Acheson, Dean

Interesting content 1949 TLS to his former Asst. Secretary, now a lobbyist, seeking aid for a client


Type: Letter
Description: (1893-1971) Secretary of State in the Truman administration (1949-53), played a central role in defining US Cold War foreign policy during the Cold War. Acheson helped design the Marshall Plan and was a key player in the development of the Truman Doctrine and the creation of NATO. His most famous decision was convincing President Truman to intervene in the Korean War in June 1950. He also persuaded Truman to dispatch aid and advisors to French forces in Indochina, though in 1968 he finally counseled President Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy called upon him for advice, bringing him into the executive committee (“ExComm”), a strategic advisory group. In the late 40s Acheson came under heavy attack for his defense of State Department employees accused during the anti-gay “Lavender” and “Red” Scare investigations by Senator McCarthy and others, and over Truman’s policy toward China.

Interesting content TLS “Dean” on 9 x 7 official letterhead as Secretary,  white embossed Department seal at top left,Washington, November 7 1949, to Hon. Spruille Braden. Secretary Acheson responds to Braden’s letter dealing with claims of the Silesian-American Corporation. Acheson says the Department cannot take any further steps as matter is in litigation, only proper role is to “…discuss the matter with the court, if asked, but not with the litigants ex parte.” He adds that any move as Braden suggests “might be construed as weighted in favor of one side or the other in this question.”

Spruille Braden (1894-1978) Diplomat, businessman, lobbyist, and Asst. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs 1947-49, notable for interventionist activities and prominent role in several coups d’etats. He was a mining engineer and consultant in Latin America, and directed the W. Averill Harriman Securities Corp. As a Standard Oil agent, he played a role in the Bolivia-Paraguay Chaco War and was openly anti-union. He held several brief ambassadorships in Colombia, Cuba and Argentina. As Ambassador to Argentina for 4 months in 1945, he encouraged opposition to Juan Peron who used the slogan “Braden or Perón” to aid his 1946 presidential win. From 1948, he was a lobbyist for United Fruit Company. When its Guatemalan interests were threatened, Braden helped plot and execute the 1954 coup that overthrew the president. He died after unsuccessfully lobbying against the Torrijos-Carter Panama Cana.

Silesian-American Corporation (SACO) a Delaware corporation estab. in 1926, took ownership of Giesche Spolka Akcyjna (Giesche), a Polish corporation in the interwar period. SACO gave substantial loans to Giesche’s Erben by selling $15M bonds maturing Aug. 1, 1941. Giesche was part of a German corporation, Giesche’s Erben, in previously German controlled Upper Silesia in re-established Poland. SACO was owned by Silesian Holding Co. and Giesche; Silesian Holding Co. was owned by Anaconda Copper and W. Averill Harriman whose portion would later be owned by Harriman, close affiliates and associates.

In WW II, Silesian-American was among Polish firms brought under supervision of German military commissar Dr. Albrecht Jung. SACO was denied all income from European Silesian-American activities and affiliates, and could not pay dividends on outstanding bonds due in 1941. It filed a petition for reorganization under Chapter X of the US Bankruptcy Act.

Before US entry in WWII, Giesche’s Erben sought to regain legal control of the corporation through Eduard Schulte, Giesche’s Erben General Manager, and Jung, through a “repatriation scheme”. In 1941, Swiss bank LaRoche acted with Schulte to register another Swiss company, Ikap. Schulte convinced Harriman and Anaconda Copper’s president to sell their Silesian Holding shares to Ikap. However, it could not be completed without US Government scrutiny as a Presidential freeze was extended to Switzerland June 14, 1941 which held that transactions which might benefit an enemy be subject to Treasury Department review and approval. The first 3 applications to transfer stock ownership from US to enemy holders was refused July 26, 1941, the other 2 in August and December.

On Nov. 17, 1942, the Alien Property Custodian took control of German-owned shares of Silesian-American. The stock, before Aug. 31, 1939, was in the name of Non Ferrum, a Swiss corporation which held the stock for the benefit of Giesche’s Erben, a German corporation. This stopped Schulte’s repatriation scheme. Before Silesian-American was dissolved, it was in several legal proceedings in the 1950s.

Condition: Very good, light uniform toning

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