American Insurance Association v. Garamendi, 539 U.S. 396, 8 (2003)

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Cite as: 539 U. S. 396 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

of the day, the fact is that the value or proceeds of many insurance policies issued to Jews before and during the war were paid to the Reich or never paid at all.

These confiscations and frustrations of claims fell within the subject of reparations, which became a principal object of Allied diplomacy soon after the war. At the Potsdam Conference, the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union took reparations for wartime losses by seizing industrial assets from their respective occupation zones, putting into effect the plan originally envisioned at the Yalta Conference months before. Protocol of Proceedings of the Berlin (Potsdam) Conference, 1945, in 3 Dept. of State, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949, pp. 1207, 1213-1214 (C. Bevans comp. 1969) (hereinafter Bevans); Report of the Crimea (Yalta) Conference, 1945, in 3 Bevans 1005; Protocol of the Crimea (Yalta) Conference on the Question of the German Reparation in Kind, 1945, in 3 Bevans 1020. A year later, the United States was among the parties to an agreement to share seized assets with other western allies as settlement, as to each signatory nation, of "all its claims and those of its nationals against the former German Government and its Agencies, of a governmental or private nature, arising out of the war." Agreement on Reparation from Germany, on the Establishment of Inter-Allied Reparation Agency and Restitution of Monetary Gold, 61 Stat. 3163, Art. 2(A), T. I. A. S. No. 1655 (hereinafter Paris Agreement).

The effect of the Paris Agreement was curtailed, however, and attention to reparations intentionally deferred, when the western Allies moved to end their occupation and reestablish a sovereign Germany as a buffer against Soviet expansion. They worried that continued reparations would cripple the new Federal Republic of Germany economically, and so decided in the London Debt Agreement to put off "[c]onsideration of claims arising out of the second World War by countries which were at war with or were occupied by Germany


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