To avert a Fourth Reich : the Safehaven program and the allied pursuit of Nazi assets abroad / by Martin Lorenz-Meyer.
The Safehaven program was originally developed by U.S. officials in the Foreign Economic Administration in spring 1944 to address the perceived danger that European neutral countries could be used for cloaked efforts of Nazi Germany to continue a cause which was lost on the battlefield. The program's focus soon broadened considerably to include all German capital and assets in the neutral countries, and the idea emerged that these assets could be used as reparations. The main aims of Safehaven thus turned out to be twofold. In the short run, these German assets had to be located and identified. In the long run, the main European neutral countries had to be convinced to turn over those assets as reparations. The embryonic program gained strong support when the Morgenthau Plan advanced the idea to take external assets as reparations. This scheme was quickly absorbed into the Allies' postwar reparation planning. Last-minute maneuvering among the Big Three at Potsdam split the money between East and West, and each side proved to be fairly content with its share. But, as the example of Sweden shows, the neutral countries hardly welcomed the Allied advances, whether based on legal or on moral reasons. Indeed, after the Allies spent much time and effort to agree on a vesting law in the Allied Control Council, they were unsuccessful in convincing the neutrals of their legal interpretation. Rather, to conclude Safehaven agreements with the neutrals, other measures, such as the freezing of neutral assets in the U.S., the existence of the Proclaimed List, and the general interest of some but not all neutral countries to avoid being marked as outcasts, supplied the Allies with the necessary leverage. For a brief historical moment the postwar concerns of the United States and its western Allies moved the Safehaven program along, with the U.S. aggressively pursuing its goals. Thereby, Great Britain, much more than France, remained a reluctant partner. To a greater extent than the U.S., Great Britain was concerned about its postwar position with other European nations, in particular with those that again could become valuable trading partners.
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