate the release of Swiss assets frozen in the United States and an end to the allied boycott of the companies that had acted with the Axis powers during World War II. In exchange, the United States, the United Kingdom and France requested that Swiss banks sell German assets.
The Washington Agreement (dodis.ch/1725, concluded 70 years ago, on 25 May 1946, after difficult negotiations, is an important step in Swiss foreign policy. It was the evacuation that ended Switzerland`s isolation and paved the way for the country`s integration into the post-war world. In a second agreement between Switzerland and the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federal Republic committed to pay 121.5 million francs, the amount that Switzerland paid to the Allies. In return, Switzerland has committed to free up all German assets in Switzerland, up to a maximum of 10,000 francs. Owners of assets over 10,000 francs received only two-thirds of their assets; A third was made available to the West German government, which was able to recover the sum of 121.5 million francs. So that`s where we`re at the heart of the debate on the Washington agreement. But let`s not get to work too quickly. In this presentation, I propose to examine the following issues. What prompted the Allies and the Swiss to conclude this contract? What were the starting positions of the Allies and Switzerland, and how did they come to this conclusion in 1946? How was this agreement partially implemented after 1946 and replaced in 1952 by a new agreement, an ally of Switzerland? Finally, how can the content and implementation of this treaty be assessed? The problem of German foreign assets, including the assets of neutral countries, has long been a concern of allied governments.