1993-10-21 - Gold in them thar Bills…

Header Data

From: Peter Wayner <pcw@access.digex.net>
To: pmetzger@lehman.com
Message Hash: 3b8ad3c3c59567701940be8875d0f97bd9d7613f37bddb24cfc02dc6fd6ceb57
Message ID: <199310211701.AA05024@access.digex.net>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-21 17:02:48 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 21 Oct 93 10:02:48 PDT

Raw message

From: Peter Wayner <pcw@access.digex.net>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 93 10:02:48 PDT
To: pmetzger@lehman.com
Subject: Gold in them thar Bills...
Message-ID: <199310211701.AA05024@access.digex.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Now, I realize that there is something romantic about Swiss bankaccounts,
but lets not fool ourselves. Gold in the Zurich Free Transit Warehouse
depends on the good graces of the Swiss government. After WWII, the Swiss 
ended up with a real pile of Nazi gold in their vaults because they had
been remaining neutral during all of these years. The US demanded the
gold because it won the war. Here is an account from Paul Erdman's
_The Swiss Account_, a docudrama about the time period. It is a work
of fiction, but the true parts are as true as any history book. He
gives footnotes.

   Where that gold was concerned, even before the war ended, the Allies
  threatened to maintain an economic boycott on Switzerland unless it was
  turned over to them. The Swiss government agreed and also promised to 
  relinquish all other German assets in Switzerland, such as bank accounts,
  once it was determined how much was involved. 

   So no embargo was imposed. This promise was subsequentally reaffirmed 
  in a formal agreement signed in Washington after which the Swiss simply
  stonewalled. There was no proof, they claimed, that they had received 
  any looted gold from Germany. And as to the Nazi bank deposits, there was
  no way under Swiss law that private property could be seized. They insisted
  that the netire matter be turned over to an international court of 
  arbitration... which would have taken years. 

   In the end, the Allies caved in. On August 28, 1952, in return for a lump
  sum settlement of ninety million dollars, the Allies concented to declare all
  of the claims against Switzerland arising out of World War II as
  satisfied. That amount represented no more than five cents on the dollar. 
  The rest was simply kept by the Swiss, although a small amount was eventually
  given to the Red Cross. 

Now, as it stands, I really don't think that gold in a Swiss vault is 
, without question, better than US paper money. I can pay my US taxes
in US currency, but I can't eat gold. It's just shiny and neat. It's great
if you need to make gold chains and rings, but it's not that great for
anything other than electronics. In my computer, the silicon is worth
more than the gold.