[end of document]
Annex B of the 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
Elements of U.S. Government Statement of Interest
Pursuant to Article 2, Paragraph 1, the United States will timely file a Statement of Interest and accompanying formal foreign policy statement of the Secretary of State and Declaration of Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart E. Eizenstat in all pending and future cases, regardless of whether the plaintiff(s) consent(s) to dismissal, in which the United States is notified that a claim has been asserted against German companies arising from the National Socialist era and World War II.
The Statement of Interest will make the following points:
1. As indicated by his letter of December 13, 1999, the President of the United States has concluded that it would be in the foreign policy interests of the United States for the Foundation to be the exclusive forum and remedy for the resolution of all asserted claims against German companies arising from their involvement in the National Socialist era and World War II, including without limitation those relating to slave and forced labor, aryanization, medical experimentation, children's homes/Kinderheim, other cases of per-sonal injury, and damage to or loss of property, including banking assets and insurance policies.
2. Accordingly, the United States believes that all asserted claims should be pur-sued (or in the event Foundation funds have been exhausted, should timely have been pursued) through the Foundation instead of the courts.
3. As the President said in his letter of December 13, 1999, dismissal of the lawsuit, which touches on the foreign policy interests of the United States, would be in the foreign policy interests of the United States. The United States will recommend dismissal on any valid legal ground (which, under the U.S. system of jurisprudence, will be for the U.S. courts to determine). The United States will explain that, in the context of the Foundation, it is in the enduring and high interest of the United States to support efforts to achieve dis-missal of all National Socialist and World War II era cases against German companies. The United States will explain fully its foreign policy interests in achieving dismissal, as set forth below.
4. The United States' interests include the interest in a fair and prompt resolution of the issues involved in these lawsuits to bring some measure of justice to the victims of the National Socialist era and World War II in their lifetimes; the interest in the furtherance of the close cooperation this country has with our important European ally and economic part-ner, Germany; the interest in maintaining good relations with Israel and other Western, Central, and Eastern European nations, from which many of those who suffered during the National Socialist era and World War II come; and the interest in achieving legal peace for asserted claims against German companies arising from their involvement in the National Socialist era and World War II.
5. The Foundation is a fulfillment of a half-century effort to complete the task of bringing justice to victims of the Holocaust and victims of National Socialist persecution. It complements significant prior German compensation, restitution, and pension programs for acts arising out of the National Socialist era and World War II. For the last 55 years, the United States has sought to work with Germany to address the consequences of the Natio-nal Socialist era and World War II through political and governmental acts between the United States and Germany.
6. The participation in the Foundation not only by the German Government and German companies that existed during the National Socialist era, but also by German com-panies that did not exist during the National Socialist era, allows comprehensive coverage of slave and forced laborers and other victims.
7. Plaintiffs in these cases face numerous legal hurdles, including, without limita-tion, justiciability, international comity, statutes of limitation, jurisdictional issues, forum non conveniens, difficulties of proof, and certification of a class of heirs. The United States takes no position here on the merits of the legal claims or arguments advanced by plaintiffs or defendants. The United States does not suggest that its policy interests concerning the Foundation in themselves provide an independent legal basis for dismissal, but will rein-force the point that U.S. policy interests favor dismissal on any valid legal ground.
8. The Foundation is fair and equitable, based on: (a) the advancing age of the plaintiffs, their need for a speedy, non-bureaucratic resolution, and the desirability of ex-pending available funds on victims rather than litigation; (b) the Foundation's level of funding, allocation of its funds, payment system, and eligibility criteria; (c) the difficult legal hurdles faced by plaintiffs and the uncertainty of their litigation prospects; and (d) in light of the particular difficulties presented by the asserted claims of heirs, the programs to benefit heirs and others in the Future Fund.
9. The structure and operation of the Foundation will assure (or has assured) swift, impartial, dignified, and enforceable payments; appropriately extensive publicity has been given concerning its existence, its objectives, and the availability of funds; and the Founda-tion's operation is open and accountable.