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U.S. Supreme Court

Cummings v. Deutsche Bank und Discontogesellschaft, 300 U.S. 115 (1937)

Cummings v. Deutsche Bank und Discontogesellschaft

No. 254

Argued January 4, 5, 1937

Decided February 1, 1937

300 U.S. 115


1. A suit under § 9 of the Trading With the Enemy Act, as amended by § 11 of the Settlement of War Claims Act, against the Attorney General (successor to the Alien Property Custodian) and the Treasurer of the United States, to recover property seized from a former enemy owner, is a suit against the United States. P. 300 U. S. 118.

2. The consent of the United States to be so sued was not withdrawn by Public Resolution No. 53, of June 27, 1934. Id.

This Public Resolution provides, inter alia, that all deliveries of money or property authorized or directed by the statutes above cited shall be postponed and the money or property reserved as long as Germany remains in arrears in payments under the debt funding agreement between Germany and the United States, dated June 23, 1930, respecting Germany's obligations on account of awards of the Mixed Claims Commission, etc.

3. In postponing restoration of property to former enemy owners, as allowed and provided for by the Settlement of War Claims Act, Public Resolution No. 53, supra, did not infringe their rights under the Fifth Amendment. P. 300 U. S. 120.

4. Seizures under the Trading With the Enemy Act divested the enemy owners of all right to the property seized and vested absolute title in the United States. Id.

5. The fact that Congress manifested from the beginning its intention after the War to deal justly with former owners of seized enemy property, and by restitution or compensation to ameliorate hardship resulting from such seizures, detracted nothing from the title acquired by the United States or its power to retain or dispose

Page 300 U. S. 116

of the property upon such terms and conditions as from time to time Congress might direct. P. 300 U. S. 120.

6. In a suit under the Settlement of War Claims Act, a former enemy owner could not gain title to the property claimed, prior to final judgment. P. 300 U. S. 121.

7. The grant of the privilege of becoming reentitled to seized property, extended to former enemy owners upon specified conditions by the Settlement of War Claims Act was a matter of grace, and was subject to withdrawal by Congress. P. 300 U. S. 122.

65 App.D.C. 297, 83 F.2d 554, reversed.

Certiorari, 299 U.S. 527, to review the reversal of a judgment dismissing a suit for the recovery of property seized and held under the Trading With the Enemy Act.

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