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Department Seal Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future"
Berlin, Germany, July 17, 2000
Flag Bar
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany --

Intending to shape relations between their two States in a spirit of friendship and cooperation for the future and to successfully resolve issues stemming from the past,

Recognizing that the Federal Republic of Germany has, building on Allied legislation and in close consultation with victims' associations and interested Governments, provided, in an unprecedented manner, comprehensive and extensive restitution and compensation to victims of National Socialist persecution,

Noting the historic announcement on February 16, 1999, made by the Federal Chancellor and German companies, in which the companies stated their intention to establish a foundation to compensate forced laborers and others who suffered at the hands of German companies during the National Socialist era and World War II,

Noting that, by means of the Foundation Initiative, its member companies wish to respond to the moral responsibility of German business arising from the use of forced laborers and from damage to property caused by persecution, and from all other wrongs suffered during the National Socialist era and World War II,

Recognizing as legitimate the interest German companies have in all-embracing and enduring legal peace in this matter, and further recognizing that such interest was fundamental to the establishment of the Foundation Initiative,

Noting that the two Governments announced that they welcomed and support the Foundation Initiative,

Noting that the Federal Republic of Germany and German companies have since agreed on the creation of a single Foundation, "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future" (the "Foundation"), formed under German federal law as an instrumentality of the Federal Republic of Germany and funded by contributions from the Federal Republic of Germany and the German companies,

Recognizing that German business, having contributed substantially to the Foundation, should not be asked or expected to contribute again, in court or elsewhere, for the use of forced laborers or for any wrongs asserted against German companies arising from the National Socialist era and World War II,

Recognizing that it is in the interest of both parties to have a resolution of these issues that is non-adversarial and non-confrontational, outside of litigation,

Recognizing that both parties desire all-embracing and enduring legal peace to advance their foreign policy interests,

Noting in this regard the June 16, 2000, letter of the Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President of the United States and the July 5, 2000, letter of the Foreign Policy and Security Advisor of the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, copies of which have been made public,

Having worked as partners, in consultation with other interested parties and governments, to assist German companies to achieve wide support for the total amount of funds and the eligibility criteria of the Foundation and for the establishment of all-embracing and enduring legal peace,

Noting that the Foundation will assure broad coverage of victims and broad participation by companies which would not be possible through judicial proceedings,

Believing that the Foundation will provide as expeditious as possible a mechanism for making fair and speedy payments to now elderly victims, Having in mind that the Foundation covers, and that it would be in the interests of both parties for the Foundation to be the exclusive remedy and forum for addressing, all claims that have been or may be asserted against German companies arising from the National Socialist era and World War II,

Recalling that for the last 55 years the parties have sought to work to address the consequences of the National Socialist era and World War II through political and governmental acts between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany,

Noting that this Agreement and the establishment of the Foundation represent a fulfillment of these efforts,

Recognizing that the German Government has tabled a Bill before the German Federal Parliament ("Bundestag") to establish the Foundation --

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

(1) The parties agree that the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future" covers, and that it would be in their interests for the Foundation to be the exclusive remedy and forum for the resolution of, all claims that have been or may be asserted against German companies arising from the National Socialist era and World War II.

(2) The Federal Republic of Germany agrees to ensure that the Foundation shall provide appropriately extensive publicity concerning its existence, its objectives and the availability of funds.

(3) Annex A sets forth the principles that shall govern the operation of the Foundation. The Federal Republic of Germany assures that the Foundation will be subject to legal supervision by a German governmental authority; any person may request that the German governmental authority take measures to ensure compliance with the legal requirements of the Foundation.

(4) The Federal Republic of Germany agrees that insurance claims that come within the scope of the current claims handling procedures adopted by the International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims ("ICHEIC") and are made against German insurance companies shall be processed by the companies and the German Insurance Association on the basis of such procedures and on the basis of additional claims handling procedures that may be agreed among the Foundation, ICHEIC, and the German Insurance Association.

Article 2

(1) The United States shall, in all cases in which the United States is notified that a claim described in article 1 (1) has been asserted in a court in the United States, inform its courts through a Statement of Interest, in accordance with Annex B, and, consistent therewith, as it otherwise considers appropriate, that it would be in the foreign policy interests of the United States for the Foundation to be the exclusive remedy and forum for resolving such claims asserted against German companies as defined in Annex C and that dismissal of such cases would be in its foreign policy interest.

(2) The United States, recognizing the importance of the objectives of this agreement, including all-embracing and enduring legal peace, shall, in a timely manner, use its best efforts, in a manner it considers appropriate, to achieve these objectives with state and local governments.

Article 3

(1) This agreement is intended to complement the creation of the Foundation and to foster all-embracing and enduring legal peace for German companies with respect to the National Socialist era and World War II.

(2) This agreement shall not affect unilateral decisions or bilateral or multilateral agreements that dealt with the consequences of the National Socialist era and World War II.

(3) The United States will not raise any reparations claims against the Federal Republic of Germany.

(4) The United States shall take appropriate steps to oppose any challenge to the sovereign immunity of the Federal Republic of Germany with respect to any claim that may be asserted against the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the consequences of the National Socialist era and World War II.

Article 4

Annexes A, B and C shall be an integral part of this Agreement.

Article 5

This Agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties agree by exchange of notes.

DONE at Berlin on the 17th day of July, 2000, in duplicate in the German and English languages, both texts being equally authentic.

For the Government of the
United States of America
 For the Government of the
Federal Republic of Germany

[end of document]


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